Rockets scuttle Tips’ win streak

KELOWNA, B.C. — Round one to the Kelowna Rockets.

Kelowna used its supremacy on special teams to win the first meeting in the weekend battle of Western Hockey League division leaders, beating the Everett Silvertips 5-3 Friday night.

The game, the first of two this weekend between the WHL-leading Rockets and the U.S. Division-leading Tips, came down to efficiency on the power play. Kelowna converted both its power-play chances, and Everett couldn’t score with the man advantage until trailing by two goals with less than a minute remaining in regulation.

Tyson Baillie scored twice to lead Kelowna (35-8-3-0), which ended Everett’s six-game winning streak. Tyrell Goulbourne and Rourke Chartier also scored. Cole Linaker added a late empty-netter, and Jackson Whistle made 28 saves in goal for the Rockets.

Ivan Nikolishin had a goal and two assists to lead Everett (30-13-3-1). Ben Betker and Patrick Bajkov scored the other goals for the Tips, and Austin Lotz finished with 21 saves in net.

The teams play again Saturday night in Kelowna.

Everett had several scoring chances in the first period, but Bajkov hit the post and Whistle was able to make some saves. Then the Rockets took the lead at 10:47. Kelowna won a puck battle deep in the offensive zone, and that eventually led to Goulbourne putting in a rebound to make it 1-0.

Everett tied the game early in the second period. Betker wristed a shot goalward from the left point, and the puck found its way through traffic and eluded Whistle to knot the score 1-1 at 2:58.

Kelowna had some chances short-handed in the second, but the Rockets regained the lead on the power play at 6:49. Nick Merkley made a nice move into the slot, then fed a pass for Chartier to put away and make it 2-1.

The Rockets made it a two-goal game 1:19 into the third. Baillie cut across the slot on the rush and tucked a backhander past Lotz and into the far corner to make it 3-1.

Everett quickly got back within one again at 3:15, with Nikolishin cutting across the slot and firing past a screen. But Kelowna struck on the power play again at 5:32, Baillie one-timing a shot from the slot past Lotz to make it 4-2.

The Tips gave themselves late hope by scoring on the power play with 55 seconds remaining, Bajkov one-timing a shot in off the post.

Kelowna then put the game away when Linaker scored into the empty net with 14 seconds remaining.

Rockets 5, Silvertips 3

Everett012—3

Kelowna113—5

First Period—1, Kelowna, Goulbourne 15 (Stadel, Draisaitl), 10:47. Penalties—Dube, Kelowna (cross checking), 11:42.

Second Period—2, Everet, Betker 4 (Bajkov, Nikolishin), 2:58. 3, Kelowna, Chartier 39 (Merkley), 6:49 (pp). Penalties—Draisaitl, Kelowna (slashing), 0:49; Everett bench (too many men, served by Millar), 5:24; Leedahl, Everett (boarding-fighting), 15:18; Martin, Kelowna (instigator-fighting-10-minute misconduct), 15:18; Jo. Morrissey, Kelowna (goaltender interference), 18:38.

Third Period—4, Kelowna, Baillie 28 (Dube, Jo. Morrissey), 1:19. 5, Everett, Nikolishin 12 (Davis, MacDonald), 3:15. 6, Kelowna, Baillie 29 (Draisaitl, Jo. Morrissey), 5:32 (pp). 7, Everett, Bajkov 16 (Juulsen, Nikolishin), 19:05 (pp). 8, Kelowna, Linaker 7 (Draisaitl, Goulbourne), 19:46 (en). Penalties—Scherbak, Everett (tripping), 3:57; Merkley, Kelowna (boarding), 17:20.

Shots on goal—Everett 10-9-12—31. Kelowna 7-7-12—26. Power-play opportunities—Everett 1 of 4. Kelowna 2 of 2.

Goalies—Everett, Lotz 20-10-1-1 (25 shots, 21 saves). Kelowna, Whistle 27-7-3-0 (31 shots, 28 saves).

A—5,461

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