Rookie goaltender James Porter stopped all 40 shots he faced as the Kelowna Rockets shutout the Saskatoon Blades 5-0 Saturday night.
Saskatoon had their chances, even outshooting Kelowna 40-25, but time and time again Porter shut the door.
“We had opportunities to score but we have to find ways to execute,” Blades head coach Dean Brockman said. “We weren’t clean with anything anywhere and as a result, we didn’t score a goal.”
On the other side of the ice, mistakes proved costly. While Saskatoon kept the pressure on and felt destined to find a goal, it was the Rockets jumping on every mistake.
“You can’t cheat on pucks or cheat in the defensive zone.”
Ryan Kubic was left hanging despite long stretches without facing any shots. Saskatoon’s veteran goaltender was making his return after missing several games with an injury. He made 20 saves in his first start since November 18.
While not the home team, there were several cheers on Kelowna goals, and when the game’s three stars were read out. Shaunavon, Sask. native Kole Lind had three assists and a fight in front of a traveling contingent of family and friends making the trip during the Rockets’ tour through Saskatchewan.
The Blades won’t have much time to dwell on the loss, hosting Regina Sunday afternoon.
“We didn’t use them (goals) up tonight, you want to win your last one before Christmas and guys are upset so they’ll be ready.”