Kelowna Rockets win 8th straight over Victoria, edging Royals 4-3 Wednesday

Late goal lifts Rockets

Jake Lee snapped a 3-3 tie with less than two-minutes left in regulation time, lifting the Kelowna Rockets to a 4-3 win over the Victoria Royals Wednesday.

The goal, Lee's third game winner of the season, allowed the Rockets to leave the provincial capital with back-to-back wins, while earning them their eighth straight win over the Royals.

Lee took a pass from Colton Dach inside the Royals blueline, deked a defender,moved to the slot and beat Tyler Palmer five-hole.

After a scoreless first, the Rockets took control in the middle frame.

Andrew Cristall struck first, beating a defenceman wide on a one-on-one break before beating Palmer between the wickets with a backhand from the right circle.

Mark Liwiski doubled the lead with his second in as many night minutes later. Off the rush on the left wing, Liwiski slid to the centre of the ice and rifled a wrist shot in off the near post.

After the Royals cut the deficit in half, John Babcock restored the two-goal lead with his first career goal, and one of the strangest he'll likely ever score.

Off a faceoff in the neutral zone, Babcock rimmed the puck around the boards, it hit a stanchion or part of the dasher, ricocheted off an unsuspecting Palmer and into the net.

Bailey Peach and Matthew Hodson brought the Royals even in the third before Lee's late game heroics secured the one-goal victory.

Rookie Jari Kykkanen turned aside 21 shots to earn his first career WHL victory in his first start.

Wednesday's win was the Rockets 20th of the season as they hit the halfway point of the regular season.

Their 44 points are second in the BC Division, seven behind Kamloops with three games in hand.

The Rockets are in Vancouver Friday before hosting the Giants back at Prospera Place Saturday.

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