Kelowna Rockets forward Kyle Topping fends off Blazers’ rookie Brodi Stuart in WHL action Friday at Prospera Place. -Image: Warren Henderson/Capital News

Rockets rock Blazers in season opener

Kyle Topping, Kole Lind and new captain Cal Foote record three points each in 6-2 WHL win Friday

With the exception of surrendering a couple of late goals, the Kelowna Rockets couldn’t have asked for much more in their Western Hockey League season opener.

The Rockets scored the game’s first six goals, then cruised to a 6-2 victory over the Kamloops Blazers Friday night at Prospera Place.

Kyle Topping scored twice and added and assist, while Kole Lind, who just returned Thursday from the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, scored a goal and added a pair of assists in the Rockets’ home opener in front of 5,238 fans.

“We had a really good start to the game, I thought we were moving our feet well, getting pucks deep and really wearing down their D-men and it started to show in the second, they were getting pretty tired,” said Lind. “All around it was a good game, I thought we could have had a better ending to it, but we’re just hoping to carry the momentum into tomorrow.”

Tomas Soustal, Jack Cowell and rookie Liam Kindree, with his first WHL goal, also scored for the Rockets.

With the loss of the likes of high-scoring forwards Nick Merkley, Reid Gardiner and Calvin Thurkauf from last year’s team, the Rockets will need scoring to come from up and down the lineup this season.

The Rockets got just that on opening night, with four of six goals coming from either first or second-year players.

“That’s what you want from your group, you want your players that have maybe moved up in the lineup and are getting more opportunity this year to create offense and kind of fulfill the role of some of the players that we’ve lost and that’s junior hockey,” said Rockets head coach Jason Smith.

“It’s about developing players, moving them on and players stepping up when they get the opportunity, grow their game and be a big part of your group.”

Brodan Salmond, the Rockets newly-appointed No. 1 goaltender stopped 33 shots and had his shutout broken by a pair of Kamloops goals three minutes apart late in the third period.

Defenceman Cal Foote celebrated his first game as Rockets’ captain with three assists and was named the game’s first star.

Foote, 19, was announced as the 23rd captain in club history earlier in the day.

“It’s a huge honour, you look at the wall here and a lot of them have captaincies, very honoured and it’s a dream to be a captain of an organization like the Kelowna Rockets,” said Foote, a draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Serving as alternate captains to Foote will be forward Dillon Dube and 20-year-old defencemen Gordie Ballhorn and James Hilsendager.

Dube remains with the NHL’s Calgary Flames and didn’t play with Kelowna Friday.

The Rockets and Blazers will meet again tomorrow night in Kamloops.


Brodan Salmond made 33 saves in the Rockets net on Friday night at Prospera Place. -Image: Warren Henderson/Capital News

Just Posted

Current forest fires bring back memories of 2003 wildfire in Kelowna

Former Kelowna fire chief says plan should be to throw everything at a forest fire early

Cooler temps today, but no rain in forecast until August

Environment Canada does not have good news when it comes to fighting fires in the Central Okanagan.

Updated: Firefighters attacking Mt. Eneas Wildfire near Peachland from north and south

Crews continue to battle the 1,000 hectare Mount Eneas blaze south of Peachland

Updated: Complete list of B.C. Interior wildfire coverage

Up-to-date information on blazes happening the Kamloops Wildfire Centre

Fire command centre relocating from Penticton to West Kelowna

Firefighting resources to be concentrated out of temporary camp

Live: BC Wildfire Service press conference

Watch the LIVE media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

Matjicka pulls trick for Silver Stars

Capri Insurance Men’s 55+ Soccer League roundup

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

More space in BC parks and campsites to get away from it all

Province announces an additional 431 campsites throughout B.C. for the 2018 season

Anti-pipeline campers digging in as eviction deadline expires

The City of Burnaby had ordered the Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters out for violating bylaws

Garnet Valley Road in Summerland blocked as crews fight wildfire

Homes in Summerland from Wildhorse Road north have been evacuated as Mount Eneas fire continues

Trump was taped talking of paying Playboy model: AP source

Source says former personal lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded discussion prior to 2016 election

BC toddler with ‘allergy’ to sun waiting for bone marrow transplant

Charlie Lock, 2, needs treatment for damage caused by rare disorder EPP

Most Read