Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets open a four game home stand tonight against the visiting Regina Pats. The Rockets host Saskatoon Wednesday, Prince George Friday and Prince Albert Saturday night. Yes, three of the Rockets’ next four games are against teams in the Eastern Division. This is the one and only meeting of the season between the two. Last season in Regina, Myles Bell scored the game winning goal in overtime lifting the Rockets to a 5-4 win (December 14/2013). In the Pats last appearance at Prospera Place, November 23, 2012, J.T Barnett scored twice in a Rockets 5-1 win. In fact, the Rockets have won 6 straight games against the Pats. The last time Regina earned a win against the defending Western Hockey League regular season champions was December 9, 2007 when the Pats were a 4-3 winner at the then named Agridome. The last Pats win in Kelowna was November 24th, 2006 in a 3-1 victory. Logan Pyett scored the game winning goal. Chris Ray scored the lone goal for the home team while Kristofer Westblom suffered the loss in goal. The Rockets are one of only two teams in the WHL with one regulation loss on home ice. At 9-1-1-0, only Brandon has an equally impressive home record at 10-2-2-0. The Rockets are coming off a 4-1 win in Tri City Wednesday night. The ended a portion of the schedule where the team played 9 of 14 games on the road.
Rourke Roll’n: How good has Rourke Chartier been in the month of November? Are 17 goals good enough for ya? The 18 year-old has 17+10=27 and is almost a shoe-in for the WHL November Player of the Month. Chartier’s 28 goals have been scored 17 games. The 18 year-old has been held goal-less 9 times this season. The Rockets had two 30+ goal scorers last season. Myles Bell had 42 while Ryan Olsen found the back of the net 30 times. By comparison, Bell scored his 30th goal in his 52nd game. Jamie Benn, in 2008-2009, scored 30 goals in 36 games.
World Junior Bound: Congratulations to 18 year-old Kelowna Rockets forward Kris Schmidli, who will participate in the upcoming World Junior Hockey Champions for Switzerland. The Rockets first pick in the CHL European draft two years ago has 5 goals and 12 assists which is good for 17 points in only his second season in the WHL.
Let’s go streaking: Nick Merkley is riding a 12 game point streak (4+17=21) heading into tonight’s game. Here are the longest point streaks by a Rockets player over the years.
Tyson Barrie: 21 games with a point 2009-2010 (5+28=33)
Zach Franko: 13 games with a point 2010-2011 (9+9=18)
Jesse Schultz: 13 games with a point 2002-2003 (15+8=23)
Jamie Benn: 13 games with a point 2008-2009 (15+10=25)
Nick Merkley: 12 games with a point 2014-2015 (present)
Rourke Chartier: 10 games with a point 2014-2015 (15+9=24)
Milestones: Tyson Baillie is 5 assists shy of 100 for his career…Nick Merkley and Kris Schmidli are 6 games shy of 100 for their careers…Riley Stadel is 9 games shy of 150 for his career…Madison Bowey is 7 assists shy of 100 for his career.
Who’s Hot: Jesse Lees has points in 6 of his last 8 games. Lees has 4+7=11 over that period…Tyson Baillie has six goals in his last 7 games and has points in 8 of his last 10…Over that period, the 19 year-old has (8+6=14)...Rourke Chartier has four more goals (28) than he had all of last season. Chartier has goals in 13 of his last 15 games….Nick Merkley has 4+16=20 in his last 12 games…Madison Bowey has been held off the score-sheet 7 times this season.
This and That: Austin Glover has missed 8 straight games with an injury….Nick Merkley is rated as an ‘A’ prospect by NHL Central Scouting for this summer’s draft. Teammate Joe Gatenby and Tomas Soustal are ‘C’ prospect in the November rankings…The Rockets have been held to three goals or less only 6 times this season…. The Rockets have scored 5 or more goals on the road in 10 of their 16 road games this season. Last year they score 5 or more goals 15 times on opposition ice….Nick Merkley has 14 multiple point games….Rourke Chartier has been held off the score-sheet four times this season…The Rockets are an incredible 132-28-7-5 in their last 172 regular season games dating back to the start of the 2012-2013 season….In case you are wondering, the Rockets have not been shutout in 103 consecutive games. The last time the Rockets were held without a goal was March 3, 2013 in a 3-0 loss in Kamloops…