Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Bruins are meeting for the 5th time this season. The Rockets are 4-0-0-0, having out-scored their BC Division rivals 19-2. The Rockets have shutout the Bruins in three of the four games. Following tonight’s contest the two teams meet February 18th, 22nd and March 6th to conclude the 8 game seasonal series. The Rockets enter tonight’s game riding a three game losing streak (0-2-0-1), with losses to Vancouver and back-to-back setbacks to Prince George. Overall the Rockets have 4 losses in their last 5 games. Following tonight’s game the Rockets are in Kamloops to face the Blazers tomorrow night before returning home to face Prince George Wednesday January 28th.
Last Game: Evander Kane scored three times leading the Vancouver Giants to a 6-4 win over the Rockets Wednesday night. The Rockets received goals from Cody Almond, Mikael Backlund, Ian Duval and Evan Bloodoff in the loss. The line of Almond, Duval and Backlund combined for 8 points. The Rockets carried a 3-2 lead into the third period before the Giants struck for four goals in the final frame. The Giants out-shot the Rockets 32-24. Kelowna was 1 for 4 on the power play while the Giants were 2 for 6.
Almond=Outstanding: Cody Almond doesn’t want the month of January to end. Almond has goals in 7 of 9 games during the month, with points in 8 of those 9 games. Almond has 9 goals in his last 8 games. Almond’s January exploits comes on the heels of a disasterous December where the 19 year-old had just one goal in 10 games during the month. Should we be surprised at Almond’s successes in January? Almond had 7 goals and 18 points in 13 games last season during the month of January.
New Faces Contribute: Mikael Backlund has 1+3=4 in his first four games. Backlund scored his first goal in the WHL Wednesday night in a 6-4 loss to Vancouver. Ian Duval has 2+2=4 in his first four games with the Rockets. Riley Grantham has 0+2=2 in his first 6 games, including two fighting majors. Goaltender Mark Guggenberger is 0-2-0-0 in losses to Prince George and Vancouver.
Rockets Ramblings: Jamie Benn has just one goal in five games since returning from the world junior hockey championships. Colin Long has 3 goals in his last 13 games. While the Rockets sit only two points up on Kamloops for 4th place in the Western Conference, the Rockets have played 4 fewer games. The Rockets power play has slipped to 6th in the WHL at 21.9%. Up until Wednesday night the Rockets last gave up 6 goals at home February 1st in a 9-4 loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Who’s Hot: Ian Duval has goals in six of his last eight games. In the big picture Duval has 14 goals in his last 19 games. Brandon McMillan has 4+6=10 in his last 11 games. Tyson Barrie has 2+5=7 in his last seven games. Colin Long has points in 8 of his last 11 games (3+8=11).
By The Numbers: Since re-locating to Kelowna from Tacoma for the start of the 1995-96 season, the Rockets have played 982 regular season games. The Rockets have won 496 times while based in Kelowna.
Streaking @ Home: The Rockets have won six of their last nine home games and have wins in 8 of their last 12 home dates. The only stumbles over that period were a 6-4 loss to Vancouver, a 4-3 setback to Prince George, a 5-2 loss to Moose Jaw and a 3-1 loss to Swift Current December 12th. The Rockets have scored four or more goals per game at Prospera Place – twelve times.
St. Denis Still Sidelined: Rockets forward Kyle St. Denis is missing his 32nd straight game tonight with a broken wrist. The wrist was broken October 24th against the Chilliwack Bruins. The Rockets are 17-13-0-1 with St. Denis out of the lineup.
Broadcaster Tidbits: The Rockets have scored 34 goals in their last eleven games (3.09 per game). Of those 34 goals, just eleven have been scored on the power play…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 24-6-0-0 when they score 3 or more goals. The Rockets are 10-10-0-1 in games where they’ve allowed 3 or more goals…Tyson Barrie is 1 points shy of his career high 43 points set in his rookie season…Barrie has 9 goals this season, the same number as last year…Brandon McMillan is four goals shy of the 15 he scored last season…No player on the Rockets roster will play in all 72 games this season. The last time this happened was 1999-2000 when no players reached that mark…The Rockets have just two power play goal in their last five games. The Rockets are 2 for 18 (11.1%) over that period.