Junior hockey: Forgettable night for Rockets in 6-2 setback to Giants

It was a rough Friday night for the Kelowna Rockets, as they took it on the chin in a lopsided 6-2 decision to the Vancouver Giants.

After scoring the opening goal just two minutes into the game, Vancouver blew the contest open with four goals in the second period, including three in a four-minute span.

Tristen Nielsen, with two goals, including the opener at 1:52 of the first, Justin Sourdif, with two goals, Tanner Brown and Adam Hall scored for Vancouver (11-9-0-0), which led 1-0 and 5-1 at the period breaks.

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Notably, Nielsen’s opening goal was a shorthanded marker, while his second, at 10:10 of the second to make it 3-1, was on the power play. He finished the night with four points, including two assists, and was named the game’s first star.

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Sourdif, the game’s second star, repeated his teammate’s work, scoring a shorty at 10:44 to make it 4-1, then on the power play at 14:53 to make it 5-1.

Hall’s goal at 9:43 made it 6-1, and it, too, came on the power play. Giants forward Eric Florchuk, with two assists, was the third star.

Steel Quiring, at 6:44 of the second to make it 2-1, and Kaedan Korczak, who closed out the scoring at 12:57 of the third, replied for Kelowna (8-4-1-0).

Trent Miner stopped 19 of 21 shots for the Giants. For the Rockets, starter Roman Basran gave up five goals on 21 shots, with Cole Schebius turning aside 13 of 14 shots in relief.

The game was played in Kamloops. Vancouver was an impressive 3-for-3 on the power play, while Kelowna was 1-for-4.

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This week, the WHL announced that league standings for the shortened season will be based on points-per-game percentages. The league said the change was made due to teams playing an uneven number of games due to COVID-19 cancellations.

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For Kelowna, that means a jump in B.C. Division standings. The Rockets have played the fewest games at 13, with their opponents having played either 19 or 20 games.

Normally, the Rockets would be in fourth place out of five with 17 points, well behind front-running Kamloops (15-4-0-0), which has 30 points.

But because of the rule change, Kelowna is now second with a percentage of .654. Kamloops is still first at .789, while Prince George (9-7-2-, 21 points) is third at .553. Vancouver (11-9-0-0, 22 points) is fourth at at .550 with Victoria (2-15-1-1, 6 points) fifth at .158.

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Kelowna has just three games remaining this season: Sunday in Kamloops against Prince George, then two home games next week – Monday against Kamloops, then Wednesday against Victoria.

Elsewhere in the WHL on Friday night, Seattle beat Tri-City 5-2, while Everett crushed Spokane 5-1, as the Silvertips outshot the Chiefs 45-15.

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Also Friday, the Silvertips (18-4-0-0) were crowned U.S. Division champions. A notable roster member is Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Gage Goncalves of Mission, B.C.

Saturday’s Games

  • Spokane vs. Portland, 5 p.m.
  • Everett vs. Seattle, 6:05 p.m.
  • Kamloops vs. Vancouver, 7 p.m.
  • Prince George vs. Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Sunday’s Games

  • Portland vs. Tri-City, 4:05 p.m.
  • Spokane vs. Seattle, 5:05 p.m.
  • Kelowna vs. Prince George, 6 p.m.


Vernon 3, Salmon Arm 1

At Vernon, James Porter had a stellar outing between the pipes, with a 37-save effort, in helping the Vipers defeat the Silverbacks.

Tyler Carpendale, Reagan Milburn and Ryan Shostak scored for Vernon (12-5-1-1), which trailed 1-0 midway through the first period but replied with three unanswered goals to win.

Carpendale made it 1-1 at 19:45 of the first, with Milburn notching the lone goal in the second period at 1:18. Shostak closed out the scoring into an empty net at 18:28.

Logan Shaw, at 12:04 of the first, had the lone goal for Salmon Arm (9-7-2-1). Owen Say stopped 28 of 30 shots for the Silverbacks.

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Vernon was 0-for-1 on the power play while Salmon Arm was 0-for-4.

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Friday’s Results

  • Victoria 2, Alberni Valley 1
  • Prince George 3, Merritt 0
  • Cranbrook 5, Trail 4
  • Nanaimo 4, Cowichan Valley 3
  • Surrey 4, Powell River 2

Saturday’s Games

  • Powell River vs. Coquitlam, 1 p.m.
  • Chilliwack vs. Merritt, 5 p.m.
  • West Kelowna vs. Salmon Arm, 6 p.m.
  • Penticton vs. Trail, 6 p.m.
  • Cowichan Valley vs. Nanaimo, 7 p.m.

Sunday’s Games

  • Coquitlam vs. Surrey, 1 p.m.
  • Cranbrook vs. Penticton, 4 p.m.
  • Vernon vs. West Kelowna, 4 p.m.
  • Prince George vs. Chilliwack, 5 p.m.
  • Alberni Valley vs. Victoria, 5 p.m.

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