Rockets' red glare

Matthew Gourlie
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Okanagan lights the lamp 11 times in win

There would be no third period collapse for the Okanagan Rockets Friday.

Tyson Jost, left, and Tanner Wishnowski celebrate Jost's goal for the Okanagan Rockets Friday at the Telus Cup.

In fact, they had the game well in hand and kept their foot on the accelerator.

The Rockets romped to an 11-2 win over the Toronto Young Natioanls to earn a semifinal spot at the Telus Cup.

Thursday, Okanagan blew a 4-1 third period lead against Halifax. They lead 5-1 after two periods Friday and proceeded to score six more goals and out-shot Toronto 24-7 in the final frame.

"Yesterday was a big collapse, but today we wanted to be relentless," said Rockets forward Tyson Jost who had three points. "It didn't sit well in our stomachs after the game and we came out and played our hearts out."

After riding the production of Tanner Wishnowski and Liam Finlay in their early games, the Rockets' had a lot of players break out in their final pool game. Jost, Carter Hikichi, Tanner Campbell and Jake Kryski each scored twice. None of those players had a goal in the first four games.

"We played a full 60 and a lot of guys stepped out and came out of slumps. It was a huge game for us," said Campbell who had four points. "We all hit the scoresheet and we contributed in other ways as well."

After Jost scored he reached over his shoulder and threw the metaphorical monkey off of his back.

"It was awesome getting that monkey off my back. I was in a little bit of a slump, but I had to work through it," said Jost who had an assist in the Rockets opener and then went three games without a point. He had 88 points in 36 regular season games and wasn't used to being held off the scoresheet.

"That is the longest I've gone this year without a point. Honestly, I was getting a little frustrated, but it's great that I got out of it."

Finlay, Linden Hora and Branden Wagner also scored for the Rockets. Wishnowski added four assists and Finlay also had four points.

The Rockets second line also had a big breakout game as they combined for five goals.

"That line of Campbell, Kryski and Wagner is great," said Jost. "They have so much skill. We weren't worried about them. We knew it was a matter of time when the puck would go in for them."

Toronto's Max Routledge had both of their goals.

The Nationals had already clinched a spot in the semifinals, but didn't take the game lightly. They came out strong and out-shot Okanagan 9-2 early in the game, but failed to beat Brendan Barry who returned to the Rockets net.

Barry made 28 saves in the win.

The Nationals' discipline let them down as they gave up three power play goals in the third period and were short-handed seven times in the final. They also were short-handed for a pair of five-on-three power plays.

"Discipline was a factor," said Toronto head coach Brett Punchard. "Trust me, I'm a school teacher, discipline is huge. There's rules in place. I don't care what the score is, it should never get out of hand."

The smaller Rockets were more than happy to turn the other cheek and pad their power play stats in the third period.

"We kept our composure and let them get themselves into trouble," said Campbell. "If we keep playing like this, I think we have a chance here."

Oliver Jacobs started his second straight game for the Nationals. He was pulled for Izzy Benigno and returned to the net in third. Jacobs stopped 23 of the 31 shots he faced and Benigno stopped 18 of the 21 shots he faced.

The Nationals will face the Grenadiers de Châteauguay (6 p.m., Mosaic Place) in one semifinal, while the Rockets will meet the Prince Albert Mintos (2 p.m., Mosaic Place) in the other semi today.

Organizations: Toronto Young Natioanls, Telus Cup.Thursday

Geographic location: Okanagan, Toronto

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