Jordon Cooke stopped all 31 shots he faced as the Kelowna Rockets blanked the Vancouver Giants 6-0 at Prospera Place in the first of a home-and-home set between the two clubs on Friday night. Nick Merkley scored twice for the Rockets in the win while Kelowna also got goals from Myles Bell, Mitch Wheaton, Tyrell Goulbourne and Madison Bowey.
The Giants had the majority of the shots in the first period but couldn't generate any high quality scoring chances around Cooke's net. Merkley opened the scoring for the home team moments after missing a one-timer in front when he re-directed a Damon Severson point shot past the right pad of Payton Lee that snuck just inside the left post.
Vancouver nearly tied the game after a goal-mouth scramble in the middle frame that nearly saw Thomas Foster find the net, but Cooke stood tall, and the Rockets doubled their lead a few moments later when Bell netted his team-leading 41st goal of the season, banking the puck off the back of Lee's legs and into the net from below the goal-line.
Kelowna blew the doors off the game with four goals in the third period. Wheaton beat Lee with a long point shot that changed directed a couple of times before rippling the mesh. Merkley chipped in again with his second of the night before Goulbourne snuck one across the line from the left circle, and Bowey completed the Rockets' scoring party on a long shot that Lee never saw.
Vancouver went 0-for-4 on the White Spot Power Play while the Rockets were 1-for-2. Kelowna out shot Vancouver 35-31. The two teams will meet again on Saturday evening at the Pacific Coliseum. Puck drop is set for 7:00pm. For tickets, call 604-4-GIANTS or visit vancouvergiants.com.
1. Jordon Cooke - Kelowna
2. Nick Merkley - Kelowna
3. Damon Severson - Kelowna