The Okanagan Rockets had revenge on their minds. They got it.
The Rockets swept the visiting Cariboo Cougars in a pair of weekend games in the B.C. Hockey Major Midget League. At Capital News Centre in Kelowna, Okanagan beat Cariboo 4-1 on Saturday and 8-5 on Sunday. The teams last saw each other at the Mac’s AAA Midget Tournament in Calgary, where the Cougars defeated their league rivals 4-3 in a semifinal playoff.
In Saturday’s contest, the Rockets led 2-0 after two periods but Cougars forward Devan Minard closed the gap to 2-1 with a shorthanded goal half way through the third. Less than two minutes later, the Rockets responded with a power-play marker by defenceman Connor Elliott and they iced the game with an empty-netter by Teague Patton.
Steel Quiring scored for Okanagan in the first period and Elliott connected in the second while his club was on a power play.
Cayden Hamming was the winning goaltender and Jordan Fairlie took the loss.
In Sunday’s rematch, the teams were tied 1-1 after 20 minutes but the Rockets exploded for six even-strength goals in the second period and led 7-3 going into the third. The Cougars outscored their hosts 2-1 in the final 20 minutes but the damage was already done.
The Rockets got their goals from eight different players – Jackson Desouza, Quinn Paterson, Dylan Wightman, Riley Sharun, Patton, Elliott, Benn Krivoshen and Tyson Jugnauth. Alex Ochitwa led the Cougars with a pair of goals, while Fischer O’Brien, Brennan Bott and Carter Yarish also scored.
In the nets, Bailey Monteith earned the victory and Fairlie was on the losing end once again.
The league-leading Rockets elevated their record to 22-2-1-1.
The Cougars, now in fifth place in the 11-team league, slipped to 17-7-1-1. Their next games are part of the second annual Winter Classic weekend in Fort St. James. On Saturday at 5:30 p.m. they’ll face off against the second-place Vancouver Northwest Hawks (20-7-0-1) on outdoor ice at Ernie Sam Memorial Arena and the teams will clash the next day (12:30 p.m.) at the Fort Forum.
The Northern Capitals of the B.C. Hockey Female Midget AAA League will also participate in the Winter Classic. The Capitals will play three games against the Greater Vancouver Comets – on Friday in Vanderhoof (7 p.m.), Saturday at the Fort Forum (2 p.m.) and Sunday at Ernie Sam Memorial Arena (9 a.m.).
The outdoor game will be a first for the Capitals, who are coming off a 1-1-1 weekend in Coquitlam. They battled the Fraser Valley Rush to a 1-1 deadlock on Friday (goal by Keagan Goulet), fell 4-1 to the Comets on Saturday (Samantha Wiley with the goal) and downed the Thompson Okanagan Lakers 3-0 on Sunday. In Sunday’s win, Brette Kerley, Pyper Alexander and Paige Outhouse did the offensive damage for the Capitals and Cadence Petitclerc-Crosby picked up the shutout.
The Caps head into the Winter Classic weekend in third place with a 10-7-2-0- record. The first-place Comets have been nearly flawless at 16-1-0-0.