KELOWNA, February 8, 2016 – The Kelowna Rockets defeated the Seattle Thunderbirds 7-4 Monday afternoon at Prospera Place in Kelowna.
The game had two firsts for the T-Birds. Defenseman Jared Pelechaty scored his first career WHL goal and defenseman Reece Harsch made his T-Birds debut. Harsch joined the T-Birds from the Grand Prairie Storm of the Albert Midget Hockey League.
The T-Birds and Rockets meet in the second game of a home-and-home series on Tuesday at ShoWare Center at 7:05pm.
Seattle (28-22-3-0) took a 1-0 lead at 7:10 of the first period on defenseman Jared Pelechaty’s first career goal. Scott Eansor had the puck on the right boards. He crossed the puck to Pelechaty who skated down from the left point and put a slap shot on goal. Pelechaty’s shot beat Kelowna goalie Michael Herringer over the glove. Herringer was screened by a T-Bird forward on the goal.
Seattle outshot Kelowna 13-9 in the second period.
Kelowna (37-14-3-0) tied the game 1-1 on a shorthanded goal by Rourke Chartier at 5:52 of the second period. Justin Kirkland had the only assist on the goal.
Kirkland put the Rockets in front 2-1 at the 14-minute mark of the second. Tyson Baillie fed the puck to Kirkland all alone in front of Seattle goalie Logan Flodell. Kirkland beat Flodell high as the goalie lunged to make the save.
The T-Birds came right back and tied the game 2-2 on a four-on-three power-play goal from Mathew Barzal at 17:06 of the second. Ryan Gropp passed the puck from the left corner to Ethan Bear along the boards. Bear centered the puck to Barzal in the high slot. Barzal took a slap shot that deflected off a Kelowna defenseman’s stick and over Herringer’s glove. It was Barzal’s 15th goal of the season.
The Rockets outshot the T-Birds 21-5 in the second period and led 30-18 in total shots after two periods.
The T-Birds and Rockets combined for seven goals in the third period, the first being scored by the T-Birds on the power play.
Scott Eansor backhanded the puck past Herringer at 6:14 for his seventh goal of the season. Bryan Allbee took a slap shot that hit Herringer but the rebound went right to Eansor to the right of the goal. Bear had the second assist on the goal.
The Rockets tied the game 3-3 at 8:14 of the third on a power-play goal from Cole Linaker. Tomas Soustal and Baillie had the assists.
Kelowna then scored three more goals to take a 6-3 lead. Baillie scored at 11:27 and then Chartier at 12:34 and 14:45.
The T-Birds cut the lead to two goals at 17:34 of the period. Nolan Volcan banged in a puck from the left of the goal just after a power-play ended. Donovan Neuls and Eansor had the assist.
Kirkland scored an empty-net goal with 18:21 left in third to seal the win.
The T-Birds outshot the Rockets 13-11 in the third period. The Rockets finished with a 41-31 advantage in shots.
Flodell made 34 saves on 40 shots and his record is now 14-12-3-0.
Herringer made 27 saves on 31 shots and his record is now 18-8-0-1.
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