WHL Roundup: Rockets extinguish Blazers in pre-season tilt
One single game fell on Tuesday’s WHL pre-season schedule as the Kelowna Rockets (1-0-1-0) hosted the Kamloops Blazers (1-1-0-0) for a B.C. Division matchup in the Okanagan. On the strength of James Hilsendager’s third period power-play goal, the host Rockets held on for a 6-4 victory over their Interior rivals from up the highway.
Rookie Ted Brennan, a 17-year-old product from Victoria, provided a multipoint performance (1G-1A) for the Rockets, while Jackson Shepard (2G), Nic Holowko (2A), Erik Miller (1G-1A) and Ryley Appelt (2A) did the same for the Blazers.
After a scoreless first period, Liam Kindree and Miller exchanged tallies to start a busy second period. Just over five minutes in, Leif Mattson notched a short-handed goal to give the Rockets a 2-1 lead. Before the middle period came to a close, Gordie Ballhorn converted and Brennan added his first goal of the pre-season as the Rockets took a 4-1 lead into the second intermission.
Midway through the third period, Shepard and Scott Mahovlich struck back-to-back over 1:18 to pull Kamloops within a single goal before Hilsendager replied with his power-play nail moments later. Dallon Wilton provided insurance for the hosts and Shepard found the back of the net with a last-second power-play goal to round out the scoring.
Between the pipes, James Porter was credited with the victory after making 19 saves on 22 shots. He came on in relief of Brodan Salmond, who turned aside 17 of 18 shots to start the game.
At the other end, Kyle Dumba went the distance for Kamloops, knocking aside 19 of the 25 pucks sent his way.