Rockets squash Hitmen spirit

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:22 AM ET

The Kelowna Rockets’ logo features a picture of Okanagan Lake monster Ogo Pogo.

Friday night, they could have substituted another fictitious villain. The Grinch.

The Rockets ruined the Calgary Hitmen’s Christmas party by pounding the home side 5-1 at the Saddledome.

Hitmen bench boss Mike Williamson

“I didn’t think we were very good at all in the first period,” Williamson said. “We knew Kelowna was all about coming in and working hard.

“We started to (work) in the second period, but we dug ourselves a hole, and we didn’t get that 60 minutes out of anybody.”

Shane McColgan potted a pair, while Brett Bulmer, Geordie Wudrick and former Hitmen blueliner Zak Stebner also lit the lamp for the visitors.

Brendan Santini, with his first career WHL marker, was the lone blemish on the night for Kelowna starter Adam Brown.

Brandon Glover made 23 saves in the loss.

The Hitmen won’t return to the ice until Dec. 28 against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors, and captain Matt MacKenzie said the Christmas break might help the players refocus after a frustrating three months.

“When the team’s not doing as well as you want, especially when you’re one of the leaders, it’s tough mentally,” MacKenzie said.

“The eight days will be a nice break, but it would have been a lot better going into it with two points.”

The Hitmen (10-23-2) fell four points behind the Regina Pats in the race to avoid last place in the WHL.

Calgary sits nine points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

McColgan gave the Rockets an early lead when he gloved down a chest-high pass from Bulmer at centre and skated in on a breakaway.

The American sniper beat Glover over the glove for his ninth of the season.

Bulmer crushed a one-timer low to the stick side to give the visitors, who dominated the opening frame, a 2-0 lead.

McColgan thought he had his second of the night before the period was out, but after video review, it was ruled he gloved the puck into the net.

Santini got credit for his first WHL goal on a weird bounce 57 seconds into the middle stanza.

Justin Kirsch centred a hard pass on the powerplay that went off the Calgary product’s skate, off a Rockets defender, and bounced over Brown into the net.

The Rockets answered later in the period when Bulmer showed great patience before feeding a pinching Stebner at the far post.

The goal for Stebner, who was part of last spring’s Hitmen squad that won the WHL championship, was his second of the season.

Wudrick put the game out of reach in the third period on a nice individual effort before McColgan scored on a scramble to round out the scoring.

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca


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