The Kelowna Rockets have yet to find an answer for the Everett Silvertips.
Cole MacDonald’s goal at 2:10 of overtime pushed the ‘Tips to a 3-2 victory over the defending champs in WHL action Friday night at Prospera Place.
It was Everett’s third win in as many meetings between the teams this season—all in a span of just 10 days—and put a damper on the return of Rourke Chartier and Calvin Thurkauf to the Rockets’ lineup.
Chartier and Tyson Baillie spotted the Rockets to a 2-1 lead through 20 minutes.
That lead stood up until 15:12 of the third when Remi Laurencelle’s second power play goal of the night evened the score at 2-2 to force overtime.
Early in the extra period, Chartier had a clearcut chance to put the game on ice, but was stymied by Everett netminder Carter Hart.
Seconds later, MacDonald took a 2-on-1 pass from Laurencelle and beat Michael Herringer for the game winner.
In the end, Rockets head coach Brad Ralph said Everett’s pressure and tenacity won out.
“Everett, they play hard, they play fast, they’re very aggressive all over the ice,” said Ralph. “It makes it difficult. Special teams obviously played a big factor in the outcome. We certainly had our chances in overtime, we just didn’t connect. “
Chartier and Thurkauf were playing their first game with the Rockets in a month after a stint at the world junior hockey championship in Finland. A third forward who played in Helsikini, Tomas Soustal, wasn’t in the lineup Friday.
Meanwhile, Herringer played his third straight game in goal for the Rockets and stopped 23 shots.
The 19-year-old Comox native is expected to carry the load for the Rockets while No. 1 stopper Jackson Whistle recovers (2-3 weeks) from hip troubles.
“I thought he played well,” Ralph said of Herringer. “It’s great for him to get these starts and get this experience. He made some big saves for us throughout the course of the game to keep us up and keep us even…I thought he played well.”
Baillie’s goal, his 25th of the season at 15:33 of the first period, came in the 300th game of his WHL career.
The Rockets return to action Saturday night when they play host to the Tri City Americans. Face off at Prospera Place is 7:05 p.m.