The Kelowna Rockets’ two game win streak was snapped Wednesday night in a 1-0 loss to the Victoria Royals.
Kelowna trailed early after surrendering the lone goal in the first three minutes. A low-offence affair throughout much of the first two periods, the Rockets brought the pressure in the dying minutes but 29 shots weren’t enough to grab the win.
“We’ve been starting slow and finishing strong,” said coach Adam Foote.
“It’s our rink. We gotta go out there and set the tempo and we have to do a better job of that. We made a push (in the third), we just have to sharpen up a few things.”
Victoria notched the game-winning goal on an odd-man rush where Kelowna’s Roman Basran made a nice initial save but was beat on the rebound when the Rockets defenders couldn’t clear the zone.
The Royals’ strategies worked early but Rockets’ centre Matthew Wedman said the team pushed hard in the dying frames.
“(Victoria) was all night keeping us outside and playing compact,” said Wedman.
“I felt we needed to get inside to create some chances. I thought we had a couple good chances but we’re just not capitalizing.”
The Rockets held a pre-game celebration for captain Nolan Foote and Team Canada’s gold medal win at the World Juniors on Jan. 5. Foote missed Wednesday night’s game to get a few days of R&R before hopefully returning to the line-up this weekend when the Rockets have a home-and-away test with the Kamloops Blazers.
— Kelowna Rockets (@Kelowna_Rockets) January 9, 2020
Wedman said that the Rockets will need to step up this weekend in Kamloops and hopes the return of Foote will add some fresh legs to the roster.
“He’s a big part of our team. Our team captain and a big guy in the locker room and it’s exciting to get him back,” said Wedman.
Kelowna was penalized twice in the first half of the third period but gathered momentum in the last half testing Victoria goalie Shane Farkas with 15 shots, but none would find the mesh as Kelowna loses their second straight game to the Royals.
Basran made 23 saves as the Rockets drop to third in the B.C. division and now prepare for back-to-back games against the Blazers this weekend.
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