Just when it seemed that is was all over, the Kelowna Rockets came alive.
The Rockets picked up a 4-3 overtime win against the Vancouver Giants on Tuesday night at Prospera Place, sparked by an effort in the dying seconds of the game.
With 17 seconds remaining in regulation, Ryan Olsen potted a goal that would force overtime and allow the Rockets to pick up their 20th win of the season.
“Our third period was good,” said Rockets head coach Ryan Huska. “That was the one period I thought we played with some urgency and pace, and a lot of that came from our backend.”
It was defenceman Damon Severson who scored the overtime winner, as he slid to his knee and put an unassisted shot on net.
“We have to get more out of our forwards right now,” said Huska. “They have to play with more urgency and a little more physicality to their game.”
Kelowna’s front end has been led by Tyson Baillie who has eight points – four goals and four assists – in his past 10 games, including a goal and two assists in the win over Vancouver.
“Today felt good,” said 18-year old Baillie. “I felt more confident playing centre, which is my natural position.”
Vancouver was led by Cain Franson, who scored a pair of quick back-to-back goals for the Giants in the second.
Franson -Â the younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Cody Franson – scored his first goal on a shot that trickled through the five hole of Kelowna goalie Jordon Cooke. Less than two minutes later, he recorded his second on the power play.
Colton Heffley buried a backhand for Kelowna that tied the game in the third, before Alec Baer replied for Vancouver with what appeared to be the game winner.
But Olsen gave the Rockets life with his late marker.
“We were fortunate to have a puck bounce our way,” said Huska. “We were able to get it into the zone and then our players did a good job of just getting it to the net.”
Steadfast netminder Cooke picked up his 15th win, and is among the top five in the league in goals against average, save percentage, wins and shutouts.
Tuesday’s game was the first of a three game homestand for the Rockets, who get set to battle Everett – the top team in the Western Conference – on Friday, before suiting up against Kootenay on Saturday.
“We got away with these three wins,” said Baillie. “But our work ethic and our focus has to be better going forward.”
ICE CHIPS: When the Rockets host the Silvertips on Friday night, the team will hold its first Teddy Bear Toss night. Fans are asked to bring a teddy bear to the game and throw it on the ice when Kelowna scores its first goal.