Rocket prospects shine

The Kelowna Rockets split a pair of Western Hockey League exhibition games on the weekend.

The Kelowna Rockets split a pair of Western Hockey League exhibition games on the weekend.

It was the start of a six-game WHL exhibition schedule for the Rockets, who will play in a mini-tournament in Delta this weekend, playing B.C. Division rivals Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals.

On Saturday, the Rockets held its annual season ticket holder barbecue before opening up with a 5-0 win over Kamloops Blazers, a shutout for Jackson Whistle, who then left to attend the Young Stars event in Penticton with the Vancouver Canucks.

Five different Rockets hit the scoresheet as returnees Riley Stadel, Dalton Yorke, Cole Linaker and Joe Gatenby scored, along with prospect Jordan Borstmayer.

Kris Schmidli and Austin Glover chipped in with two helpers apiece.

On Sunday in Vancouver, the Rockets and Giants were tied 1-1 after two periods of play before the wheels came off and Vancouver scored five times in the third, to win 6-1.

European import Tomas Soustal scored for the Rockets. A native of the Czech Republic, Soustal was playing his first game as a Rocket after being chosen in the CHL import draft.

Jake Morrissey and Christopher Tai split goaltending duties for the Rockets.

First-year head coach Dan Lambert, who was joined by assistant Kris Mallette, an associate coach with the BCHL Vernon Vipers last year, on the bench and Travis Crickard in the press box, said it was a good weekend of preparation after training camp.

“It was a good weekend for us to see some of our young guys play against other teams,” said Lambert.

“Sunday, things happened a little quicker and we got ourselves in trouble in the third period but nothing we can’t work on.”

Kelowna has one remaining home exhibition as it will host the Royals on Saturday Sept. 13 before opening the WHL regular season at home on Sept. 20 against Kamloops.

Rockets’ GM Bruce Hamilton said the team was very happy with this year’s training camp.

“It’s been a great camp, we’re really happy with the young guys and our veterans have been excellent,” said Hamilton.

Drafted players Tyrell Goulbourne (Philadephia), Madison Bowey (Washington), Mitchell Wheaton (Detroit), Rourke Chartier (San Jose) and Justin Kirkland (Nashville) along with invited players Tyson Baillie (San Jose), Jackson Whistle (Vancouver) and Dalton Yorke (San Jose) will all be leaving the Rockets to attend NHL camps in September.