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Rockets score early and hold on for win over Cougars


Isaiah DiLaura of the Prince George Cougars defends the net against the Kelowna Rockets on November 29, 2017 at Prospera Place in Kelowna. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
Isaiah DiLaura of the Prince George Cougars defends the net against the Kelowna Rockets on November 29, 2017 at Prospera Place in Kelowna. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)

The Kelowna Rockets scored three times in the opening 20 minutes, en route to a 5-3 win over the Prince George Cougars, Wednesday at Prospera Place in Kelowna.

Carsen Twarynski and Dillon Dube scored in the first eight-minutes, and Twarynski added another late in the first, as the Rockets quickly got out ahead on the Cougars. Twarynski scored his hat-trick goal in the second and Cal Foote also found the back of the net, as the Rockets led 5-1 after 40-minutes. James Porter picked up his third win against the Cougars, as he stopped 26 of 29 shots.

Josh Curtis scored short-handed in the second, and Jared Bethune and Dennis Cholowski scored power-play goals inside the final three-minutes of the game. Isaiah DiLaura, who made his second career start, kicked-out 24 of 29 shots in the loss.

Twarynski opened the scoring just past the four-minute mark on the Rockets first power-play. The Philadelphia Flyers prospect ripped a one-timer from the left hash mark over DiLaura’s shoulder, after Kyle Topping feathered a pass out front from the goal-line. Four-minutes later, it was their penalty-kill making noise.

Short-handed, Dillon Dube doubled the Rockets lead on a great individual effort. Dube capitalized on a turnover along the wall, meandering his way to the middle of the zone, eluding a couple of Cougar checkers along the way, before scoring on the blocker-side of DiLaura at 8:16.

Twarynski added another goal late in the first period with less than half a minute left, after he cleaned up a rebound at the top of the crease. Braydyn Chizen’s point-shot was stopped but the rebound came to Twarynski at the top of the crease.

Prince George showed some signs of life in the second period and short-handed no less. During a Rockets’ four-minute power-play, Josh Curtis raced down the loose puck in the neutral zone, broke in alone on James Porter and went five-hole on the Rockets’ netminder to make it 3-1 at 10:12. Curtis picking up his second goal in as many games after not scoring in the previous 11.

Despite that short-handed goal and the Cougars killing-of that four-minute power-play, they couldn’t gain any traction in the latter half of the middle frame, as the Rockets countered with two more goals in the final six-minutes.

Twarynski scored his hat-trick goal, to make it 4-1, on another Rockets power-play. Kyle Topping circled the net before dropping the puck down to Twarynski who turned and roofed it over DiLaura’s shoulder at 14:11. Then, Cal Foote made it 5-1, cashing in on a rebound that spilled out of DiLaura’s glove with just two-minutes left in the second.

Prince George chiseled away at the deficit in the third, scoring two power-play goals inside the final three-minutes. Jared Bethune scored from the slot just past the 17-minute mark, tucking the puck up underneath the bar for his seventh. Dennis Cholowski made it a two-goal games, as his shot from the blue-line had eyes for the back of the net. Cholowski sailed his wrist-shot past everyone, including Porter’s glove with 18-seconds left.

Final Score: 5-3 Rockets

Shots: 29-29

Power-Plays: Cougars 2-6 Rockets 2-4

Three Stars: 1) Carsen Twarynski 2) Dillon Dube 3) Cal Foote

The Cougars (9-13-2-2) return home Friday and Saturday to face the third place Vancouver Giants (11-12-2-2) at the CN Centre, in a key two-game BC Division series. Prince George beat Vancouver 2-1 back on October 27 in Langley, in their only meeting of the season. Tickets for both games are available at the TicketsNorth box office at the CN Centre, or online at

-Prince George Cougars


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