|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets wrap up a four game home stand tonight when they welcome the Calgary Hitmen to Prospera Place. This is the second and final meeting of the season between these two teams. The Rockets were a 6-2 winner in Calgary back on December 17th. It also marks the return of Jake Kryski, who was traded by the Rockets to the Hitmen at the trade deadline for Carsen Twarynski and a conditional third round pick. Nick Merkley had 1+2=3 in a 5-4 loss Saturday night to the visiting Portland Winterhawks. Kyle Topping and Gordie Ballhorn also scored in the teams’ 19th loss of the season. The Rockets have 23 games left in the regular season and will play those games over the next 50 days. The Rockets travel to Prince George for back-to-back games this weekend. In the big picture, the Rockets are 4-7-2-0 in their last 13 games.
January’s Top Performers: Kole Lind led the team with 10 points (2+8=10) in January. Calvin Thurkauf (5+4=9), Tomas Soustal/Nick Merkley (3+6=9) and Lucas Johansen (2+7=9) all had 9 points during the month. The Rockets were 4-5-2-0 in the month, which earned them 10 of an available 22 points in January.
February Fever: The Rockets play 13 games in February. Those 13 games will be played over 26 nights. Seven of those 13 will be played on the road. Also, seven of those 13 will be against teams in the BC Division. Four will be played against teams in the U.S Division. The Rockets play three games in three night’s February 24th (Kamloops), February 25th (Seattle), February 26th (Spokane).
Counting Down: The Kelowna Rockets have 22 games left in the regular season. Of those 22, 13 of them are against BC Division rivals. The Rockets have five more games against Vancouver, four more vs. Prince George and two more against the Kamloops Blazers and Victoria Royals. The team has two more each against US Division Everett, Seattle and Spokane and a single against Tri City. Edmonton and Calgary are the only Central Division teams they face down the stretch.
Dare to Compare: The Rockets had a record of 34-13-3-0 (27-19-4-0 this season) after 50 games last season. The team was 19-3-2-0 (12-9-2-0 this season) on home ice. A season ago the team scored 180 (170 goals scored this season) goals and allowed 141 (154 goals against last season) against. Michael Herringer had played in just 25 games at the 49 game mark last season. Tyson Baillie was the leading scorer with 70 points.
That’s a Fact Jack: The Rockets have generated 30 or more shots in 10 of their last 11 games…Calvin Thurkauf has points in 7 of his last 8 games (5+4=9) over that period…The Rockets have been shorthanded the most times in the entire Canadian Hockey League. The team has been shorthanded 271 times…NHL Central Scouting has released its mid-term rankings. Cal Foote is dated 12th among North American skaters while Kole Lind is ranked 21st…Jack Cowell has 2+4=6 in his last 6 games. It took him 26 games to score his first-two goals of his WHL career……The Rockets have surrendered 5 or more goals 10 times this season. The teams’ record, not surprisingly, is 0-9-1-0 …Calvin Thurkauf has points in 11 of his last 14 games ….11 of the teams last 15 games have been decided by a goal …The Rockets are 16-9-4-0 in their last 29 games and have points in 18 of their last 26 (14-7-4-0).
Broadcasters Bits: Kole Lind hit the 100 point mark for his career last Saturday night with a four point effort. Lind joins Tomas Soustal and Dillon Dube, who both hit the milestone earlier this season. Who’s next? Carsen Twarynski has 91 career points…Calvin Thurkauf will play in his 100th career game tonight against the Hitmen…Michael Herringer is 2 more starts shy of 100 for his career…GM Bruce Hamilton has
traded/released six players from the teams opening day roster…Kole Lind had his 13 game point streak snapped December 18th against the Edmonton Oil Kings. It is the longest point streak by a Rockets player this season …Calvin Thurkauf was named the WHL Player of the Week December 7th to 11th …The Rockets were 8-3-2-0 in December...The Rockets were 6-4-0-0 in 10 games in November after going 8-4-0-0 in 12 games in October…The Rockets are the only team in the WHL that has failed to surrender a shorthanded goal against this season…The Rockets are 9-11-0-0 against BC based teams this season…Michael Herringer has started in 31 of the last 40 games…The Rockets are 8-2-2-0 against U.S Division teams this season.
Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel of AM 1150