It was a slow start for both the Rockets and the Blazers Saturday night, but with a 2-1 overtime victory, the Rockets move two points ahead of the Blazers for third in the B.C division. Lassi Thomson snapped the overtime winning goal for the Rockets, but it was Rockets rookie, Trevor Wong, who stole the spotlight with scoring the first Rockets goal, his first of his WHL career.
“It was a huge (game) with my first goal, and it was good to get at home,” said Wong. “I was just driving to the net, and I didn’t even realize it went in until the buzzer went off.”
The 15 year-old Wong started the game on the first line with Leif Mattson and Kyle Topping, as the Rockets had to mix up the lines with Liam Kindree out with an injury. The game got off to a slow start, but both teams gradually picked up the tempo as the Rockets spent most the period playing in their own end. The Rockets had chances in the first period, both on the penalty kill and on the power play. Blazers’ goalie Dylan Ferguson played sharp and turned away seven shots, while Roman Basran stopped all eight Blazers shots in the period.
The second period might have the been the worst 20 minutes of hockey for both the Rockets and the Blazers this season, both teams came out unscathed. Whether it was bad passes, poor possession, or lack of effort, each team was lucky to end the period without conceding any goals.
“Every time we play against the Blazers, we have to come out hard,” said Rocket’s Leif Mattson. “The first couple periods was a little bit of boring hockey, but I think both teams were kind of playing it safe. It was huge for Wong to get a good goal there for us, and we found a way to seal the deal at the end.”
The hostility between these two rivals came full force in the third period. Blazers’ Montana Onyebuchi took a five minute major penalty to start the period for running over Connor Bruggen-Cate. Oneybuchi got a game misconduct, and the Rockets got a five minute power-play. Wong was in the right place at the right time when the puck found his stick off and he snapped a rebound past Ferguson, notching his first and giving the Rockets the temporary lead. Kamloops’ Jermaine Loewen tied up the game 1-1 less than five minutes later with a tip from the point that just beat Basran. Both teams would get their chances in the remainder of the frame, but the game would need overtime.
The Rockets took over in the extra frame, controlling the puck and generating some chances. The crowd of Rockets fans cheered when the Rockets were given a power-play in the extra frame. After some tight passing, the Rockets took advantage of tired Blazers skaters and a screened Ferguson as Lassi Thomson sniped it top shelf to give the Rockets the win.
With the WHL season winding down, the Rockets will continue to fight off divisional opponents to hold on to third in the B.C. division. They return to action Feb. 6 with a home match up against Spokane.
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