Libor Zabransky is checked by Connor Dewar of the Everett Silvertips. Photo: Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze

Rockets suffer close loss to Everett

The Rockets lost 4-2 to the Silvertips, the second best team in WHL

The Rockets will still be looking for their first win of 2019 after a 4-2 loss to the Everett Silvertips. Rockets’ goalie James Porter did all he could to keep his team in the game stopping 40 of 43 shots, but the Rockets weren’t able to keep up with the Silvertips who lead the western conference with 64 points.

Head coach Adam Foote said they recognize the structure the Silvertips used during the game.

“They’re not going to stop, they’re relentless. They’re an older team, they understand the details of the game, and they don’t stop working,” said Foote. “We did some good things, but we did get outplayed, but it’s a good measuring stick for us and where we’re at.”

The Rockets were looking to bounce back from back to back losses to Prince George and Kamloops since the beginning of the new year. Kelowna came out with some fire, as the Silvertips lazier skating led to an early tripping penalty to put the Rockets on the man advantage. At first, the Rockets looked unsteady trying to set up the power play, but Lassi Thomson was able to snap one off from the point to beat Silvertips goalie Dustin Wolf as it squeaked past his pads with Lief Mattson screening in front. Everett would build momentum with consistent chances on Rockets goalie James Porter, who has been playing better than his 5-7-2 record would suggest. The Silvertips were able to tie the game at one with a shot that slipped by Porter on the blocker side with only 10 seconds remaining in the period.

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The second period started 1-1, but it would’ve been tough to have guessed that score with the way Everett was controlling the pace of play —Everett registered 17 shots to Kelowna’s six in the second. Porter was keeping Kelowna in the game making some big stops on Everett scorers. The Silvertips needed a power play to finally beat Porter for the second time of the night. Some nice passing during the man advantage didn’t give Porter much of a chance as Everett took a goal lead. It continued to be all Everett in the second period. The Silvertips played like one of the best teams in the league — which they are — by playing with confidence, control, and physicality. The Rockets would even the score at two with only one and a half seconds left on the clock from another Thomson point shot that bounced off the ice and then an Everett player’s stick to beat Wolf. Rockets were heading into a critical third period tied 2-2 with the second best team in the WHL.

James Porter continued to make stop after stop to keep the Rockets in the game, Porter faced 13 shots in the third frame alone. After exchanging power plays, both the Rockets and the Silvertips were hungry for the go ahead goal. On their 41st shot of the game, Everett would put the game winning goal past Porter after a point shot took a few deflections and found its way into the net. The Rockets would push back but Everett stifled their fire with an open netter to win the game 4-2.

The Rockets will aim to notch their first points of 2019 in Prince George this weekend against the injury-ridden Cougars. With back to back games on Friday and Saturday, the Rockets will need the wins added to the column as the ride to the playoffs heats up.

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