(ISN) – Kelowna BC – Good goaltending from Taran Kozun and a solid team effort helped Seattle get two points on the road against the WHL’s top team. Kelowna started the game off strong offensively, outshooting the Thunderbirds 10-0 in the first eight minutes.
Despite being outplayed through most of the first, Seattle was first on the board when Roberts Lipsbergs skated into the Rockets zone on a 1 on 1, took a shot on Jackson Whistle. When the rebound came back to Lipsbergs, he buried the puck and made it 1-0 Thunderbirds. A minute later, Lipsbergs found himself skating into the Rockets zone again, but this time he made a pass across to Scott Eanser who was able to beat Whistle. Even though Seattle was up 2-0 at the end of one, it was Kelowna leading the shots at 17- 9.
A few minutes into the second period, Kelowna’s Riley Stadel got into a fight with Keegan Kolesar on his nineteenth birthday. Ten seconds later, Luke Osterman for the Thunderbirds and Tyrell Goulbourne for the Rockets kept the fight train rolling. The Rockets cut the lead in half seven minutes into the second when Theodore gave the puck away behind the Thunderbird goal. Tyrell Goulbourne then made a tremendous pass in front to Nick Merkley, who made no mistake putting it in the net. Just twenty seconds later, Seattle snatched their two goal lead back when a lucky bounce off a Kelowna defender that landed in front of Cory Millette who banged it home. After an intense start, the second period moved on with little action. The score at the end of 2 was 3-1 for the Thunderbirds.
Two minutes into the third, Shea Theodore took a one timer that barely squeaked by Whistle to make the score 4-1. After the goal, Kelowna native, Jackson Whistle was pulled after allowing four goals on nineteen shots. Michael Herringer took his place. Midway through the third period, Kelowna began to show some emotion leading to the third and final fight of the game. This one was between, Jerret Smith for Seattle and Chance Braid for Kelowna. With 6 minutes remaining, Madison Bowey made the game close when he stepped across the blue line and took a hard slap shot that tipped off Kozun’s glove and into the net. Even though the Rockets dominated the remainder of the game, they couldn’t find away to beat Kozun. With twenty-five seconds remaining, Keegan Kolesar added an empty netter and the Thunderbirds would win by a score of 5-2.
Jackson Whistle and Michael Herringer combined to stop nineteen of twenty-three shots in a losing effort for Kelowna. Taran Kozun had a fantastic game, stopping thirty-six of thirty-eight shots, to get the W. The Rockets will get a week off before playing back to back home games against the Everett Silvertips. After that, they travel to Alberta for a four game road trip. Three of the four teams that they play on that road trip are currently sitting above five hundred.
The Thunderbirds will make their way back to Washington State for their game tomorrow night in Everett. Next week they travel to the Tri-Cities before returning to Seattle on January 24th.