Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Hitmen are meeting for the first of just two times this season. The Rockets last visit to the Saddledome was January 28/07 in a 5-1 loss. Brodie Dupont and Keegan Dansereau each had a goal and an assist in the win. The loss came on the heels of a 4-3 overtime loss December 15/06. Ryan White scored the game winner just 6 seconds into overtime. Only seven players on the Rockets current roster have played a game in Calgary. Cody Almond, Brandon McMillan, Tysen Dowzak, Dylan Hood, Evan and Lucas Bloodoff and Colin Long have played in his building. The Rockets last win in Calgary came December 30/05 in a 3-2 overtime victory. Justin Keller scored the game winner on the power play at the 3:13 mark of overtime. The Rockets are 5-4-0-0 with one tie in their last ten visits to Calgary dating back to the start of the 2000-2001 season. The Rockets are coming off a 3-1 loss to Swift Current Friday night. Colin Long scored the lone goal after the Broncos built up a 3-0 lead. While the Rockets out-shot the Broncos 14-2 in the third period they could not solve goaltender Travis Yonkman. Overall the Rockets have won 7 of their last 9 games. Tonight’s game is the first of three straight road games. The Rockets are in Red Deer Tuesday before making a stop in Edmonton Wednesday. Following the Christmas break the team is back on the ice – at home – against the Kamloops Blazers on December 27th.
Calgary Connection: Two members of the Rockets have connections with Calgary. Rookie Curt Gogol were born and raised in the city while 19 year-old Cody Almond also made Calgary home for a good portion of his life. Almond now calls Kelowna home after his family moved to the Okanagan three years ago.
Big Mac: Hitmen forward Jason MacDonald is familiar with the Rockets organization. The 19 year-old forward was part of a six player trade the Rockets made with Regina two seasons ago. MacDonald was acquired along with Justin Bernhardt and Kyle St. Denis from the Pats. MacDonald played 40 games for the Rockets before being released. He would eventually land in Kootenay before cracking the Hitmen lineup this season.
Three Amigo’s Head East: Three members of the Kelowna Rockets are in Ottawa for Team Canada’s training camp in preparation for the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championships. Jamie Benn and Tyler Myers are two of 38 players vying for a spot on this year’s team while Athletic Therapist Jeff Thorburn is a member of the Team Canada medical staff.
Stepan It Up: Rookie forward Stepan Novotny will leave after today’s game in an effort to make the Czech Republic world junior team. Novotny is one of 40 players attending an evaluation camp in Brampton Ontario.
Call In The Recruits: The Rockets will be calling up forwards Shane McColgan and Brett Bulmer. McColgan was the Rockets 1st round pick in 2008 while Bulmer was an 11th rounder in 2007. McColgan will make his WHL debut Tuesday in Red Deer while Bulmer dressed for the Rockets in a 2-1 loss in Portland September 21st. Bulmer is 4th in BC Major Midget League scoring with 15+14=29 in 20 games.
Benn and Myers: Jamie Benn has never competed internationally for Canada. Myers has played for Canada at the Under 18 Championship, under current world junior coach Pat Quinn. Thorburn isn’t the first Rockets athletic therapist to be named to Team Canada. Scott Hoyer was a part of Team Canada’s staff in 2002 under then head coach Marc Habscheid.
Who’s Hot: Colin Long has points in 9 of his last 10 games. Long has 3+12=15 over that period. Long is playing in his 191st career game tonight. Cody Almond has 5+4=9 in his last eight games. Almond is playing in his 190th career game tonight. Lucas Bloodoff’s goal last Saturday was his first in 7 games. Mitchell Callahan has 4 goals in his last six games. Brandon McMillan has goals in two of his last three games.
If You’re Wondering? Rockets forward Kyle St. Denis is missing his 17th straight game tonight with a broken wrist. The wrist was broken October 24th against the Chilliwack Bruins. The Rockets are 10-6-0-0 with St. Denis out of the lineup.
Broadcaster Tidbits: The Rockets are 3-2-0-0 in five games against Central Division teams this season. The Rockets three wins came against Lethbridge, Edmonton and Kootenay and the two losses were to Lethbridge and Medicine Hat…Mitchell Callahan leads the Rockets in fighting majors with six. Tyler Myers has 5 fighting majors….The Rockets have scored 6 or more goals – eight times this season. The Rockets have managed to score 6 or more goals three times against the Cougars, with single game outbursts against Kamloops, Kootenay, Everett, Chilliwack and Seattle. Last season the Rockets scored 6 or more goals 12 times… The Rockets are 19-3-0-0 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 9-5-0-0 in games where they’ve allowed 3 or more goals.