The bad news for the Rockets? They are on a four-game losing streak.
The good news for the Rockets? The Giants and the Blazers are on a losing streak.
Starting on Friday, The Prince George Cougars got a goal and an assist from Viliam Kmec and 21 saves from both Tyler Brennan and Taylor Gauthier en route to a 3-2 win over the Rockets.
Connor Bowie opened the scoring at 3:31 in the first. Cougars leading scorer Craig Armstrong and Kmec added goals in the second. Kmec , who will be representing Slovakia in the upcoming World Juniors later this month, had three shots on goal and was named the first star of the game.
Although the Rockets were down 3-1 heading into the third, they did not give up. The Rockets fired 22 shots in the third period at both Tyler Brennan and Taylor Gauthier. Brennan was injured at the 3:11 mark in the third and replaced by Gauthier. Max Graham, who is now the hottest Rocket with three points in the last two games, beat Brennan at the 16:54 mark in the third. However, the Rockets could not beat Brennan a third time. Brennan made 18 saves in relief. Colby Knight made 19 sarges for the Rockets to take the loss. Andrew Cristall scored his fifth of the year at the 7:43 mark in the first to tie the game.
Brennan is day to day with a lower-body injury. Ty Young from the Calgary Canucks has been called up to replace him.
The Cougars ended up having a productive weekend. They knocked off the Blazers 3-2 in Prince George on Saturday.
The Rockets were back in action on Saturday. Despite three points from Pavel Novak and Gabriel Szturc, the Thunderbirds were able to come away with a 5-4 victory.
The goals in this game came in bunches. In the first period, Szturc and Novak scored two quick goals 53 seconds apart. Szturc at 14:17. Novak at 15:10. However, the Thunderbirds scored three straight. Henrik Rybinski on the power play at 6:13. Kevin Korchinski at 12:13. Then defenceman Niko Tsakmunis scored at 4:06 to make it 3-2. But Andrew Cristall scored in his second straight game on the powerplay to tie the game. Then Tyson Feist, who had a strong night himself with a goal and an assist, gave the Rockets the 4-3 lead at 13:57. The Thunderbirds challenged for offside, but it was ruled a good goal.
The Rockets changed their lines on Saturday. Szturc's and Novak's regular linemate Colby Dach was with Andrew Cristall and Mark Liwiski. Liwiski was returning from a two game suspension after an illegal hit in Seattle Tuesday, Szturc and Novak were centred by Nolan Flamand.
But like Novak and Szturc got three points, so did Thunderbirds defenceman Kevin Korchinski.
And he picked the right time to get points two and three. Point two with his second of the game 17 seconds after Feist tied at 14:14. The Korchinski helped set up Mekai Sanders eight of the year at 15:11 to seal the victory for the Thunderbirds.
It wasn’t only Korchinski to chip in offensively. Leading scorers Jordan Gustafson had three assists. The second-leading scorer Connor Roulette had two.
Rockets Head Coach Kris Mallette acknowledged that his team was outplayed. However, he felt that it was one they let get away.
“We had it exactly where we wanted it. And we let it slip away. Really disappointed that had to happen.”
Scott Ratzlaff got the win for Thunderbirds. He made 19 saves. Talyn Boyko was back in goal for the Rockets and made 31 saves.
The bad news is the Rockets are on a four-game losing streak. They lost in a shootout on Tuesday in Seattle. Then to Everett on Wednesday. They have gained one point in 4 games. The good news is both the Giants and the Blazers are also on losing streaks. The Blazers are on a two-game losing streak and have lost four of their last five games. The Giants are on a three-game losing streak.
The challenge? The hottest team in the WHL. The Victoria Royals come to Prospera Place on Tuesday.