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Ondrej Becher scored the only goal of the shootout as PG edged the Rockets 6-5

Rockets lose a thriller

Cowabunga dude, that was a wild ride.

On a night when the Rockets rocked Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle themed jerseys they took this one from the depths of the sewers to the icy battlefield of Prospera Place in a heavyweight tilt for the ages.

When the dust settled the Western Conference-leading Prince George Cougars skated away with a 6-5 shootout win over the Kelowna Rockets.

Ondrej Becher scored the only goal of the shootout for the Cougars.

It was a resilient performance for a Rockets team who battled back from 3-1 and 4-2 deficits, only to give up a late power play goal off a questionable hooking call.

But, as they did all night long, the Rockets battled back less than a minute later when Hiroki Gojsic snapped home his second of the night with a gorgeous toe drag and snap shot over the outstretched glove of Joshua Ravensbergen.

"I'm not hanging my head with that group at all. We were down a couple of times and found a way to battle back," said head coach Kris Mallette.

"It's unfortunate, they don't feel great in there but one point out of that considering 3-1, 4-2 and 5-4 with three minutes left to find a way. I'm real happy with the resiliency of that group."

Rockets led early

The Rockets led 1-0 after one when Tij Iginla raced onto a loose puck inside the Prince George blueline, cut to the slot and scored high stick side.

The Cougars vaunted power play took the game over early in the second. Hudson Thornton and Zach Funk with his first of three put the Cougars up by one with power play goals early in the second.

Funk made it 3-1 6:37 into the period but the Rockets battled back.

Iginla with his second and 40th of the season made it 3-2 and, after the Cougars extended the lead once again Max Graham buried a juicy rebound to again pull Kelowna to within a single goal heading into the final period.

Wild final period

Gojsic, who along with linemates Iginla and Michael Cicek combined for nine points, scored his first of two to tie it when he found a loose puck in the crease and knifed it past Ravensbergen.

Fireworks erupted late when Gabriel Szturc was sent off for that dubious hook leading to Funk's third of the game. The goal came when a backdoor pass to the left was deflected off a stick, hit something and caromed to Funk all alone at the side of the crease.

But it was Gojsic whose game has picked up since the new year who brought the Rocket back on even terms just 45 seconds later and send the game to overtime.

"He has played with a lot more confidence. He's a big power forward.

"He is a player that when things are going well for him, it's early and he's feeling it, he's going to be someone who is tough to handle. He's still a young player, a rookie in this league but today was a big step in the right direction."

The Rockets had the better of the chances in the five minute three-on-three overtime period.

Marek Rocak sent a screened shot Ravensbergen appeared to find at the last minute while Andrew Cristall lost the handle on a partial break off the left wing as he attempted to deke to his backhand.

Power play the difference

The Rockets were the better team five-on-five at least on the scoresheet, outscoring the Cougars 5-2. But it was the power play that made the difference.

The Cougars, second in the league in power play percentage coming into the game scored three times with the man advantage to up their league-leading goal total to 71.

"That's an elite power play over there," said Mallette.

"They can manipulate a PK with the best of them and it's tough when you get caught in those kinds of situations. We know we can hang with hose guys five-on-five and that's what I said to those guys five-on-five I had no issues with us playing."

The Rockets, who took three of four on the weekend are off until next weekend when they hiot the road for games with Vancouver Friday and Tri-City Saturday.



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