When it rains, it pours. For the Kelowna Rockets, it’s a flood of misery bordering on being comical.
At Prospera Place, Brody Sutter was a one-man wrecking crew for Lethbridge, with two goals and one assist, as the Hurricanes stormed past the Kelowna Rockets 6-3 in WHL action on Friday night. While a three-goal loss isn’t great, the gap could have been wider had Lethbridge not taken its foot off the gas after building up a 5-0 lead with four consecutive goals in first 11 minutes of the second period.
“We’re not playing well right now,” said Rockets head coach Ryan Huska, his voice tinged with frustration and disappointment after watching Kelowna get outshot 42-29. “That’s not an unfair assessment; we’re just not playing very well right now. We don’t have a lot of jump from most guys. We had one line that had jump, and that was Colton (Sissons), Carter (Rigby) and Cody (Chikie). Other than that, there wasn’t much else.”
How bad was it for the host team? Consider this: Kelowna gave up 27 shots in the first 24 minutes. Or this: During an odd-man break on the power play, a Lethbridge defender fell down, quickly followed by Kelowna’s puck carrier falling down. Or this: What could have been a goal that helped forge a comeback, a nice backhander by Madison Bowey early in the third period, was called off due to goaltender interference.
All in all, a night to forget for Kelowna.
“They kept pushing and we kinda sat back and let them take over the game,” said Rockets forward Tyrell Goulbourne, who was fingered to the box for that interference penalty. Goulbourne eventually made up for that penalty by scoring late in the third, though, by then, the game was all but over.
"It was a good effort by the end, but it was too little, too late,” continued Goulbourne, who also put in a game effort. “I don’t know if we’re tired, but we’re not competing for pucks at some times, and we have to have everybody going for 60 minutes. We kind of get frustrated easy . . . I don’t know if it’s because we’re a young group, but we have good guys (in the locker-room) and we can win games. But we’re getting frustrated, and that’s pretty much the only thing.”
“Tyrell always plays the same (physical) style,” Huska said of Goulbourne. “He tries to be as physical as he can. He competes and he gets his nose dirty a lot and he got rewarded for going to the net.”
Sam McKechnie, who opened the scoring midway through the first period, Brady Ramsay and Philip Tot, with markers in the second, plus Graham Hood, with an empty-net goal, also scored for Lethbridge (18-30-0-1), which led 1-0 and 5-2 at the period breaks. Liam Liston made 26 saves for the Hurricanes, who ended a five-game B.C. road trip with a 2-3 record.
Jesse Lees, and Colton Sissons, with his 25th goal of the season, also replied for Kelowna (19-23-2-3), which has lots its last two games and four of its past six. Starter Jordon Cooke was tagged with the loss, giving up four goals on 27 shots before getting hooked after Lethbridge made it 4-0 early in the second period. Adam Brown made 14 saves in relief.
“For sure it is,” Huska said, referring to being frustrated. “When you don’t see the type of jump, it’s difficult, for sure.”
SCRATCHES — Kelowna: D Damon Severson (upper-body injury, 1-2 weeks), C Spencer Main (concussion, 2-3 weeks), C Colton Heffley (upper-body injury, day-to-day) and LW Jessey Astles (upper-body injury, 2-3 weeks). Lethbridge: D Albin Blomqvist and Max Moline (lower-body injury, 2 weeks).