Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Blazers are meeting for the first time since the opening round of last years playoffs. In that series the Rockets eliminated the Blazers in four straight. These two teams will play one another eight times this season – 4 at home and 4 on the road. These two teams will hook up again tomorrow night, this time at Prospera Place. The Rockets enter tonight’s game winless in their first two regular season games (0-1-1-0). The Rockets were a 6-5 overtime loser to Vancouver on opening night last Thursday before dropping a 6-1 decision in Tri City last Saturday. The Rockets and Blazers met 9 times during the regular season in 2008-2009, with the Rockets winning all 9 games. The only game where the Blazers earned a point in the seasonal series was in a 4-3 shoot-out loss. The Rockets enter tonight’s game riding a 7 game winning streak in Kamloops. That includes two post season wins at the Interior Savings Centre in last years opening round playoff series. The last time the Rockets lost in Kamloops was February 8, 2008 in a 2-1 shoot-out loss.
Slow Starts: The Rockets are no stranger to getting off to a slow start to the regular season. Last season the Rockets lost their first two games before beating the Blazers in Kamloops in game three by a score of 6-2. The Rockets also lost their first two games in 2007-2008 before beating Everett 6-4 in the third game of the season. The last time the Rockets lost the first three games of the regular season was 2006-2007 when they dropped their first four games before beating the Blazers, again in Kamloops, by a 5-4 score in overtime.
Game Day Tidbits: Brandon McMillan returned to the team Saturday after playing in two exhibition games with the Anaheim Ducks. McMillan earned the lone assist on Tyson Barrie’s second period power play goal in a 6-1 loss. McMillan is playing this season as a forward after playing the majority of last season on defense…The Rockets face a BC Division opponent in 6 of their next 7 games. The only non-division game is October 7th when they host the Medicine Hat Tigers…Six of the Rockets next nine games are on home ice…Of the 12 goals the Rockets have given up in their first two games, five have been scored while the team has been shorthanded…Colin Long remains at the training camp of the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. Long has not yet signed a pro contract and could still return to junior. Long’s situation is eerily similar to Cam Paddocks return as a 20 year-old to the Rockets during the 2003-2004 campaign. Paddock missed the Rockets first nine games before returning to the team from the Pittsburgh Penguins AHL affiliate in time for a game against the Lethbridge Hurricanes on October 15/03. Paddock would go on help the Rockets win a Memorial Cup title that season.