WHL Roundup: Hitmen, Rockets win to head into holiday on high note

Andy Devlin


The unofficial halfway point of the 2016-17 Western Hockey League season came about Sunday evening following two games in Alberta.

Up north in the provincial capital, the Kelowna Rockets edged the Edmonton Oil Kings in a shootout to close out a seven-game road swing on a high note. Down south, it was the Calgary Hitmen holding off the Kootenay ICE in a Central Division battle.

That’s all she wrote for now, until all 22 teams return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

Happy holidays from all of us at the Western Hockey League!

Kootenay ICE (2) at Calgary Hitmen (3)

Jordy Stallard broke a tie game with 6:19 remaining in regulation as the Calgary Hitmen headed into the holiday break with a win following a 3-2 triumph over the Kootenay ICE on Sunday afternoon.

Ryan Pouliot opened the scoring 1:07 into the first period to give the ICE a 1-0 lead on an early power-play opportunity. Later in the period, it was Andrei Grishakov scoring to even the game at 1-1 after 20 minutes of action.

Jakob Stukel struck to give the Hitmen their first lead of the game 8:18 into the second period, but less than two minutes, it was Austin Wellsby pulling Kootenay into a 2-2 tie and that’s where the festivities stood after 40 minutes of play.

Stallard secured two points for the hosts in the third period.

Cody Porter made 33 saves for his 10th win of the season.

Kelowna Rockets (2) at Edmonton Oil Kings (1) – SO

Jake Kryski scored the lone goal in the skills competition as the Kelowna Rockets notched a 2-1 shootout triumph over the Edmonton Oil Kings to complete a seven-game road trip Sunday evening.

After more than 40 minutes of scoreless hockey, Nicholas Bowman gave the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead 1:50 into the third period, beating Michael Herringer for the first time on the day. Midway through the period, Jack Cowell evened the affair for the Rockets and with no other scoring to report, the two teams headed for extra fun.

Herringer turned aside all three shooters in the skills competition plus another 28 pucks during the regular proceedings to claim his 16th win of the campaign.

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