By Larry Fisher
The Okanagan Sunday
The effort was much better, the result only slightly improved for the Kelowna Rockets.
Hunter Shinkaruk and Curtis Valk netted shootout goals as the host Medicine Hat Tigers edged the Rockets 4-3 in WHL action on Saturday night.
For Kelowna, it was a well-earned point on the heels of a lopsided 6-2 loss in Lethbridge on Friday night. Despite the schedule working against them, the Rockets (26-28-3-6) now have three points to show for their efforts through three of four games on this Alberta trip, which wraps today (3 p.m.) in Calgary against the Hitmen (36-23-2-1).
“We’ve had an unfavourable schedule-maker for this trip, but we have to deal with that and make sure we’re prepared to play a simple, hard game in Calgary,” said Rockets coach Ryan Huska, whose squad has had to play four games in five days while Calgary and Medicine Hat were both fresh in awaiting Kelowna’s arrival having not played the previous night.
The Rockets opened this trip with an impressive 6-4 win in Edmonton over the Eastern Conference-leading Oil Kings on Wednesday.
Against Medicine Hat (37-21-2-3), the Rockets were led by veteran players — namely forward Brett Bulmer and goalie Adam Brown.
Bulmer keyed Kelowna’s offence with three points — two goals, one assist — while Brown made 37 saves as the last line of defence.
“Adam was very good in net for us,” Huska said. “He made a couple saves with not much time left that were game-savers. It wasn’t a bounce-back game for Adam, (who was pulled against Lethbridge). Unfortunately, he didn’t have a team that played in front of him the night before. He played well and he got a better effort from some of our defencemen tonight.”
Defenceman Myles Bell had Kelowna’s other goal, but he was stopped by Tigers goalie Kenny Cameron to end the shootout. Dylan Bredo, Emerson Etem, with his league-leading 53rd goal, and Trevor Cox replied in regulation for Medicine Hat, which outshot Kelowna 40-38.
As for Bulmer, Huska said: “He’s been good lately. He’s feeling the puck now and making things happen when he’s on the ice. And he’s been shooting more, which is what we want.”