Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets have won five of their last six games heading into this afternoon’s game against the Edmonton Oil Kings. It’s the first of just two meetings between these two teams this season. The Rockets are in Edmonton December 17th. These two teams met just once last season with the Rockets earning a 3-2 shootout win on February 16/08. Cody Almond and Colin Long scored in regulation time before Tyson Barrie scored the winner in the shootout. Current Oil King goaltender Torrie Jung watched this one from the bench as Kristofer Westblom made 25 saves in the victory. Today’s game is the 5th and final game of a five game home-stand for the Rockets, who are 3-1-0-0 with wins over Lethbridge (3-2), Chilliwack (6-0), Seattle (7-3) and a loss to Brandon (3-2). The Rockets are coming off a 4-3 win last night against the Hurricanes. Jamie Benn scored three times in the win. Cody Almond added a single goal while Adam Brown earned the win in goal making 19 saves. The Rockets were 1/5 on the power play while shutting down the Hurricanes in four chances with the extra man. The Rockets out-shot the Canes 27-22.
Welcome Back T.J: Oil Kings goaltender Torrie Jung makes his first appearance in Kelowna since being traded to the Lethbridge Hurricanes before subsequently being sent to the Oil Kings by the Hurricanes. Jung played 66 games with the Rockets from 2006 to 2008. Jung made his Kelowna Rockets debut September 30/06 in Portland in a 5-2 loss. Jung would earn his first WHL win November 11/06 in a 3-2 win in Prince Goerge. Jung’s first career shutout came February 7/07 in a 4-0 win over Portland.
Kruiser Comes Back: Former Rockets forward Brent Breitkreuz is having a solid 19 year-old season with the Oil Kings. The Rockets 2nd round bantam pick from the 2004 draft has 21 points in 18 games this season. Breitkreuz is playing in his 147th career game tonight. He made his WHL debut with the Rockets September 29/06 in Everett and got into a fight with Kyle Beach.
Mr. Brown Without a Frown: Rockets rookie goaltender Adam Brown is 6-0-0-0 this season. Brown has wins over Seattle (twice), Chilliwack (twice), Lethbridge and Prince George. Brown is the first Rockets rookie goaltender in franchise history to win the first six games he’s started. Brown was granted a free-agent tryout with the Rockets after playing midget hockey last season in Dallas Texas. Brown was originally listed by the Lethbridge Hurricanes, but was dropped from their roster.
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.
Benn P-O-W: Rockets forward Jamie Benn is the Western Hockey League Player of the Week. Benn had 9 points in three games last week, helping the Rockets to a record of 2-1-0-0. Benn had 5 goals and 4 assists and was a +1 over those three games.
Home Cook’n: The Rockets are 7-1-0-0 at home this season, having out-scored the opposition 39-17. The Rockets had a seven game home ice winning streak snapped last Saturday night with a 3-2 setback to Brandon. Prior to the loss, the Rockets last setback at home was a 2-0 loss to the Tri City Americans March 8/08.
That’s a Fact Jack: The Rockets have scored the most power play goals in the WHL this season. The Rockets have scored 29 goals with the extra man…Jamie Benn has 14 goals in his last 9 games. Benn has 14+9=23 over that period. Benn is riding a 9 game point streak over that period….Colin Long enters tonight’s game with 159 career points and played in his 177th career game last night…The Rockets have scored a power play goal in 17 of the team’s 18 games this season. The only game where the Rockets were held off the score-sheet with the extra man was in a 4-1 loss in Medicine Hat…Kris Lazaruk has started 13 of the Rockets 18 games this season…Adam Brown has started in four of the last six though. Brown is 6-0-0-0 as a starter….The Rockets have played in just five-one goal game this season. Those games were a 4-3 win last night over Lethbridge, a 3-2 win against Seattle, a 2-1 loss in Portland in game #2, a 5-4 win in game #4 and a 3-2 loss to Brandon Saturday night…Tyson Barrie leads the WHL in scoring by defenseman. Barrie has 20 points. Fifteen of Barrie’s 20 points this season have been on the power play (5+10=15).
Who’s Hot – Who’s Not: Cody Almond has points in nine of his last twelve games. Almond has 5+5=10 over that period. Almond is playing in his 177th career game tonight. Kyle St. Denis has 5+8=13 in his last eight games. Colin Long has been held off the scoreboard by Brandon, Lethbridge and Vancouver this season. Jamie Benn has 50 goals in just 66 career games. Tyson Barrie has points in eleven of his first eighteen games. Collin Bowman and Kyle St. Denis lead the Rockets with a +6 rating.
Dare to Compare: Last season the Rockets were 10-6-1-1 in their first eighteen games. The Rockets scored 58 goals in their first eighteen games last season. After eighteen games a year ago the Rockets had allowed 56 goals against. The Rockets are 4 and 6 on the road this season, having been out-scored 40-34. Last year after ten road games the Rockets were 6-3-0-1, and outscored the opposition 35-27.