The Okanagan Rockets suffered a 6-2 defeat in the first game of a best-of-three semi final series against the Valley West Hawks.
The Rockets got off to a strong start right out of the gate and on a penalty kill, opening the scoring just two minutes into the contest. After narrowly missing a shorthanded try just moments before, Zach Erhardt and Chase Stevenson capitalized on the rush with Stevenson finding the puck in the slot and beating Valley West net minder Nic Tallarico to the blocker side for a 1-0 OK lead.
Okanagan would take that lead to the dressing room after 20 minutes of play while outshooting the Hawks 14-13 in the opening frame. Rockets goaltender Cole Demers was outstanding in the opening 20 minutes, making 13 saves on 13 shots.
The Hawks found their game in the 2nd period, with the help of the power play. Christian Bosa tied the game with a shot from the left circle before James Malm banked in a shot from the same spot off a Rockets defender to give Valley West their first lead of the game with both markers coming on the man advantage.
The Hawks took a 3-1 lead later in the frame on a tap-in by Bosa for his 2nd of the game at the glove side of Demers goal and that’s how things would stand through 40 minutes. The Hawks outshot the Rockets 17-12 in the 2nd period and 30-26 after two periods of play.
The Hawks would add three more in the third period, with two PP markers coming from Ben Evanish and Carson Franklin before James Malm added the Hawks sixth goal for a 6-1 lead.
Myles Mattila would get one back for the Rockets on a right wing rush, wristing home his first of the playoffs with 33 seconds to go to make the final a 6-2 victory in favour of the Hawks.
The Rockets and Hawks will play Game #2 of their best-of-three semi finals series Saturday night when the teams head to the South Surrey Arena for a 6:30 PM face-off. All the action can be seen live on www.playfullscreen.com.