By Larry Fisher
The Daily Courier
The Hockey Gods smiled on the Kelowna Rockets on Saturday night.
Adam Brown smiled back.
Kelowna’s goaltender was the difference, making 36 saves in a 4-3 road victory over the Vancouver Giants. It was a rewarding win for the Rockets, who arrived in Vancouver at 5 a.m. after two straight losses in Portland. Against the Winterhawks, Kelowna only scored a combined three goals on 73 shots.
At Pacific Coliseum, the Rockets scored four goals on only 15 shots, making the most of their chances on Giants netminder Jackson Whistle, a Kelowna product.
“The goals were good goals, we just didn’t generate much other than those opportunities,” said Rockets head coach Ryan Huska, who heaped praise on Brown after his first-star performance in his second home, with his dad, Newell Brown, an assistant coach for the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. “Sometimes the way to win on the road is to have your goaltender steal one and he did that tonight. Adam was very good for us in net and he got us two points.”
Carter Rigby of Penticton had the winner for Kelowna at 7:32 of the third period, less than a minute after Vancouver erased a 3-1 deficit with two goals just 29 seconds apart. Brett Bulmer, with his 19th marker of the season, a clear-cut breakaway, Colton Sissons, with his team-leading 22nd off a two-on-one rush in the second period, and Tyson Baillie, with his seventh, also scored for the Rockets (18-21-2-3).
Cain Franson, Riley Kieser and Tyler Vanscourt replied for the fourth-place Giants (26-16-1-1), who got 11 saves from Whistle.
Huska, complimentary of his club’s effort in 2-1 and 4-2 setbacks at Portland, called Saturday’s game “sluggish,” though he singled out newcomer Brett Lyon for his impact.
The over-age forward, acquired from Moose Jaw at this week’s trade deadline, was held pointless in his third game as a Rocket, but made his mark with two fighting majors, both drawing additional Giant penalties, the first leading to Bulmer’s man-advantage marker that evened the score 1-1.
“He was great. He was one of our few guys that did have his skating legs tonight,” Huska said of Lyon. “He was very physical and a difficult guy to play against for Vancouver, and he ended up with two scraps, but he did a lot of things really well for us tonight. He came to play for sure.”
The sixth-place Rockets close out their six-game road trip (3-2-0-0) tonight in Everett against the last-place Silvertips (8-27-1-7).