The Kelowna Rockets fell to the host Cougars 4-3 in overtime on Wednesday night at the CN Centre in Prince George.
The Rockets found the back of the net on just their third shot of the game, 3:20 into the first period. Liam Kindree teed up a shot that Cougars starting goaltender Taylor Gauthier kicked away, but Erik Gardiner was there to bury the rebound. The goal was Gardiner’s fourth of the season.
Kelowna was awarded a power play in the final minutes of the first, but could not capitalize. The Rockets headed into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead.
Prince George responded early in the second frame on a sharp-angle shot from Cole Moberg that snuck past Rockets starter Roman Basran. The goal was Moberg’s sixth of the season. The Cougars then took their first lead of the game midway through the period on a power-play marker from Matéj Toman, who scored his third of the season. After 40 minutes, it was 2-1 for the host Cougars.
In the third, the Rockets tied the game just 55 seconds into the frame. Nolan Foote stopped a clearing attempt and then fed the puck to Kyle Topping in the slot. Topping passed it to Lane Zablocki, who then scored his second goal of the season by going five-hole.
While on the penalty kill, the Rockets chased the puck behind the Cougars’ net. Goaltender Gauthier tried to clear the puck, but it wound up on the stick of Kyle Topping, who scored his ninth of the season at 12:07 to give Kelowna a 3-2 lead.
The Cougars, though, wound up tying the game in the dying seconds, Vladislav Mikhalchuk at 19:43 with Prince George having pulled Gauthier for an extra attacker.
In overtime, the two B.C. Division rivals went back and forth, exchanging scoring chance. And it was the Cougars who came out on top, with Josh Maser netting the winner with six seconds left at 4:54.
Kelowna’s record is now 8-12-1-0, good for 17 points. Basram stopped 29 of 33 shots. Gauthier faced 31 shots, stopping 28 for Prince George (9-8-1-12, 21 points).
For Kelowna, Wednesday’s tilt was their fourth consecutive road game. The Rockets beat Seattle 3-1 on Friday night, then dropped back-to-back games in Portland, falling 3-0 on Saturday, then 4-2 on Sunday.
Up next are two more road games: Friday in Red Deer against the Rebels (13-5-1-0, 27 points), then Saturday in Edmonton against the Central Division-leading Oil Kings (13-7-1-1, 28 points). Both games start at 6 p.m. PT.
After Saturday’s game, Kelowna will get a small, four-day break before hosting the Regina Pats on Wednesday, November 21st at Prospera Place.
In other WHL action on Wednesday, Prince Albert skated to its league-leading 18th win of the season by defeating Medicine Hat 2-0, Tri-City blanked Swift Current 3-0 and Everett edged Portland 3-2.