Thursday, February 2, 2017

Rockets vs. Cougars preview

Ty Edmonds - Shoot the Breeze
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets open a three game road trip tonight against the Prince George Cougars. This is the 5th of 8 meetings between these two teams this season. The Rockets are 0-4-0-0 against their BC Division rivals, having been out-scored 13-4 in the four games. The Rockets are coming off an 8-2 win Wednesday night over the Calgary Hitmen. Nick Merkley, Dillon Dube and Calvin Thurkauf each had 2+2=4 in the win while Devante Stephens and Nolan Foote added singles. The Rockets were 3 for 4 on the power play and fired 41 shots at the Hitmen net. The Rockets have 21 games left in the regular season and will play those games over the next 48 days. The Rockets play back-to-back games in Prince George this weekend before traveling to Kamloops to face the Blazers on Wednesday night. In the big picture, the Rockets are 5-7-2-0 in their last 14 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 night’s. 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 21 games left in the regular season. Of those 21, 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 is the only Central Division team they face down the stretch.

Dare to Compare: The Rockets had a record of 35-13-3-0 (28-19-4-0 this season) after 51 games last season. The team was 20-3-2-0 (13-9-2-0 this season) on home ice. A season ago the team scored 182 (178 goals scored this season) goals and allowed 142 (156 goals against last season) against. Michael Herringer had played in just 27 games at the 51 game mark last season. Tyson Baillie was the leading scorer with 70 points.

That’s a Fact Jack: Nick Merkley has 9 (3+6=9) points in his last three games…The Rockets have generated 30 or more shots in 11 of their last 12 gamesCalvin Thurkauf has points in 8 of his last 9 games (7+6=13) over that periodThe Rockets have been shorthanded the most times in the entire Canadian Hockey League. The team has been shorthanded 275 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 7 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 12 of his last 15 games ….11 of the teams last 16 games have been decided by a goal …The Rockets are 17-9-4-0 in their last 30 games and have points in 19 of their last 27 (15-7-4-0).

Broadcasters Bits: Calvin Thurkauf played in his 100th career game Wednesday night against the Hitmen…Michael Herringer’s next start will be the 100th of 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 seasonMichael Herringer has started in 32 of the last 41 games…The Rockets are 8-2-2-0 against U.S Division teams this season.

Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel of AM 1150

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