Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Game notes vs. Hitmen

Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Hitmen are meeting for the first time since last years Western Hockey League final. It was a playoff series that the Rockets won in six games. These two teams met twice during the regular season in 2008/09, with both games in Calgary. The Rockets were 1-1-0-0 after a 4-3 loss and a 2-1 victory. The Hitmen are making their first regular season appearance in Kelowna since October 10/07 when the Rockets earned a 5-0 victory. Tonight’s game is the start of a four game home stand. The Rockets host the Hitmen tonight before games against Spokane, Prince George and Chilliwack. Following the home stand, the Rockets play 14 of their next 19 games on the road. The Rockets enter tonight’s game with four losses in their last five games after winning six straight.

WHL Championship Recap: The Rockets and Hitmen are meeting for the first time since last years WHL final. The Rockets won the first three games before dropping games four and five by scores of 6-2 and 6-1. In game six, the Rockets earned a 3-2 overtime win to clinch the series. If you look at game six alone, seven Kelowna Rockets players from that game will participate in tonight’s contest. That excludes Lucas Bloodoff, Evan Bloodoff, Mark Guggenberger and Brandon McMillan, who are all sidelined with injuries and won’t play tonight. If you include them on that list, the Rockets have eleven players returning from the championship series.

Young and Restless: The Rockets have the youngest defensive core in the BC Division with an average age of 17.29. Chilliwack is next at 17.88 followed by Prince George and Vancouver with an average age of 18. The Kamloops Blazers have the oldest defensive core in the division at 18.13. If you are wondering, Tri City has an average age of 18.38 on the blue line. The Rockets are the only team in the BC Division without a defenseman either 19 or 20 years-old.

Last Game Recap? Tyson Barrie scored once and added two assists in a losing cause as the Rockets fell 5-4 to the Vancouver Giants Sunday night. Spencer Main, Kyle St. Denis and Cody Chikie also scored for the Rockets, who were 2 for 6 on the power play. The Rockets were out-shot 36-30. Goaltender Chad Ketting made 31 saves in the loss.

Extra Man Mayhem: The Rockets have scored nineteen power play goals (19/61=31.1%) in their last eleven games. The Rockets have scored a power play goal in twelve of the fourteen games this season. They failed to score a power play goal against Kamloops September 25th and Tri City October 23rd. The Rockets own the 4th best power play in the league.

Who’s Hot – Who’s Not: Brandon McMillan has points in all eight games he’s played this season, but is sidelined 2 weeks with a cracked bone in his foot. McMillan has 4+11=15 this season. Stepan Novotny has points in 10 of the 14 games this season. Shane McColgan had his ten game point streak snapped Sunday in Vancouver. McColgan had (6+11=17) over that period. Mitchell Callahan has points in seven of his last eleven games (3+6=9). Kyle St. Denis has fifteen points in his last ten games (8+7=15). Lucas Bloodoff has goals in five of his last nine games.

Game Day Tidbits: Rockets 16 year-old Shane McColgan is leading the league in rookie scoring in the WHL (6+12=18)….Veteran defenseman Tyson Barrie returned to the lineup Friday after missing 8 straight games after being injured September 25th in Kamloops…The Rockets are 7-6-1-0 after fourteen games this season. Last year the Rockets were 8-6-0-0 after fourteen games…The Rockets have scored 55 goals in fourteen games this season after scoring 53 times in the teams first fourteen games one season ago…The Rockets have allowed 51 goals against this season after surrendering 47 goals after fourteen games last year…Ryan Huska has 92 regular season victories as the Rockets head coach …Huska has been named an assistant coach for two games of the Subway Super Series next month in BC. Huska will be behind the bench when Team Canada faces Russia in games November 25 (Victoria), and November 26th (Kelowna)…Tyler Myers plays his 9th NHL game tonight as the Buffalo Sabres face New Jersey. The Sabres will make an announcement after that game whether Myers will remain with the team for the remainder of the season or be sent back to the Kelowna Rockets. Myers has 2+3=5 in eight games this season with the Sabres and scored the shoot-out game winning goal against Tampa Bay Friday night.

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