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Rockets look to avenge loss with trip to Portland

Saturday, February 20th, 2010 | 2:00 pm

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Rockets defenceman Tyson Barrie will lead Kelowna against Portland tonight. (Photo contributed)

By Pieter Uni

The Rockets will look to shake off a disappointing 4-1 loss last night to Calgary when Kelowna meet Portland in a battle between Western Conference rivals.

For Kelowna, who now have just 11 games remaining in the regular season, a win tonight would solidify their hold on the sixth playoff spot in the Western Conference, while a loss would drop the team 16 points off the pace of fifth place Portland.

The 4-1 loss to Calgary was the Rockets second in a row and their third defeat in their last four games, while the Winterhawks enter the game losers of two straight following a 5-2 loss to Everett Wednesday evening.

For Rockets goalie Mark Guggenberger, tonight’s contest will give his team a chance to move on from last night’s disappointing loss.

“We just have to look in the mirror and put in a better effort,” he said following the loss to the Hitmen. “I think we will do that, going to Portland will be another tough game but I think we will rise to the challenge.”

The two teams have met three times this season, with Portland winning all three contests, including a 5-4 shootout decision Jan. 15.

Kelowna will look to defenceman Tyson Barrie to lead the charge against Portland tonight. By scoring the only goal for the Rockets last night, the Victoria native now leads Kelowna in scoring with 63 points. The Winterhawks will counter Barrie with a star of their own. Forward Chris Francis currently sits in ninth in league scoring, notching 26 goals and 51 assists for 77 points in 62 appearances for Portland.

Tonight’s game in Portland marks the first of a five-game road trip that will see the Rockets visit Seattle Sunday, Lethbridge Wednesday, Edmonton Friday and Calgary Saturday.

sports@kelowna.com

250-863-8049

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