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Junior hockey: Rockets earn third-straight victory, Vees knock off Centennials – Okanagan

A roundup of junior hockey results from the Okanagan and area.

Kelowna 6, Vancouver 5

It was a back-and-forth affair, but the Kelowna Rockets found the way, knocking off the Vancouver Giants at Prospera Place Saturday to earn their third-straight win.

After the Rockets took a 2-0 lead in the first period, the Giants stormed back with three unanswered goals – one in the first period, and two in the second – to take a 3-2 lead. Just over three minutes after the Giants broke the tie, the Rockets would even up the score courtesy of Dylan Wightman, who buried his sixth goal of the season.

Less than five minutes later, the Rockets regained the lead, with Marek Rocak making his first goal of the season, and the hometown team headed into the final frame up 4-3.

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Early in the third period, the Giants scored the equalizer, but the Rockets’ firepower proved to be too much for the visitors; the home team added two more goals to take a 6-4 lead. The Giants, however, made things interesting when Tyler Thorpe scored in the final five minutes of play, but the Rockets held on, taking a 6-5 decision.

Tij Iginla was named the first star of the game after registering two goals and two assists, extending his point streak to four games. Andrew Cristall, the game’s second star, scored a goal and added two assists to extend his point streak to seven games.

Rockets netminder Jari Kykkanen set aside 34 of the 39 shots he faced, picking up his fourth win of the season, and the Rockets record improved to (6-4-1). The Rockets’ next game is at home on Wednesday night when they take on the Victoria Royals.

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Penticton 6, Merritt 4

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The Penticton Vees defeated the Merritt Centennials Saturday, earning their fourth-straight win, and for one rookie, it was a night he’ll never forget.

Vees forward Max Heise, playing in his first season in the BCHL, hadn’t scored a goal in his first eight outings, but he exploded with three straight first-period goals, after Merritt opened the scoring just 1:37 into the contest.

In the middle frame, the Centennials scored back-to-back goals to even the score 3-3. The Vees restored their lead but it was short-lived – the Cents tied things up again, with just over a minute left in the second period.

In the third, Vees forward Connor MacPherson doubled down, scoring the go-ahead goal just over a minute into the final stanza and adding the insurance goal in the final :08 seconds of the game. The Vees would go on to win 6-4.

The hometown Vees outshot the Cents 38-33, and their record is now (7-1-1-1). Penticton now hits the road to take on the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Monday at 1 p.m.

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 Prince George 5, Salmon Arm 3

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The Prince George Spruce Kings and Salmon Arm Silverbacks split their weekend series, with the Spruce Kings getting revenge on Saturday night.

The Spruce Kings opened the scoring just over five minutes into the first period, but :25 seconds later, the Silverbacks had an answer. Less than a minute later, Prince George restored their lead, then added another tally midway through the first to take a 3-1 advantage into the second period.

Prince George’s Scott Cousins scored the only goal in the middle frame, then just over two minutes into the third period, the Spruce Kings would find the back of the net once again, to go up 5-1. Salmon Arm wouldn’t go down without a fight – they scored two goals in the final period, but it wasn’t enough. Prince George held on to win 5-3, after losing to Salmon Arm the night before 4-3 in overtime.

Both teams went 1-for-3 on the powerplay, while Salmon Arm heavily outshot Prince George 39-28 in the losing effort.

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