For a while on Wednesday night at Prospera Place in Kelowna, it looked liked the Kelowna Rockets were going to cruise to another early season victory.
But for the second straight home game the Rockets nearly let a win slip away. And for the second straight game goalie Adam Brown made key saves when he had to and led the Rockets to a 4-3 win over the Tri City Americans in Western Hockey League play.
“It was another exciting game,” said Brown. “I thought we had a good first and second period but we got a little sloppy in the third period. that’s something we have to tighten up on heading into a couple big road games this weekend.”
The win improved the Rockets early season record to 3-0 as it gets set to head to Tri-City on Friday night and Spokane on Saturday.
On Wednesday the Rockets struck for three second period goals to take a 4-1 stranglehold on the game through 40 minutes. Had it not been for Brown though, the game could have been tighter. He stopped two short-handed breakaways on the same Rockets power play in the first and two more breakaways later in the game. With the score 3-1 Kelowna late in the second the 20-year-old backstop foiled Zachary Yuen on a backhand from in-close.
Tri-City outshot Kelowna 32-23. The scoring chances also swung in the Ams favour.
Rockets head coach Ryan Huska said it’s nothing new for Brown, who along with backup Jordon Cooke, form the backbone of the team.
“The one thing we knew coming into the season is both our goalies are solid,” said Huska. “Sometimes when we are on our heels they will make some saves that they shouldn’t. Our challenge now is to limit this stretch where we are struggling in our own zone and be a team that pushes the pace of games.”
Tyson Baillie, Colton Sissons, Spencer Main and Tyrell Goulbourne scored for the Rockets.
Yuen scored twice for Tri-City while Michal Plutnar had the other marker for Tri-City.
The Rockets and Americans will get another look at each other on Friday as Kelowna heads to Washington to meet the Americans on home ice. After wins over Everett, Vancouver and Tri-City to open the season, it will be a tough two game road trip for the Rockets.
“We’re going to see two very fast teams,” said Huska. “These are good nights for your team. You get the win but I think everyone realizes we have a ways to go before we are a team that matches up with a team like Tri-City.”