From head coach Ryan Huska’s perspective, Wednesday night’s WHL game at Prospera Place wasn’t a thing of beauty.
Still, it was pretty enough for two points as his Kelowna Rockets returned home after a gruelling month of travel to post a 6-3 win over the Everett Silvertips.
The Rockets, who had played 16 of their previous 18 games on the road, began a stretch of 11 of their next 14 games on home ice.
Jesse Lees, Marek Tvrdon, Cole Linaker and Tyson Baillie spotted the Rockets to a 4-1 lead midway through the second period, before the Tips rallied back to make it a one-goal game with just over five minutes remaining.
The Rockets sealed the win with empty net goals from Ryan Olsen and Tyrell Goulbourne, while Jordon Cooke stopped 27 shots to push his league-leading record to 28-3-0-2.
It was the Rockets seventh straight win at home and 22nd in their last 25 games overall, but didn’t inspire excessive praise from their head coach.
“I didn’t think we had a lot of jump, it was one of those flat games that you often see when a team comes back off the road,” Huska told AM 1150 after the game. “If we play against a team that’s really flying tonight, we don’t win. That’s the way it is. We’re happy with the two points, we found a way to win, that’s important for us, but we have to be better moving forward.”
Still, Huska gave credit where was due, calling the Cole Linaker line—with Jesse Lees and Kris Schmidli—”our best line, they had the most energy and most jump.”
He also acknowledged the importance of Jordon Cooke’s effort in the Rockets’ crease.
“At end of the day, Jordon made some good saves at key times and that was important for us in getting this win,” he said.
The Rockets (38-6-0-2), the Canadian Hockey League’s top-ranked team for the third week in a row, return to action Friday when they host the Medicine Hat Tigers.