Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Raiders are meeting for the one and only time this season. The Rockets last visit to the Art Hauser Centre was October 14, 2005 in a 6-4 win. The Rockets are 5-3-0-0 in their last 8 games in Prince Albert dating back to the start of the 1996-97 season. The Rockets last shutout the Raiders at home on December 18, 1999 in a 1-0 win. Tonight’s game is the 5th of 6 straight on the road for the Rockets through the Eastern Conference. The Rockets are 1-1-0-2 in the first four games, with all four games being decided by just a single goal. The Rockets snapped a five game losing streak on the road Wednesday night with a 5-4 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings. Colin Long (2+3=5) and Jamie Benn (2+2=4) led the Rockets attack. The Rockets officially hit the half way point of the season tonight with 18 wins, and sit 4 points up on Chilliwack for second place in the BC division. The Rockets close out the road trip tomorrow night in Saskatoon. Following the Christmas break the Rockets play 5 of their next 7 games on home ice.
Schenn-sational: Rockets defenseman Luke Schenn has been named to Team Canada’s roster for the World Junior Hockey Championships. Schenn is the first Rocket to be named to the team since Blake Comeau was named in 2006. Schenn is eligible for this summers NHL draft.
Long and Short of It: Rockets forward Colin Long is 3rd in league scoring with 50 points. Long is tied with Spokane’s Mitch Wahl for the league lead in assists with 32. Long has scored 22 more points than he did all of last season. Long was a -29 last season. This season the 18 year-old is +18, or a difference of +47 from a year ago. Long’s 50 points surpasses Cody Almond’s team leading 48 points from last season.
Big Benn Rings Again: Rockets rookie forward Jamie Benn has scored goals in 4 straight games, and has 5 goals in his last four games. Benn has 31 points in 31 games, just one fewer then WHL rookie scoring leader Brayden Schenn. Benn has played one fewer game than Schenn.
Barrie Ain’t Bad: Rockets rookie defenseman Tyson Barrie is on pace to register 50 points this season. Duncan Keith played just 37 games with the Rockets in 2002-2003, but racked up 46 points. Had he played in all 72 games, Keith was on pace to score 90 points as a defenseman. Rockets rearguard Tomas Slovak scored an amazing 18 goals and 53 points, which was good for 71 points in 2002-2003.
Red Hot Rockets:
Colin Long: Long has points in 9 of his last 10 games (8+11=19). Long has multiple point games in five of his last 7 games. Long has 12 goals in his last 16 games.
Tyson Barrie: 1+7=8 last 9 games
Cody Almond: Fifteen games no goal. Last goal was Nov 7th vs. Rebels. No points last 7 games.
Jamie Benn: goals in four straight games.
Luke Schenn: 1+4=5 in last five games.
Brady Leavold: 2+4=6 in last 6 games. Lucas Bloodoff: No goal last 9.
What the Opposition Broadcaster Should Know:
• Rockets Captain James McEwan is closing in on 200 games played. McEwan plays in game #198 tonight. McEwan led the WHL in fighting majors last season with 26. This year McEwan has 8 fighting majors, including four in his last 7 games.
• The Rockets have just two Saskatchewan born players on their roster. Overage goaltender Kristofer Westblom is from Meadow Lake Saskatchewan while defenseman Luke Schenn is from Saskatoon Saskatchewan.
• The Rockets have scored the second most goals in the Western Conference (119). Only Spokane has scored more goals (121). Brandon leads the league with 124 goals scored. The Rockets are 37 goals shy of matching their goal total from all of last season.
• The Rockets have 18 wins this season, just four shy of the 22 they recorded all of last season. The Rockets have 9 road wins, 3 more than all of last season. The Rockets have scored 59 goals on the road this season, just 6 shy of the 65 they scored all of last season on opposition ice.
• The Kelowna Rockets franchise is closing in on 600 wins as a franchise. The Rockets have 595 wins heading into tonight’s game. The Rockets are in their 17th season of operation, after breaking into the league as an expansion franchise in 1991 as the Tacoma Rockets.
Road Trip Success: The Rockets last visit to the prairies for an extended road trip was in October of 2005 when the team went 5-0-0-0. It’s not the first time the Rockets have had that type of success though. The Rockets were also 5-0-0-0 back in December of 2003 and again were 5-0-0-0 in December of 2000 through the prairies. The most unsuccessful trip was in December of 2001 when the team went 0-4-1-0, losing three of those games by a single goal. The only point on the trip was a 5-4 overtime loss in Brandon.
Rockets vs. Divisions:
vs. BC: 9-5-0-1 vs. US: 4-5-2-0
vs. Central: 3-1-0-0 vs. East: 2-1-0-2
Broadcasters Bits: The Rockets have been held to a goal or less in 7 games this season….Last season the Rockets were shutout 13 times. This season they’ve been shutout just once, by Vancouver in a 5-0 setback September 29th…The Rockets have points in ten of their last 13 road games (6-3-1-3)…The Rockets have given up a power play goal in 24 of the 35 games they’ve played this season…The Rockets have been involved in a one goal game in 11 of their first 16 home games. The Rockets are 5-4-1-1 in those one goal contests…The Rockets have been involved in twenty – one goal games this season…The Rockets are 8 and 11 in the shootout since it was adopted…The Rockets have just one loss in their last 7 home games (6-1-0-0). That one loss came at the hands of the Prince George Cougars in a 4-3 setback November 24th.
Rockets Schedule - Next 5 Games: Rockets Results - Last 5 Games:
Dec 15 @ Saskatoon Rockets 4 Tigers 3 OTW
Dec 28 vs. Kamloops Rockets 2 Lethbridge 3 SOL
Dec 29 @ Vancouver Rockets 3 Regina 4 L
Dec 31 @ Chilliwack Rockets 2 Moose Jaw 3 SOL
Jan 2 vs. Giants Rockets 5 Brandon 4 W
Rockets Players by Province: BC=13 US=4 ALB=3 SASK=2 MAN=1 EURO=1 Total=24
Rockets Season Highs and Lows:
Most Goals Scored: 7 vs. Kamloops Nov 30/07 (7-4 W), vs. Kootenay November 23/07 (7-6 OTW)
Most Goals Allowed: 6 vs. Kootenay Nov 23/07 (7-6 OTW), @ Tri City November 21/07 (6-1 L)
Most Power Play Chances: 9 @ PG Nov 10/07 (6-1 W – 4/9) vs. Warriors Oct 27/07. Rockets were 0/9 losing 4-3 in shootout.
Most Power Play Goals Scored: 4 @ PG Nov 10/07 (6-1 W)
Most Power Play Goals Allowed: 4 @ Everett Sept 29/07
Most Shots Taken: 38 vs. Kamloops Nov 30/07 (7-4 W), @ Portland Nov 17/07 (Rockets 4 Hawks 1)
Fewest Shots Taken: 9 @ Vancouver Sept 29/07 (5-0L)
Most Shot Allowed: 48 @ Vancouver Sept 30/07
Fewest Shots Allowed: 13 vs. Blazers Oct 30/07 (6-1 W)
Last Shutout: - Kristofer Westblom 28 saves vs. Calgary (5-0 W)
Last Time Shutout: - @ Vancouver Sept 29/07 – Sexsmith 9 saves (5-0 L)
Penalty Shots: Torrie Jung stops Hawks forward Luke Walker Nov 17/07 in a 4-1 win in Portland. Kristofer Westblom stops Everett’s Shane Harper in a 3-2 overtime loss Nov 16/07 in Everett. Torrie Jung stopped Michal Repik in the 3rd period of a 5-0 loss Sept 29/07.
Overtime Winning Goal: Tyler Myers scored at 3:58 of overtime December 5/07 in a 4-3 win over Medicine Hat. Colin Long scored at :44 of overtime Nov 23/07 in a 7-6 win over Kootenay. Jamie Benn scored at 1:07 of overtime Nov 2/07 in a 3-2 win over Chilliwack.
Shootout Game Winning Goals: Dylan Hood scores in a 4-3 win in Seattle October 6/07. Colin Long scored the game winner in a 2-1 win over Vancouver October 24th.
Player total: 24
Year by Year Breakdown:
20’s – 3 Westblom, McEwan, Leavold
19’s – 3 Dowzak, MacRae, Joe
18’s – 8 Long, Kytnar, Brusciano, L. Bloodoff, Jung, Schenn, Almond, Benn
17’s – 6 St. Denis, E. Bloodoff, McIntosh, Myers, McMillan, Hood
16’s – 4 Bowman, Barrie, Paradis, Verdino
Average Age: 17.8
Rookies – 7
Record by Month:
Month Games Record Home Road
September: 4 1-2-1-0 0-1-1-0 1-1-0-0
October: 11 5-5-0-1 3-3-0-1 2-2-0-0
November: 13 9-2-1-1 4-1-0-0 5-1-1-1
December: 12 3-2-0-2 2-0-0-0 1-2-0-2
January: 13 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
February: 11 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
NHL Draft Picks-Training Camp Attendees: Jamie Benn (Dallas 07), Torrie Jung (Tampa Bay 07), Cody Almond (Minnesota 07), Milan Kytnar (Oilers 07), Tysen Dowzak (Tryout Philadelphia).
Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel (AM 1150)