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Kelowna Rockets close out the pre season schedule losing 4-2 to Victoria

Book closed on pre season

The Kelowna Rockets closed the book on the exhibition season Saturday night, suffering a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the visiting Victoria Royals.

The Rockets finished the pre season with a 1-3 record, including back-to-back losses this weekend on home ice.

Keaton Verhoeff with his first of two and Alex Edwards scored in the first five minutes to send the Royals on their way.

Max Graham scored both goals for the Rocket, both on the power play.

His second, a one-time from the slot, pulled the Rockets to within a goal, but despite some chances, were unable to find the equalizer.

Verhoeff iced it with a power play goals in the dying seconds.

As is usually the case at this point of the schedule, the Rockets are unsure who will be available on opening night with five players at NHL camps.

Goaltender Jari Kykkanen, defencemen Caden Price and Jackson Desouza plus forwards Andrew Cristall and Gabriel Szturc are all at NHL camps, meaning the team will most assuredly start the season with a younger and more inexperienced team.

Having less than a full complement of players at camp and over the course of the regular season has made it difficult at times to fully evaluate where the group is as a team.

"We haven't had a full lineup throughout so it's been tough. In practice we're challenging our players to be better, working them extremely hard and the game is their time to shine," said head coach Kris Mallette.

"Is there some inconsistencies, absolutely, but tonight I think the guys that were in the lineup worked extremely hard because I challenged them that this was something they had to do."

Mallette called it a work in progress as he gets the group moving toward the start of the regular season.

The game begin to matter next Saturday when they kick off the season against the Portland Winterhawks.



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