KELOWNA, British Columbia -- Rookie Connor Rankin scored the game-winner at 6:51 of the third period to help rally the Tri-City Americans to a 4-3 WHL victory over Kelowna before a sold-out crowd of 6,026 on Wednesday at Prospera Place.
"It was a lesson on how tough it is to play on the road," Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said. "We tried to prepare our guys on what to expect. Kelowna played really well, but you have to give the players credit, when it was tough they came through and got the points."
Patrick Holland scored twice for the Americans, who are 3-0-0-0 to open the season. Brock Sutherland added three assists and Adam Hughesman accounted for the remaining goal.
The Rockets (0-2-0-0) led 3-2 after the second period, and both teams started the third with several players in the penalty box for 10-minute infractions following a melee with eight seconds left in the second.
"It was really challenging for us, we had a lot of guys in the box," Hiller said. "We were left with eight forwards and (Tanner) Olstad, (Nils) Moser and (Zach) McPhee gave us good minutes."
Holland scored his second goal of the night at 4:53 of the third on a setup by Brendan Shinnimin to tie the game, and Rankin followed two minutes later with his first WHL goal on a 2-on-1 with Kruise Reddick.
"That was a big one for sure," Hiller said. "It was a really nice play by Kruise."
Tri-City goalie Drew Owsley finished with 26 saves for his second win, and Shinnimin added a pair of assists.
Evan Bloodoff, Brett Bulmer and Antoine Corbin scored for the Rockets, while Adam Brown finished with 25 saves.
Tri-City will play host to Kelowna on Friday. The Rockets have not won a regular-season game at Toyota Center since Feb. 25, 2006, a span of eight games.