Tonight’s Preview: It’s the 4th and final meeting of the season between the Rockets and Chiefs. The Rockets are 0-3-0-0, having lost all three games by a single goal. The Rockets and Chiefs met February 19th with the Chiefs winning 2-1. The Rockets enter tonight’s game with four wins in their last thirteen games (4-7-0-2). The Rockets have lost 4 of their last 6 games on home ice. The Rockets snapped a 3 game losing streak Sunday with a 3-2 shootout win in Vancouver. Kristofer Westblom was solid making 35 saves in the win, while Cody Almond and Tyson Barrie scored goals in regulation time before Colin Long scored the winner in the shootout. Following tonight’s game the Rockets play back-to-back road games in Seattle Saturday and Portland on Sunday. The Rockets next home game is Wednesday March 5th against Vancouver.
When is Benn Back? How important is Jamie Benn to the Rockets success? When Benn scores the Rockets are 14-5-0-3. Benn's last game was January 26th against the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Rockets are 4-6-0-1 in 11 games without him. Benn could return as early as tonight with a sprained ankle or Saturday against the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Assist Assassin: Colin Long has 92 points. Last year's leading point getter in the WHL - Zach Hamill - had 93 points. It will take far more than 93 points for Long to win the scoring title over Mark Santorelli or Colton Yellow Horn. Long's 66 assists this season is the highest total since Rory McDade had 70 helpers in the 2000-2001 season. Allan Egeland had an impressive 76 assists with the Tacoma Rockets in 1993-94, but it's Marty Flichel that holds the franchise record with 79 assists for the Rockets in 1995-96.
Scoring by Committee: The Rockets have ten players with 10 or more goals this season. Last season the Rockets had just 6 players with ten or more goals. While the Rockets 74 power play goals this season are impressive, the team had a franchise high 117 power play goals during the 202-2003 season. Yes, that power play unit had the best success rate in the WHL that season with 508 power play chances.
Bringing it from the Back End: The Rockets have just 24 goals from the defensive core this season. Last season the Rockets had 22 goals from the back end. Name the two Rockets who have failed to score a goal this season? Tysen Dowzak and Kyle Verdino. Both are defenseman, yet Verdino has played the majority of the season as a forward.
Westy Wonderful: Goaltender Kristofer Westblom has won his last three starts, and has won 10 of his last 13 decisions. Those three losses came against Kamloops (twice) and Lethbridge. Westblom's save percentage in his last four games is .932.
Rockets Tidbits: Colin Long is 5 for 10 (50%) in the shootout this season. Tyson Barrie is 3 for 5 (60%). Cody Almond is 3 for 10 (30%) while Jamie Benn is 2 for 7 (29%) in the shootout…Kristofer Westblom has allowed just 3 goals on 17 attempts by opposition shooters while Torrie Jung has given up 13 goals to 31 shooters…The Rockets have scored a power play goal in 10 of their last 11 games….The Rockets snapped a 6 game winless streak on the road Sunday in Vancouver. The Rockets were (0-5-0-1) over that period…The Rockets are 6-4-0-0 in their last 10 home games…James McEwan is missing his 25th game tonight with a lacerated wrist suffered in a fight in late December against the Vancouver Giants. McEwan is expected to return to the lineup this weekend against Seattle…Torrie Jung has started 11 of the Rockets last 14 games….The Rockets have clinched a playoff spot in the Western Conference for the 16th time in franchise history. The team has missed the playoffs just once in 17 years…The Rockets have 4 road games left, with stops in Chilliwack, Seattle, Portland and Tri City…The Rockets are 4 and 6 in the shootout this season with wins over Edmonton, Seattle and Vancouver (twice). The Rockets have lost shootout games to Kamloops (twice), Moose Jaw (twice), Medicine Hat and Lethbridge. The Rockets have been held to a single goal 4 times at home and 6 times on the road this season. The Rockets have been shutout twice this year.
Who’s Hot-Who’s Not: Colin Long is riding a seven game point streak (3+7=10). Brady Leavold has a six game point streak (3+7=10). Brandon McMillan has one goal in his last 15 games. Tyson Barrie has 3+7=10 in his last 11 games and has 9 points in the month of February. Lucas Bloodoff has points in 6 of his last 9 games (6+2=8). Myles MacRae has 3 goals in his last 17 games and just 2 goals in his last 12. Kyle St. Denis has one goal in his last 10.
Games Played Ticker:
Brady Leavold: 191 Colin Long: 152 Dylan Hood: 102 Tyler Myers: 124
Cody Almond: 151 Brandon McMillan: 117 Myles MacRae: 176
Kyle St. Denis: 59 Evan Bloodoff: 119 Tysen Dowzak: 158
Lucas Bloodoff: 130 Luke Schenn: 180 Colin Joe: 239
Rockets vs. Divisions:
vs. BC: 19-11-0-2 vs. US: 6-7-2-0 vs. Central: 4-2-0-1 vs. East: 5-3-0-2
Rockets Players by Province: BC=12 US=4 ALB=3 SASK=2 MAN=1 EURO=1 Total=23
Rockets Schedule - Next 5 Games: Rockets Results - Last 5 Games:
March 1 @ Seattle Rockets 3 Oil Kings 2 SOW
March 2 @ Portland Rockets 1 Spokane 2 L
March 5 vs. Vancouver Rockets 2 Seattle 5 L
March 8 vs. Tri City Rockets 1 Vancouver 3 L
March 9 @ Chilliwack Rockets 3 Vancouver 2 SOW
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 6-4-0-2 2-1-0-0 4-3-0-2
January: 13 10-2-0-1 8-0-0-0 2-2-0-1
February: 11 3-6-0-1 2-4-0-0 1-2-0-1
Rockets Season Highs and Lows:
Most Goals Scored: 11 @ Prince George Jan 11/08 in an 11-1 win.
Most Goals Allowed: 9 vs. Lethbridge February 1/08 in a 9-4 loss.
Most Power Play Chances: 11 @ Chilliwack Feb 2/08 in a 6-3 loss, @ Swift Current Jan 25/08. The Rockets were 0/11, losing 4-0.
Most Power Play Goals Scored: 4 @ Cougars Jan 11/08 (11-1 W), vs. Cougars Jan 4/08 in a 6-0 win, @ PG Nov 10/07 (6-1 W)
Most Power Play Goals Allowed: 4 @ Vancouver Dec 29/07 (5-2 L), @ Everett Sept 29/07
Most Shots Taken: 41 @ Prince George Jan 12/08 (5-2 W).
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 22 saves vs. Cougars Jan 4/08 in a 6-0 win. Kristofer Westblom 28 saves vs. Calgary (5-0 W)
Last Time Shutout: - @ Swift Current Jan 25/08 – Guggenberger 30 saves (4-0 L)
Most Points by a Player: Jamie Benn had 2+4=6 vs. Prince George Jan 19/08.
Most Goals by a Player: Brady Leavold scored 4 goals vs. Prince George Jan 19/08.
Penalty Shots: Dylan Hood fails to score Feb 16/08 in a 3-2 shootout win vs. Edmonton. Juuso Puustinen fails to score on Torrie Jung Feb 8/08 in a Rockets 2-1 shootout loss to the Blazers. Lucas Bloodoff fails to score on Justin Leclerc in 4-3 loss to Kamloops December 28th. Torrie Jung stops Bruins forward Cody Smuk in a 4-1 win in Chilliwack Dec 31/07. 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: Colin Long scores vs. Giants Feb 24/08 in a 3-2 win. Tyson Barrie scores vs. Edmonton Feb in a 3-2 shootout win. 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, 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: 17.7
Rookies – 7
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)