Rockets lift off in third to ground Cougars


Taylor Gauthier #35 of the Prince George Cougars makes a first period save on shot by Kole Lind #16 of the Kelowna Rockets on March 14, 2018 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze

The Kelowna Rockets saved their best for last, scoring five goals in the third period Wednesday, in their 6-3 come from behind win over the Prince George Cougars at Prospera Centre.

Aaron Boyd, Brogan O’Brien and Ryan Schoettler scored for Prince George and Taylor Gauthier was solid in net, stopping 44-shots and was named the game’s third star.

Cal Foote led the way for the Rockets, scoring twice and finishing with three points. Younger brother Nolan, playing for the first time in 17-games, picked up a goal and an assist. Kaedan Korczak, Dillon Dube and Brayden Chizen also scored for Kelowna.

It was a feisty, penalty filled affair, as the two teams combined for 114 penalty-minutes, as tempers flared in the third period.

For the second-straight game, Boyd opened the scoring for the Cougars, breaking a scoreless tie midway through the first period. Cole Moberg had his point-shot knocked down out front, but Boyd was right there to turn and fire the rebound past James Porter at 13:30; Boyd picking up his 14th.

Kelowna tied it late, as Nolan Foote tipped-in his brother’s shot from the blue-line, redirecting the puck over Gauthier’s blocker at 17:07.

The game remained 1-1 until late into the second period, when Brogan O’Brien finally broke the deadlock. With less than three-minutes left in the middle frame, O’Brien picked up the puck outside the zone, quickly came back in, and fired a shot past the blocker of Porter at 17:45. Moments earlier, Porter had lost his stick and O’Brien took advantage, scoring his 15th on the stick side.

After trailing 2-1 through 40-minutes, the Rockets found another gear in the third period, not only scoring five times but outshot the Cougars 24-5.

Just 23-seconds into the third period the Rockets tied it, as Korczak’s shot from the blue-line deflected in past Gauthier. Initially the four officials conferenced about whether or the puck was contacted by a high-stick. The play went to video review but the original call on the ice was upheld.

Kelowna grabbed their first lead of the night, six-minutes into the third period. After a skirmish in the Cougars zone resulted in major penalties to both Joel Lakusta and Cam MacPhee, the Cougars found themselves down two men for one minute. The Cougars did a valiant job of killing-off the extended power-play, but the Rockets went ahead seconds after the five-on-three expired.

Just as the two-man advantage ended for the Rockets, Dylan Dube found Foote out front, and he ripped a one-timer past Gauthier to make it 3-2; Foote scoring just two-seconds after the penalties were over.

Kelowna continued to press and added to their lead late in the third, scoring twice in 29-seconds to make it 5-2. First, Dube took a cross-ice pass from Leif Mattson and just redirected enough of the puck to muscle it past Gauthier and just across the goal-line with just six-minutes left. Then, less than half a minute later, Cal Foote scored his second of the game on a wraparound to make it 6-2.

Braydyn Chizen finished the scoring for the Rockets, scoring right off a face-off in the Cougars’ end. During a four-on-four sequence, Chizen busted down to the goal-line, and from the right side of the net, cut to his backhand, going upstairs over a fallen Gauthier.

Prince George got one back, as Ryan Schoettler scored on a power-play with just over two-minutes left in the third period. Schoettler coming down from the point to go five-hole on Porter at 17:56.

FINAL SCORE: 6-3 Rockets

Shots: 50-18 Rockets

Power-Plays: Cougars 1-4 Rockets 0-8

Three Stars: 1) Cal Foote 2) Nolan Foote 3) Taylor Gauthier

Prince George (23-38-5-4) wraps up their four-game road trip Friday against the Kamloops Blazers; face-off is 7:20 pm. Fans can listen to the game on 94-3 The GOAT, or they can watch online, via WHL Live.

-PG Cougars

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