Dillon Dube and the Kelowna Rockets take on Tyler Benson and the Vancouver Giants in WHL action Friday night in Langley. -Image: Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze

Rockets visit Giants, home to Tigers Saturday

Kelowna looks to rebound from consecutive road losses to Vancouver and Spokane

Their last visit to the Langley Events Centre didn’t go particularly well for the undermanned Kelowna Rockets.

Jason Smith’s club will look to make amends Friday night when the Rockets visit the Vancouver Giants for the second time this season.

The Rockets (12-8-2-1) lead the Giants (10-10-2-2) by three points for second in the B.C. Divison, with Kelowna holding two games in hand.

Missing five forwards from the lineup, the Rockets succumbed to the Giants 6-1 last Saturday night.

Two of those forwards, Dillon Dube and Jack Cowell, were back with the club on Wednesday night in Spokane but the result wasn’t much better as the Rockets lost their second straight game, 6-2 to the Chiefs.

The Rockets, who surrendered two late second-period goals to break a 2-2 tie, were outshot 46-20 by Spokane.

“Obviously we’ve had some guys out of the lineup who play key roles and it’s been a challenge, but at the same time the other guys who have been with us all season need to step up,” said Rockets assistant coach Kris Mallette. “It’s an opportunity to show the staff what they can do.

“We’ve worked hard at times, but we just need to make better, smarter decisions,” he added.

It was the Rockets’ first meeting with former Kelowna head coach Dan Lambert, who was hired this summer by the Chiefs after two seasons in pro hockey.

Lambert spent eight seasons in Kelowna, including his last as head coach when he led the Rockets to the WHL championship and within one goal of the Memorial Cup title.

Both Kole Lind (illness) and Nolan Foote (upper body) have missed the last two games and are considered day-to-day heading into the weekend.

Erik Gardiner remains sidelined for an indefinite period after taking a puck to the helmet in a game against Tri-City on Oct. 27.

The Rockets, who are riding a seven-game winning at home, are back at Prospera Place Saturday night when they host the Medicine Hat Tigers. Face off is 7 p.m.

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