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 Kelowna Rockets

Cougars Secure BC Division Crown in Shootout

February 25, 2024 - Western Hockey League (WHL)
Kelowna Rockets News Release

Prince George Cougars' Carlin Dezainde and Kelowna Rockets' Gabriel Szturc in action
Prince George Cougars' Carlin Dezainde and Kelowna Rockets' Gabriel Szturc in action
(Kelowna Rockets, Credit: Steve Dunsmoor/Kelowna Rockets)

The Prince George Cougars swiped away a shootout victory to lock up the BC Division title for the 2023-24 season on Saturday night at Prospera Place.

Wearing special theme Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles jerseys that are currently up for auction, the Rockets hung around with the high-flying Prince George Cougars in a game that saw ten goals scored between the two. Tied at five through regulation and overtime, the game headed to a shootout where Ondrej Becher scored the lone goal in the skills competition.

The RE/MAX Presents: Nickelodeon Nights for Children's Miracle Network debuted during the 2022-23 WHL Regular Season - a charitable initiative driven by RE/MAX in partnership with Paramount Global, the parent company of global kids and family brand Nickelodeon. The Funds raised through RE/MAX Presents: Nickelodeon Night for Children's Miracle Network will go towards supporting the BC Children's Hospital.


Tij Iginla (39) picked up the puck along the Cougars blueline, charging his way into the attacking zone Iginla threw on the brakes at the right faceoff dot to cut to the slot where he beat JoshuaRavensbergen with the opening goal midway into the first period.

The Cougars power play got to work early in the second frame with a pair of goals. Hudson Thornton (14) unleashed a shot 39 seconds in to tie things up at one before Zac Funk(54) added another strike on the power play before the five-minute mark to push the Cougars ahead. Funk (55) found the back of the net again two minutes later to give Prince George a two-goal lead. Iginla (40) then responded for Kelowna before Riley Heidt (32) pushed back. A trailing Max Graham (11) jumped on Andrew Cristall's rebound to make it a one-goal game heading into the final frame.

Standing in front of the Cougars net, Hiroki Gojsic (16) jammed the puck in to tie the game 4:45 into the third period. With Gabriel Szturc sitting in the box Funk (56) completed the hat trick late in the period to restore the Cougars lead but Gojsic (17) responded seconds late to force overtime.

The Cougars shot first in the shootout. Andrew Cristall (X), Tij Iginla (X) and Gabriel Szturc (X) fired for Kelowna. Ondej Becher (goal ) Terik Parascak (X) and Calin Dezainde (X) were shooters for Prince George.


The Rockets record is now 26-28-3-1

Rockets goaltender Jari Kykkanen stopped 19 of 20 shots fired his way to pick up his 21st win of the season

Prince George was 3/5 with the man advantage, while the Rockets power play went 0/3

The Cougars outshot the Rockets 41-31

It was the second consecutive game between the two that needed a shootout to determine a winner, the Rockets previously picked up a 3-2 shootout victory on January 13 at the CN Centre. This was the seventh of eight meetings between the two this season, with the Cougars leading the season series 5-2. The Rockets host Prince George for the final time this season on March 13.


The Rockets will hit the road to visit Vancouver and Tri-City next weekend.

The next Rockets home game is set for Wednesday, March 2, when the Tri-City Americans will make their final visit of the season to Prospera Place. It will be a Fan First Menu night with $2 hot dogs and $5 beer Lucky Lager. The Fan First Menu is available at all Monday to Wednesday regular season games.

Single Game Tickets for all Rockets games can be purchased:

Online at

By calling Select Your Tickets at 250-762-5050

Or by visiting the Select Your Tickets box office at the Prospera Place box office. The box office is open 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and opens at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday home game days.

Six and twelve game Mini Packs for the Kelowna Rockets season are now on sale through Select Your Tickets.

Images from this story

Prince George Cougars' Carlin Dezainde and Kelowna Rockets' Gabriel Szturc in action
Prince George Cougars' Carlin Dezainde and Kelowna Rockets' Gabriel Szturc in action

(Steve Dunsmoor/Kelowna Rockets)

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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