September 15, 2012, Kelowna (ISN) – The Kelowna Rockets closed out the Western Hockey League preseason with a convincing 8-1 win over the Tri-City Americans Saturday night at Prospera Place in Kelowna.
Newly acquired 20-year-olds J.T. Barnett and Dylen McKinlay led the way as Barnett scored three times and McKinlay had a goal and two helpers. Myles Bell scored twice while Austin Ferguson and Carter Rigby also scored. Ryan Olsen had three helpers.
It didn’t take long for Barnett to make an impact. After the Rockets fell behind 1-0 in the first 20 seconds, Barnett brought the Rockets back to even when he was sent in on a partial breakaway in the first minute and fired a quick shot into the corner for a 1-1 tie.
Midway through the first McKinlay took a nice pass from Tyson Baillie and ripped a laser-beam into the top corner to give the Rockets the lead.
On Thursday the Rockets added both players with McKinlay arriving in a trade with Kootenay for a fifth round bantam pick and Barnett being acquired off waivers from Everett.
It was a busy week for the Rockets as they signed 17-year-old prospect Mitchell Wheaton as well and the 6-foot-5 defenceman earned an assist and was a physical presence.
The Rockets closed the WHL preseason at 2-2-0-2 and will begin the 2012-13 WHL regular season with a home and home against Kamloops as the two teams will meet Friday in Kamloops and Saturday at Prospera Place.