Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Giants are meeting for the 6th time this season. The Rockets are 3-2-0-0 against the Giants, having won the last three meetings between the two clubs. Overall the Giants have out-scored the Rockets 13-12 in the seasonal series. The Rockets are coming off a 3-2 loss to the Kamloops Blazers last night. Jamie Benn scored twice while Colin Long had a goal and two assists in the loss. The Rockets had a 3-2 lead heading into the third period before the Blazers rallied with back-to-back power play goals to earn the win, snapping the Rockets 3 game winning streak. The Rockets enter tonight’s game with points in six of their last eight games (4-2-0-2). Following tonight’s game in Vancouver, and in Chilliwack Monday night, the Rockets open a four game home stand at Prospera Place Wednesday against the Giants.
Cream of the Crop: Rockets forward Jamie Benn now leads the WHL in points by a rookie. Benn had two goals in last night’s loss to the Blazers, giving him a one point lead on Brandon Wheat Kings forward Brayden Schenn. Benn’s line-mate Colin Long had a three point effort last night, moving him within three points of Chilliwack’s Mark Santorelli for the WHL points lead.
Big Mac: Rockets captain James McEwan plays in his 200th WHL game tonight. McEwan began his career with the Seattle Thunderbirds in the 2004-2005 season. McEwan came to the Rockets for the start of the 2006-2007 season and has played a total of 96 games in a Rockets uniform. Teammate Tyler Myers played in his 100th WHL game last night against the Blazers.
A Nice Return: Rockets rookie forward Kyle St. Denis returned to the lineup last night after missing 8 games with a concussion. Prior to St. Denis being injured against the Portland Winter Hawks December 1st, the Trail BC resident had a 6 game point streak (2+5=7).
Cody’s Post Christmas Transformation: The Rockets are hoping forward Cody Almond follows a similar path this season as he did in 2006-2007. Last season Almond had just 5 goals in the first half of the season before scoring 10 goals after the Christmas break. Almond started the second half strong, collecting 2 assists in last night’s loss to the Blazers.
What a Difference a Year Makes: Colin Long has 28 more points than he had all of last season. Brandon McMillan has 13 more points than he did all of last season. Evan Bloodoff has 6 more points than he had a year ago.
Nerves of Steel: The Rockets have played in a league high 24-one goal games this season. The Rockets have played in a one goal game in 8 straight.
Big Benn: Rockets forward Jamie Benn was named the WHL Player of the Week for December 10th through to the 16th. Benn picked up seven points in four games. He scored four goals, three assists and was plus four, helping the Rockets to a 3-0-0-1 record in that span.
Tyson Time: Defenseman Tyson Barrie has been selected to represent Team Pacific at this year's World U17 Hockey Challenge. This year's squad, comprised of the top 22 U17 aged athletes from Alberta and British Columbia, will compete in London, Ontario at the World U17 Hockey Challenge from December 27 - January 4. This is the unofficial world championship for this age level and the first stage for Hockey Canada to identify players for the National U18 Team and the World Junior Team. Barrie is expected to miss 5 games during his participation at the tournament.
Red Hot Rockets:
Colin Long: Long has points in 12 of his last 13 games (10+15=25). Long has multiple point games in seven of his last 10 games. Long has 14 goals in his last 19 games.
Tyson Barrie: 1+7=8 last 11 games
Cody Almond: has 1+2=3 in his last two games.
Jamie Benn: goals in six of his last 7 games. Overall Benn has 8 goals in his last 7 games.
Luke Schenn: 1+4=5 in last five games.
Brady Leavold: 4+5=9 in last 9 games.
Lucas Bloodoff: No goal last 12.
What the Opposition Broadcaster Should Know:
• A few rarities from last night’s loss to the Blazers. The Rockets lost for just the second time this season when leading after 40 minutes. The Rockets also lost for just the second time this season after out-shooting the opposition.
• The Rockets have 20 wins this season, just two shy of the 22 they recorded all of last season. The Rockets have 11 road wins, 5 more than all of last season. The Rockets have scored 65 goals on the road this season, the same number of road goals they scored all of last season.
• The Kelowna Rockets franchise is closing in on 600 wins as a franchise. The Rockets have 597 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.
Rockets vs. Divisions:
vs. BC: 9-6-0-1 vs. US: 4-5-2-0
vs. Central: 3-1-0-0 vs. East: 4-1-0-2
Rockets Schedule - Next 5 Games: Rockets Results - Last 5 Games:
Dec 31 @ Chilliwack Rockets 2 Moose Jaw 3 SOL
Jan 2 vs. Giants Rockets 5 Brandon 4 W
Jan 4 vs. PG Rockets 3 Raiders 2 W
Jan 5 vs. Kamloops Rockets 3 Saskatoon 2 OTW
Jan 9 vs. Chilliwack Rockets 3 Blazers 4 L
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: Jamie Benn scored at 4:59 December 15/07 in a 3-2 win in Saskatoon. 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 5-3-0-2 2-1-0-0 3-2-0-2
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)