The Kelowna Rockets let a chance to pull closer to the Vancouver Giants slip through their fingers Wednesday night.
The Rockets, battling the Giants for seventh in the Western Conference, dropped a key 6-3 decision to the Cougars in Prince George.
Kelowna remains three points behind the Giants with just four games left in the regular season. Vancouver holds two games in hand and need a combination of wins or Kelowna losses totalling three to relegate the Rockets to eighth and a first round playoff date with the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Gabriel Szturc and Adam Kydd both on the power play and Ethan Mittelsteadt at even strength scored for the Rockets who trailed 2-1 after one and 5-2 after two.
Trailing 1-0 in the third Andrew Cristall laid out a perfect pass for Szturc in the left circle who sent a one-timer past Cougars netminder Tyler Brennan.
Down two early in the second, Szturc, on another power play faked the backdoor one-timer and instead sent a slap pass to Kydd who deflected home his 20th from the top of the crease.
It's as close as the Rockets would get.
Goals 67 seconds apart just past the midway point of the second pushed the lead to 5-2 before Koehn Ziemmer brought to lead to four near the midway point of the third.
Mittelsteadt closed out the scoring sending a wrist shot past Brennan off a nifty drop pass from Ty Hurley.
Chase Wheatcroft had two goals and three assists to lead the way for the Cougars.
Kelowna finished the night two for five with the man advantage while staying out of the box themselves and denying the Cougars any opportunities on the power play.
The Rockets were able to dress just 16 skaters for the game including 10 forwards. Carson Golder was out of the lineup serving the third game of a four game suspension while both Max Graham and Tre Johnson were unavailable.
Kelowna will look to get back into the win column Friday night in Kamloops.
They'll host the Blazers Saturday.
The Giants meantime have a busy three game weekend, hosting the Silvertips Friday before travelling to Everett Saturday and Tri-City Sunday.