It has been a tough start to 2019 for the Kelowna Rockets. They lost their sixth straight game Wednesday night after a 5-1 loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors. Roman Basran stopped 20 of 25 shots, but the Rockets, who’ve seen some significant roster changes in the last week, couldn’t keep up with a Moose Jaw team that only has one win in their last five games.
Despite the roster changes, head coach Adam Foote said the bulk of the issues are on the mental side of the game.
“We’ve had a lot of changes as of late, from the trade deadline. And we’ve had some things not go our way, probably due more to our own play,” said Foote. “Right now, it’s a mental thing. We’re trying to figure out who has some ownership and jump out of (the losing streak) as a group instead of feeling deflated and down. We’ve got to be better our there.”
After back to back losses in Prince George, the Rockets looked happy to be back on home ice. In the Warriors, the Rockets found themselves up against a tough group of skaters that includes a defensive pair of Montreal Canadians prospect Josh Brook and Vancouver Canucks prospect Jett Woo.
The Rockets started with some scrappy chances in front of the Warriors’ net, but couldn’t beat Warriors’ goalie and former Rocket Brodan Salmond. The Warriors struck early in the period with some nifty passing to beat the Rockets defence as Carson Denomie put one past goalie Roman Basran. The Rockets got themselves going near the end of the period, but the bounces were not going the Rockets’ way and the period would end 1-0 for the Warriors.
The bounces continued to go against the Rockets in the second. The Rockets generated some quality opportunities but were either unable to hit the net, or the Warriors’ were able to get a stick or body on it. It looked like momentum was on the Rockets side after killing off a penalty, and then getting their own,but Salmond was there at every point to turn away Rockets shooters. The Warriors would get their own power play where Warriors’ Woo would set up Justin Almeida to beat Basran to go up 2-0. Woo would then take advantage of multiple screens in front of Basran to put the Warriors’ third goal on the board. Rockets were down 3-0 at the end of the second period.
The Rockets weren’t able to muster up the come back, but Kyle Topping was able to finally crack Salmond late in the third period. The Warriors added two more in the third period to make it a 5-1 loss for the Rockets, but despite the loss and score, the Rockets finished the game with pace and pressure.
Canucks prospect Jett Woo finished the game with one goal and one assist, and Canadians prospect Josh Brook finished with 3 assists as the Warriors win their second game in a row.
With an action packed weekend on the horizon, the Rockets will aim to build off the positives from the game and look towards games against Everett and Prince Albert, the top two teams in the WHL.
— Kelowna Capital News (@KelownaCapNews) January 17, 2019
The Rockets will visit second-place Everett Sivertips on Friday night, before hosting the league-leading Prince Albert Raiders Saturday night on home ice.
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