The Okanagan Rockets overcame a short bench on the road this weekend to hand the Valley West Hawks back to back losses, putting the Rockets in a tie for first place in league standings.
On Saturday afternoon, the teams combined for four goals in the opening 20 minutes, with the Rockets grabbing three of the four.
Defenceman Seth Barton got things going on the powerplay when he walked in from the blueline, deked past a defender, and went shelf on Dorrin Luding to give Okanagan a 1-0 lead.
The Rockets would continue to put up points on the powerplay, with Coleton Bilodeau scoring goals number five and six on the man advantage.
Both of Bilodeau’s goals sandwiched a Sahvan Gill powerplay marker, in a game that didn’t feature a single goal scored at even strength.
Only one goal was scored in the second period, that one a short-handed marker from Justyn Gurney, to give the Rockets a one goal lead heading into the third period.
At the tail end of a back and forth period, Tyler Ho tied it up for the Hawks with less than two-and-a-half minutes to play.
But the Rockets did one better, as Rayman Bassi spun around behind the Hawks goal and fed Jeffrey Karpowich at the back door for the game winning goal with just 33 seconds left in regulation, giving the Okanagan squad a 4-3 victory.
On Sunday, the Rockets began the game with just three regular defencemen in the lineup, after veteran Cody Schiavon and AP Palmer Jenkins had both been injured in Saturday afternoon’s game.
After a scoreless first, it was the Rockets who got on the board first in the second, when Tanner Bahm finished off a feed from Chase Stevenson.
About 12 minutes later, Barton’s second PP goal of the weekend gave the Rockets a 2-0 lead through 40 minutes.
Another close third period had the Rockets leading late, but the Hawks would score twice in 49 seconds, as a Kabir Gill powerplay goal and a Nolan Krogfoss equalizer made it 2-2.
But the Rockets made room for even more dramatics on Sunday, as Coleton Bilodeau’s third goal of the road trip with just 17 seconds left handed the Rockets a 3-2 win, which was their tenth in a row.
Nik Bregeda stopped 28 of 30 shots for a big win on Sunday to move to 4-1, while Owen Partrick is now a cool 7-0 after Saturday’s winning performance.
Luding got the start and took the loss in both games on the weekend.
The Rockets (11-1) will now carry forward on the road for the next two weekends, continuing with a trip to Port Coquitlam on November 12 and 13 to visit the Vancouver NE Chiefs (8-3-0-1).
The next home action is coming up on November 26, when the Rockets host the Thompson Blazers in the front half of a weekend home and home.
You can catch all home games at the CNC on Saturdays at 3 pm and Sundays at 10 am, on the PPV video feed at www.playfullscreen.com, and on our live audio broadcast at www.mixlr.com/okanaganrockets.