Saturday, September 22, 2007

Game Notes vs. Americans

Rockets vs. Americans
Saturday September 22, 2007
Game Time ‑ 7:00pm

Tonight’s Preview: Welcome to the 2007-2008 season. The Rockets and Americans are meeting for the first of just four times this season. After tonight the Rockets will battle the Americans in Kennewick on November 21st. Following that game, the two teams won’t see each other until the final two weeks of the regular season when the Americans make their final visit to Kelowna on March 8th. The Rockets return the favor on March 14th to close out the regular season. Last season, the Americans spoiled the Rockets home opener with a 3-1 win. The Rockets were 0-4 against the Am’s last season, including back-to-back shutouts in Tri City by scores of 4-0 and 5-0. In the only other meeting last season, the Americans used a Colton Yellow Horn goal in overtime in a 4-3 victory. The Rockets are 4-5 with one tie in their last 10 season opening games.

Breaking Down the Schedule: The Rockets open the season playing four of their first seven games on the road. After hosting the Americans tonight and the Vancouver Giants on Wednesday, the Rockets play four of their next five games on opposition ice. The only home game over that period is October 5th against Seattle.

Tonight’s Notables: Tysen Dowzak is two games shy of 100 for his career. Tonight Dowzak plays in game 99. Cody Almond is 9 games shy of 100 for his career. Colin Joe has the most games under his belt of anyone in the Rockets lineup. Joe is playing in career game number 181 tonight. James McEwan is a close second with 171 games in the WHL and enters tonight’s game with 447 career penalty minutes. Justin Bernhardt is playing in career game 170 tonight. Bernhardt has 93 career points.

Pre-Season Highlights: The Rockets record was 2 and 5 during the exhibition schedule with wins over Chilliwack (3-0) and Vancouver (6-3). The Rockets suffered losses to Edmonton (4-3), Swift Current (6-1), Regina (3-2) and Kamloops (3-1). The Rockets also were shutout 2-0 by the Vancouver Giants.

Wet Behind the Ears: The Rockets enter this season with 25 players on their roster. Of those 25, only 6 are rookies. Last season the Rockets had 8 new faces. The Rockets return 18 players from last year’s team. The Rockets have 3-20 year olds – 4-19 year-olds, 8-18 year olds – 6-17 year olds and 4-16 year olds.

Taste of the NHL: The Rockets had 4 players attend an NHL camp this fall. Cody Almond attended the camp of the Minnesota Wild after being drafted in the 5th round. Torrie Jung attended the Tampa Bay Lightning camp after being drafted this summer in the 7th round. Milan Kytnar was in Edmonton after the Oilers selected him in the 5th round. Rockets defenseman Tysen Dowzak received a free-agent tryout with Philadelpha.

Familiar Faces No More: The Rockets said farewell to just four faces from last years team. Captain Chris Ray is playing with the University of Waterloo. Twenty-year-old Clayton Barthel received a free-agent tryout with the New York Rangers. Brett Breitkruez was selected in the WHL expansion draft by Edmonton, and overage defenseman David Schulz has elected to play pro hockey in the East Coast League. Jeff Truitt also left the team as head coach to pursue a pro opportunity with the Oilers AHL affiliate.

Back Looking for Better Numbers: The Rockets return four of their top five goal scorers from last season. Cody Almond led the way with 15+28=43, 6 points better than Justin Bernhardt. Chris Ray led the Rockets last season with 19 goals. Almond and Bernhardt had 15 goals apiece followed by Myles MacRae with 14. Almond led the team in assists with 28, one better than Luke Schenn’s 27. The Rockets had only two players reach the 100 or more penalty minute total. James McEwan had 202 followed by Schenn’s 139. McEwan had 26 fighting majors last season.

Rockets History: The Kelowna Rockets enter their 17th season in the WHL. The Rockets are celebrating its 13th year in Kelowna, after spending 4 years in Tacoma Washington. The franchise has played a total of 1152 games since joining the league in 1991 as an expansion franchise. Tonight’s game is #865 since the team relocated to the Okanagan. The franchise has a total of 577 victories over 16 seasons. The Rockets enter the 2007-2008 campaign having won 45 games or more in 4 of the last five seasons. The team failed to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history last season.

Looking Back @ Last Year:
Last season the Rockets were winless in their first four regular season games. The Rockets managed just one win in their first 9 regular season games.
The Rockets have 4 wins, 5 losses and a tie in their last 10 season opening games.
The Rockets were 22-41-5-4 for 53 points last season, 4 points back of Chilliwack for the final playoff spot in the BC division.
The 22 wins by the Rockets were the 2nd fewest in the WHL last season. Only Portland had fewer with 17.
The teams 41 losses last season tied the Rockets with Moose Jaw and Saskatoon for the second most losses in the WHL. Portland led the way with 52 setbacks.
The Rockets had 16 home wins last season. Portland had a league worst 11.
The Rockets had 6 road wins last season, tied with Portland. The Hawks lost 27 road games last year, the Rockets lost 26 times. On the road the Rockets averaged just 1.8 goals per game.
The Rockets power play was dead last at 12.4%. The Rockets scored a league low 57 power play goals.
The Rockets scored 156 goals last season, the 2nd fewest in the WHL behind Portland's 146.
The Rockets allowed 245 goals last season - 6th worst in the league. Portland (316), Moose jaw (271), PA (266), Leth (265), Chilliwack (260).
The Rockets longest winning streak of the season last year was 4 games. The Rockets longest winless streak was 12 games on the road, from January 5th to February 25th.

Rockets Schedule - Next 5 Games: Rockets Results - Last 5 Games:

Sept 26 vs. Vancouver
Sept 28 @ Everett
Sept 29 @ Vancouver
Oct 5th vs. Seattle
Oct 6th @ Seattle

Rockets Players by Province: BC=11 US=5 ALB=4 SASK=3 MAN=1 EURO=1 Total=25

Rockets Season Highs and Lows:

Most Goals Scored:
Most Goals Allowed:
Most Power Play Chances:
Most Power Play Goals Scored:
Most Power Play Goals Allowed:
Most Shots Taken:
Most Shot Allowed:
Fewest Shots on Goal Taken:
Last Shutout:
Last Time Shutout:

NHL Draft Picks-Training Camp Attendees: Torrie Jung (Tampa Bay 07), Cody Almond (Minnesota 07), Tysen Dowzak (Tryout Philadelphia).

Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel (AM 1150)

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