The Okanagan Rockets showed some resilience in gutting out a 4-2 win over the host Fraser Valley Thunderbirds on Saturday afternoon at the Abbotsford Centre.
The Rockets were forced to kill off 12 penalties, including four 5-on-3 man advantage scenarios.
Fraser Valley jumped out to a 1-0 first period lead before the Rockets came storming back in the 2nd thanks to goals from Brett Witala (7th) and Marcus Mitchell (14th) to take a 2-1 lead to the dressing room after 40 minutes.
The Rockets started the 3rd period down 2 men, and that's where things got very interesting.
Rockets defenceman Nick Higgs was assessed a cross checking penalty just :59 seconds into the 3rd, and when the original penalties to Levi Johnson and Nolan Kneen expired, the officiating crew held both players in the box allowing the T-Birds an unwarranted :26 seconds of extra 5-on-3 time which they ultimately capitalized on when Davin Padgham ripped it past Rockets starter Jordan Reynolds. While admitting their error, the officiating crew allowed the goal to stand, and allowed Fraser Valley to pull even at 2-2 early in the 3rd.
From there, the Rockets regrouped and got goals from Brandon Whistle (4th) at 9:24 and Kaden Black (1st) at 13:15 to put the game away.
Jordan Reynolds was solid in goal for the Rockets as he turned aside 27 shots in the contest including 14 3rd period saves. The Thunderbirds outshot the Rockets 29-28 in the game. Reynolds improved to 7-2-0 with the win.
The win snaps the Rockets 3 game winless skid and improved the clubs overall record to 10-4-1 and helped them pull to within 3 points of the Vancouver NW Giants for 2nd place in the BCMML standings.
The Rockets and T-Birds will wrap up their weekend set with 2:30 pm tilt, again from the Abbotsford Centre.