The Kelowna Rockets had a productive weekend against the Victoria Royals.
It started on Friday. The Rockets jumped out a 3-0 midway through the second period en route to a 6-4 victory. Jake Poole opened the scoring in the first. Pavel Novak and Dylan Wightman scored 42 seconds apart in the second. Novak at 6:41 and Wightman at 7:23. Brayden Schuurman scored at 7:56 of the second. Turner McMillan scored at 14:49 of the second to give the Rockets the 4-1 lead heading into the third. This was in spite of the fact that the Royals outshot the Rockets 17-7 in the second.
The Royals made a game of it in third. They capitalized on the Rockets early period penalty trouble with two power play goals. Bailey Peach on five on three at 2:13 then Riley Gannon on a five on four at 2:42. That made it 4-3 Rockets, but Scott Cousins and Jake Poole with his second sealed the victory for the Rockets. Brayden Schuurman scored his second late for the Royals to make it 6-4 for the Rockets but that was as close as they would come.
In addition to Jake Poole having a great night, Rockets leading scorer Pavel Novak had a three point night (1G, 2A), while Talyn Boyko made 38 saves for the win. Boyko faced 34 shots in the final two periods.
The Royals got productive nights from Brayden Schuurman, Riley Gannon, and Bailey Peach. Schuurman had four points (2G, 2A) Gannon and Peach both had a goal and an assist. Tyler Palmer made 21 saves and took the loss for the Royals.
The Rockets continued their net filling ways on Saturday. They scored five in the first, three in the second, and one in the third as the Rockets trounced the Royals 9-1.
It was a big night for the newest Rocket Adam Kydd as he had two goals and one assist for three points. Kydd was acquired from the Calgary Hitmen for Steel Quiring on January 5.
It was a bigger night for Jake Poole. He had a goal and four assists for five points. It continued a bigger weekend for Poole. His two goals Friday gave him a seven point weekend.
As for Pavel Novak, he had his second consecutive three point night. This time, two goal and one assists. Novak had six points this weekend. Dach also had a big night with a goal and three assists. That gave him a six point weekend. Dylan Wightman and Turner McMillan scored in consecutive games. Rilen Kovacevic had the game winner, with Scott Cousins and Marcus Pachedo scoring single goals.
Talyn Boyko made 22 saves for the victory.
Brayden Schuurman scored his 20th of the year for the Royals. Tyler Palmer started for the Royals. He allowed two goals on four shots in the first 5:05. Then Logan Cunningham came in for the rest of the first period. He allowed three goals on 11 shots. Palmer came in to start the second. Palmer made 24 saves the rest of the way.
With the two wins, The Rockets head into the trade deadline with a record of 18-10-1-3. Their 40 points places them second in the B.C. Division and fifth in the Western Conference. If the playoffs started today, they would play the Portland Winterhawks in the first round. However, slowly but surely, the Rockets are closing in on the Kamloops Blazers for first place. They are five points behind. The Rockets are 7-2-1 in their last ten. The Blazers are 4-5-1 in their last ten.
As far as the Rockets plan for the trade deadline. With the acquisitions of Colton Dach, Talyn Boyko, and most recently Adam Kydd, Head Coach Kris Mallette told AM 1150 that he and General Manager Bruce Hamilton was pretty happy with their team.
“We talk for sure. I think we are both realists in the fact that we have a group with three 2005’s, six 2004’s and nine 2003’s. Is it a year to potentially go all in? Absolutely not. Are we a competitive team at this point? Yep. Are we going to continually get better with the more experience we get? Absolutely. Getting some solid goaltending out of Boyko (Talyn Boyko) has really helped solidify that. I like our group.”
The Rockets have a tough road trip next weekend. Friday, they are scheduled to head to Everett to play the Silvertips. Saturday, they are scheduled to head to Vancouver to face the Giants.