It was a winning debut for Kelowna’s new goaltender, albeit one that started on a shaky note.
Talyn Boyko stopped 27 of 29 shots for the Rockets, as Kelowna clipped the B.C. Division-leading Blazers at Prospera Place on Wednesday night.
However, Kamloops scored early, just 37 seconds in when Daylan Kuefler beat Boyko blocker-side with a shot from the slot.
It was Boyko’s first start for Kelowna after being acquired from the Tri-City Americans on Sunday. But after getting beat by Kamloops’ first shot of the game, the 6-foot-7 netminder buckled down and put in a solid effort, stopping 11 more shots in the first period.
“Not the start we wanted, obviously,” Rockets head coach Kris Mallette said in post-game comments. “But what can you say?”
Mallette said his team “got fired up. There’s a lot of hype behind Kamloops; we’ve talked about this at length, and rightfully so; they’re a great hockey team.
“But our group, I asked them to play a greasy home game and they played it to a T tonight. We kept it pretty simple and we were rewarded for it. We had quality chances and they have a great goaltender over there, and he had to make some pretty big saves.”
Mark Liwiski, Colton Dach and Nolan Flamand scored for Kelowna (6-3-0-1), which trailed 1-0 early but led 3-2 after 40 minutes.
Josh Pillar also scored for Kamloops (11-2-0-0), which was ranked No. 3 in this week’s CHL top-10 rankings. Winnipeg (15-1-0-0) is the top-ranked team in the nation.
Dylan Garand stopped 24 of 27 shots for the Blazers, whose two losses this season have been to Kelowna.
The Rockets were 1-for-2 on the power play while the Blazers were 0-for-3.
- Vancouver 5, Prince George 3
- Edmonton 4, Prince Albert 2
- Red Deer 3, Regina 2
- Winnipeg 5, Lethbridge 1
- Brandon 5, Lethbridge 2
Friday’s Games (all times PT)
- Red Deer at Prince Albert, 5 p.m.
- Edmonton at Regina, 5 p.m.
- Calgary at Swift Current, 5 p.m.
- Saskatoon at Brandon, 5 p.m.
- Kelowna at Prince George, 7 p.m.
- Vancouver at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
- Portland at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.
- Tri-City at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
At Penticton, Josh Nadeau scored twice for Penticton, including the game-winning goal in overtime, as the Vees edged the Bulldogs despite handily outshooting their opponents on Wednesday night.
Nadeau opened the scoring at 58 seconds of the second period, then tallied his second of the night at 4:36 of overtime.
Penticton (9-2-0-0-0) outshot the Bulldogs 32-18, including 8-1 in the extra period.
Mirko Buttazzoni, at 2:28 of the third period to make it 1-1, scored for Alberni Valley (7-3-2-0-0).
Kaeden Lane made 17 saves for the Vees, while Hobie Hedquist turned aside 30 shots for the Bulldogs.
Penticton was 2-for-6 on the power play while Alberni Valley was 0-for-1.
Three players registered two-point outings for Vernon as the Vipers defeated the Spruce Kings on Wednesday.
Matthew Culling, Griffen Bar and Zack Tonelli, each with a goal and an assist, plus Ryan Shostak scored for Vernon (4-4-3-1-0), which led 1-0 and 2-1 at the period breaks.
Rowan Miller, with two goals, and Nick Rheaume replied for Prince George (8-5-0-0-0), which trailed 4-1 midway through the third before scoring twice in the final five minutes to close the gap.
Shots were tied at 27-27, with Roan Clarke making 24 saves for the Vipers and Aaron Trotter turning aside 23 shots for the Spruce Kings.
Vernon was 0-for-2 on the power play while Prince George was 1-for-2.
- Coquitlam 3, Langley 0
- Nanaimo 5, Cowichan Valley 2
- Trail 2, Merritt 1
- West Kelowna at Wenatchee, 6 p.m.
- Alberni Valley at Cranbrook, 6 p.m.
- Coquitlam at Merritt, 7 p.m.
- Cowichan Valley at Powell River, 7 p.m.
- Vernon at Prince George, 7 p.m.
- Nanaimo at Surrey, 7 p.m.
- Victoria at Chilliwack, 7 p.m.
- West Kelowna at Wenatchee, 7:05 p.m.