In a week of bad news, the Rockets gave their fans and their community something to celebrate on Saturday.
First, Steel Quiring set up Andrew Cristall to score at 9:48 of the first period. This allowed Teddy Bears to be tossed from the stand onto the ice. It took ten minutes, but the bears are off to the much needed kids.
But it didn’t stop there. A four goal third period led the Rockets to a 7-4 victory over the rival Kamloops Blazers. Cristall added another goal. Quiring had a four point night. Colton Dach, Tyson Feist, Jackson Desouza, and Rilen Kovacevic added solos.
Quinn Schmeimann, Fraser Minten, Connor Levis, and Logan Bairos scored for the Blazers.
Levis tied the game 1-1 at the 16:19 mark. But Cristall scored his second of the period with seventeen seconds to go int he period.The Rockets took a 2-1 led after one.
The Blazers got off to a good start in the second period. Bairos potted one on the powerplay. One of two for the Blazers on Saturday. Levis got the other one in the first.. Then Schmeimann with a seeing eye shot that gave the Blazers the 3-2 lead. But Kovacevic with his first ever WHL goal tied the game at 3-3 heading after two periods.
The third is where the Rockets struck. Quiring was robbed by Blazers goaltender Dylan Ernst on a breakaway earlier in the third. But Quiring was undaunted. He helped set up Desouza first goal in the WHL to give the Rockets the 4-3 lead. But the Blazers were also undaunted. Minten found himself all alone in front of Boyko. He backhanded it in to tie the game at 4-4.But that lasted 43 seconds before Tyson Feist picked the corner on Ernst to give the Rockets the lead for good. Dach and Quiring cemented the game with two empty net goals.
The Blazers were without stars Logan Stankoven and Dylan Garand because they are playing for Canada at the World Juniors. However, the Rockets were without Pavel Novak as he is preparing to play for the Czech Republic for the World Juniors. Novak leads the team in scoring with 31 points
Boyko made 41 saves for the win for the Rockets. Ernst made 22 saves on 27 shots for the Rockets.
More causes to celebrate for the Rockets. Back to back wins as they beat the Victoria Royals 5-4 on Tuesday Dec, 14. They are also tied with the Giants for second with 29 points. Another reason to celebrate. They close the gap for first to nine points behind the Blazers. The Rockets also gave the Blazers their fourth loss and their last five games. The Rockets record is 13-9-0-3 in 25 games this season.
While there is good news, there is bad news. It was the last game the Rockets would have under full capacity for some time. On Friday,Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that starting Monday, all events with over 1,000 capacity will have to go with half capacity. The order is in place until January 31.
In a time of frustration, it’s good to have something to celebrate.
The Rockets are back in action Tuesday, December 28 at Prospera Place against the Blazers.