If there were any lingering concerns from Saturday’s loss to Medicine Hat, the Kelowna Rockets put them all to rest with a resounding victory Wednesday at Prospera Place.
WHL goal-scoring leader Rourke Chartier and rookie Dillon Dube scored twice each, as the Rockets drubbed the Tri-City Americans 7-1 for their league-best 34th victory and fifth win in the last six games.
It was just the Rockets’ second game since the return of captain Madison Bowey and newly-acquired Josh Morrissey from the world junior hockey championship.
Factor in the recent addition of forward Leon Draisaitl, and the newest version of the Rockets has had but two practises together.
Head coach Dan Lambert liked a lot of what he saw from the newly-configured Rockets.
“There’s a lot of things we did right tonight, I thought we competed a lot harder,” said Lambert. “We made some plays when there were plays to made. The thing I was most proud of was the way we tracked hard coming back into our zone. We didn’t give up a whole lot of odd-man rushes and we were very responsible in our own end.”
Ex-Americans’ forward Rodney Southam, Justin Kirkland and Chance Braid, with his first as Rocket, also scored for Kelowna, while Jackson Whistle stopped 19 shots for his 26th win of the season.
Chartier, who now has 38 goals in 38 games played this season, snapped out of a micro-slump in which he had scored just once—an empty netter—in the last five games.
Chartier opened the scoring with a shorthanded marker in the first period, then beat Ams netminder Evan Sarthou on a wrap-around 43 seconds into the third.
“Some nights they’re going to go in, some nights they won’t, so it was nice to get back on the scoreboard tonight,” Chartier said.
The Rockets (34-7-3-0) resume their five-game homestand Friday against the Seattle Thunderbirds.
The game will broadcast live on Sportsnet, pushing the start time to 7:30 p.m.