Carsen Twarynski celebrates one of his two first-period goals against the Prince George Cougars in WHL action Wednesday at Prospera Place. -Image: Warren Henderson/Capital News

Twarynski’s trick sends Rockets to ninth straight win at home

Kelowna scores early to sudbue Cougars, keeps Prospera streak alive

Since the third week of October, Prospera Place hasn’t been a particularly hospitable setting for opponents of the Kelowna Rockets.

Led by Carsen Twarynski’s hat trick, the Rockets extended their home-ice winning streak to nine games with a 5-3 victory Wednesday over the Prince George Cougars.

Twarynski, 20, connected for his first of the night 4:01 into the game on a power play to put the Rockets on top. Dillon Dube then upped Kelowna’s lead to two just four minutes later and the Rockets were off and running.

“That’s what we were aiming to do was have a good start, we’ve been trying to do that the last couple of games,” said Twarynski. “We’ve been pretty good the last little stretch for the most part but tonight was a really good first period and that helped us win the game, so that was key for us.”

The hat trick gave Twarynski 18 goals for the season, just two short of his career high with the Calgary Hitmen during the 2015-16 season.

Dube’s goal, a shorthanded effort, was of the highlight-reel variety as he dangled through four Cougar defenders, then ripped a shot past Isaiah DiLaura for his 15th of the season.

Captain Cal Foote also scored for the Rockets who haven’t lost at Prospera Place since a 3-1 setback to Portland on Oct. 20.

“The guys obviously really enjoy playing here,” Rockets head coach Jason Smith said of his team’s success at home. “We’ve started games well at home which makes it a lot easier, I think if we can continue to come out of the gates and do things the right way off the start of the game, then it really gives you a chance.

“It’s a hard place to play and when teams come in and get behind early, it gives us a real good opportunity to win.”

Down 5-1, the Cougars beat James Porter twice in the game’s final three minutes. Porter stopped 26 shots in the Kelowna net for his 11th win of the season.

The Rockets (15-8-2-1) will head out on the road Friday when they visit Dan Lambert and the Spokane Chiefs.

Kelowna returns home Saturday to take on the Kootenay Ice on the annual Teddy Bear Toss night at Prospera Place. Face off is 7:05 p.m.

Lind nears return…

Kole Lind, who has been sidelined for the last two weeks, is expected back in the Rockets’ lineup in the near future, possibly as early Saturday night at home against the Kootenay Ice.

Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton confirmed Wednesday that the 19-year-old forward, who hasn’t played since Nov. 14, has been battling mononucleosis.

With Canada’s world junior selection camp roster to be announced on Monday, Hamilton said hopefully the diagnosis will give Lind a chance to be in the running.

“He’s likely at the very end stages (of mono) and they’ve cleared him to play,” said Hamilton. “Kole will be able to play on the first two games of our Prairie trip for sure. It’s been a long, challenging test here for him.

“Fortunately for him and for us, that’s likely going to still give him an opportunity to be in the running to be invited to the world junior camp which was probably first and foremost in his mind, to still be on that list.”

 

ets forward Dillon Dube gathers in the puck before scoring a shorthanded goal in the first period against the Prince George Cougars Wednesday in WHL action at Prospera Place. -Image: Warren Henderson/Capital News

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