By Doyle Potenteau
The Okanagan Saturday
Adam Brown had a stellar performance on Friday night. His teammates weren’t too bad either.
At Kamloops, Brown made 43 saves, with 19 of them in the third period, as the Kelowna Rockets stormed past the host Blazers 6-3. The Blazers outshot the Rockets 46-18, yet trailed 3-0 and 4-0 after the first two periods.
For that, Brown can thank his teammates, as the B.C. Division-leading Blazers rallied in the final period, scoring three times, making the game interesting. Brown finished as the game's first star.
But at night’s end, the end result belonged to the Rockets (27-29-3-6), who trail the Blazers (44-17-1-3) by 29 points in Western Conference standings. Kelowna is all but locked into sixth place, and will face either Portland or Tri-City in the playoff’s first round, while the Blazers will finish either first or second.
With just seven games remaining on the regular-season schedule, including Kamloops tonight in Kelowna, Rockets coach Ryan Huska was asked what the win meant.
“It’s just another step (towards the playoffs). We want to play well, and to do that, we have to play well on the road and well at home,” said Huska, whose team is 14-13-3-4 in away games and 13-16-0-2 at home. “We know Kamloops will come and play very hard (at Prospera Place); they won’t want to lose twice on the weekend, so we have to be ready for them and be prepared. And we need to play a more disciplined game.”
On Friday night, the Rockets were 2-for-4 on the power play, while the Blazers were 0-for-7.
“We took too many penalties and that taxed some of our guys,” Huska said. “That’s why, in the second and third, we were on our heels.”
Brett Bulmer and Shane McColgan, with two goals apiece, Cody Chikie and Madison Bowey scored for Kelowna, which earned its first regulation-time win this season against the Blazers (2-4-1-0). The Rockets also beat the Blazers 3-2 on Jan. 25, albeit in a shootout.
Bulmer made it 1-0 with his 30th goal of the season at 2:22 of the first, with McColgan netting his 16th at 3:11 to make it 2-0. Chikie then scored at 19:00 to make it 3-0, while Bowey scored at 8:19 of the second for a 4-0 lead.
Brandon Herrod, at 7:53, Aspen Sterzer, at 11:11, and Jordan DePape at 19:00 replied for Kamloops in the third period. McColgan made it 5-2 at 13:53, with Bulmer scoring into an empty net at 19:40 to seal the game.