The Kelowna Rockets were perfect on the power play Friday night, but they were far from perfect in every other aspect — getting pounded 7-2 by the Prince George Cougars to open a two-game road set.
The rematch goes tonight and the Rockets will be out for redemption after one of their worst efforts of the season in the opener.
Kelowna went 2-for-2 on the power play, getting goals from Nolan Foote, with his team-leading 21st and 12th on the power play, and Leif Mattson, with his 18th (sixth on the power play).
Kyle Topping assisted on both goals to increase his team-leading point total to 44, but that was the end of the good news for the Rockets (17-20-3-1).
The Cougars (15-22-1-2) dominated from start to finish in closing to within five points of the Rockets for third place in the B.C. Division standings. Prince George also has a game in hand on Kelowna.
The Cougars were clearly amped up to start a six-game homestand, coming off an 11-game road trip that dated back to early December.
Prince George came out firing and opened up a 4-0 lead through 20 minutes, outshooting Kelowna 17-5 in the first period and chasing Rockets starter Roman Basran with three goals on 11 shots. The shots were 11-2 when that goaltending change occurred, and Basran’s replacement, James Porter, allowed the first shot he faced to make it 4-0.
It didn’t get any better for Kelowna in the second period, with the Rockets failing to register a single shot through 13 minutes of the middle frame.
The Cougars extended their lead to 5-0 before Mattson got the Rockets on the board in the final minute of the second period.
Prince George made it 6-1 before Foote’s goal, and the host Cougars tacked on one more for good measure to round out the scoring.
The final shots were 37-20 for P.G., which led by as many as 25-6 in the second period.
ICE CHIPS: Kelowna scratched LW Erik Gardiner (upper-body, did not travel to P.G.), RD Libor Zabransky (healthy) and RD Matt Barberis (trade deadline acquisition, to debut next weekend).