Other than not coming away with two points, it was precisely the kind of start to a four-game Alberta road trip that Kelowna Rockets’ head coach Ryan Huska was looking for.
Despite losing 4-3 in a shootout Wednesday in Medicine Hat, the Rockets dominated the game for the better part of the 65 minutes, outshooting the Tigers 58-28, including 19-5 in the third period.
Huska is hoping for more of the same Friday in Red Deer, Saturday in Edmonton and Sunday in Calgary.
“I liked our approach to that first game the guys played hard early on, they clawed back when they got down, and I thought we were the better team. That’s not easy to do in a building like (Medicine Hat),” Huska said. “So that’s our challenge now, to play like that for the rest of the trip, to continue to improve and have everybody going.”
The Rockets rebounded from a 3-1 deficit Wednesday and tied game up on a Zach Franko goal with just 24 seconds left in regulation. Tigers goalie Cam Lanigan, the story of the night, stopped 55 Kelowna shots and two more in the shootout.
“There are some nights you feel like you should win that you don’t, so you just have to take the positives out of it, and I think there were a lot of good things,” Huska added.
Over-age forward Cody Fowlie made his debut for the Rockets on Wednesday. The 6-foot, 205-pound Airdrie, Alta. native and former Everett Silvertip was claimed off waivers by Kelowna this week.
As for Friday night’s opponents, Huska expects the Rockets to have their hands full with the hometown Red Deer Rebels who have won their last two games.
“They’re a team that’s playing well right now,” said Huska. “We have to make sure we play a smart road game and get off to a good start.
“(Charles) Inglis (11 goals) is playing well for them, and (Mathew) Dumba is a good player on the back end.”
The Rockets’ next home action is Thursday, Nov. 1 against the Kamloops Blazers.