Tonight’s Preview: This is the third meeting of the season between the Rockets and the Americans. The Rockets are 0-2-0-0 with both losses coming in Tri City by scores of 5-2 and 4-1. Following tonight’s game the two teams close out the seasonal series January 14th at Prospera Place. The Rockets are coming off a 5-0 shutout win over Kamloops Saturday night. Cody Almond scored three times while Kris Lazaruk made 16 saves for his 4th career shutout. The Rocket fired 39 shots at the Blazer goal while scoring on 1 of 5 power play chances. Jamie Benn and Lucas Bloodoff also scored goals for the Rockets, who snapped a three game losing streak. Following tonight’s game the Rockets are in Prince George for a pair of games this weekend before opening a five game home stand with two games against Chilliwack and single games against Saskatoon, Regina and Swift Current.
Scoring 3 and Feeling Glee: The Rockets are 13-3-0-0 when they score 3 or more goals. The only three games where they’ve scored three or more goals and lost were 5-3 to Vancouver, 8-6 to Everett and 7-3 to Lethbridge. The Rockets are 8-4-0-0 in games where they’ve allow 3 or more goals.
Three Rockets Eligible: NHL Central Scouting has released it’s first list of the Western Hockey League players eligible for this summers draft. Tyson Barrie is rated 8th, Collin Bowman is 22nd and Stepan Novotny is ranked 23rd. The top rated WHL player for the draft is Spokane’s Jared Cowan.
Cody’s Coming Out Party: Cody Almond has 8 – 2 goal games over his career, but registered his first career hat trick Saturday night against Kamloops. Almond now has 19 points in 21 games this season. Almond’s next goal will be his 50th of his career. Almond is playing in his 182nd career game tonight.
Broadcaster Tidbits: The Rockets have scored 88 goals this season. Only Vancouver (103) have scored more goals than the Rockets in the Western Conference…..The Rockets have scored 34 power play goals this season, the third most in the WHL. Only Calgary (37) and Vancouver (35) have scored more times with the extra man…Jamie Benn has scored the most goals in the WHL this season with 20. Benn leads Brandon Kozun of the Calgary Hitmen by just two goals….Rockets defenseman Tyson Barrie is tied with Swift Current’s Eric Doyle for the league lead in points by defenseman with 24. Vancouver’s Jonathon Blum technically averages more points per game from the blue line than Doyle and Barrie. Blum has 23 points but has played in 7 fewer games…Evan Bloodoff has the ability to become the all-time franchise leader in games played, but a few things need to happen. Bloodoff would have to play as a 20 year-old and would have to dress in all 72 regular season games over the next three seasons. That would give Bloodoff 344 games played, 3 more than franchise leader Jason Deleurme…Two of the Rockets three shutouts this season have been on the road. Kris Lazaruk recorded one against Kamloops while Adam Brown turned the trick against the Chilliwack Bruins…The Rockets have two players that have registered hat tricks this season. Cody Almond recorded three goals Saturday against Kamloops while Jamie Benn had three goals November 1st against Lethbridge.
No Shootout/No OT: The Rockets have failed to play a game this season that has gone either to overtime or a shootout. The last overtime game the Rockets were involved in that ended in a decision was December 15/07 in a 3-2 overtime win in Saskatoon. Jamie Benn scored the game winner. The last time the Rockets were involved in a shootout was March 9/08 in a 4-3 shootout win in Chilliwack. Tyson Barrie technically scored the game winning goal in that contest. The Rockets were involved in 11 shootout games last season. Kelowna is joined by Portland and Saskatoon as the only three teams not involved in a shootout this season.
Schedule Maker: The Rockets play 11 more games before Christmas. Six of those games are on home ice. The five road games include dates in Prince George (twice), Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton.
Two Head to A-D-T: Jamie Benn and Tyler Myers have been named to team WHL, which will face the Russians in the A-D-T Canada/Russia Challenge next month. Games will be played in Swift Current and Prince Albert Saskatchewan.
Who’s Hot – Who’s Not: Jamie Benn has goals in 8 of his last 10 games. That’s 12 goals over that period. Colin Long has points in 11 of his last 14. Long has 9 goals and 13 assists = 22 pts over that period. Cody Almond has points in twelve of his last seventeen games. Almond has 6+6=12 over that period. Dylan Hood has (1+3=4) in his last three games. Brandon McMillan has not scored in 20 games.