Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets will ring in the New Year with the Portland Winterhawks tonight at Moda Centre. This is the first of two games between the two teams over the next three nights. They meet again Thursday, but this time at Memorial Coliseum. Back on October 4/5th, the Rockets beat their U.S Division rivals 6-2 and 6-3. Following a double dip in Portland the Rockets are in Vancouver Friday night before hosting the Giants on Saturday. Overall, the Rockets have won 14 straight games after victories against Kamloops (three times), Vancouver (twice), Tri City, Everett, Kootenay, Swift Current, Moose Jaw, Brandon, Regina, Prince Albert and Saskatoon. The Rockets have out-scored the opposition 63-31 over that stretch. The Rockets split a pair of games against the Winterhawks in Portland last season, losing 1-0 before earning a 4-3 win. Myles Bell had two goals in the game two win.
Record Breaking Effort: The Kelowna Rockets set a new team record with their 13th straight road victory December 17th in Saskatoon in a 7-1 win. The league record is 20 consecutive road wins by the Calgary Hitmen in 2000. Overall, the team has won 14 straight games on the road, having out-scored the opposition 67-35. Overall, the team has won 22 of their last 23 games. The Rockets are in the midst of playing 16 of their next 18 on the road.
This and That: Ryan Olsen signed an entry level contract with the Winnipeg Jets. Olsen is a 6rh round pick from three years ago...Cole Martin leads the entire WHL with a plus/minus rating of +33…Myles Bell has 18 goals. Only one has been scored on the power play….The Rockets have been out-shot on home ice five times this season…After losing two of his first three games, Jackson Whistle has won seven straight….The Rockets have played in six shootout games this season and are 4 and 2. Three of the four shootout wins have come on the road in Victoria, Prince George and Seattle…Eighteen year-old Madison Bowey was named captain of the Kelowna Rockets November 1st….Jordon Cooke was named WHL Goaltender of the Month for September/October. Cooke was 8-0-0-2 with a goals against average of 1.85…Sixteen year-old rookie forward Nick Merkley was named the CHL and WHL Player of the Week from September 30th to October 6th….Assistant Coach Dan Lambert is away from the team competing at the World Under 17 Challenge in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia as the head coach of Team Western. Lambert returns to the team January 8th in Edmonton….Jordon Cooke is 34-4-0-2 at home in last 40 starts at home dating back to last season…Two members of the Rockets are playing for Team Pacific at the Under 17 World Hockey Challenge. Nick Merkley and Joe Gatenby are teammates… Rockets alumnus Cam Paddock is behind the Rockets bench as a guest coach. Paddock played 323 regular season games with the team from 1999-2003. Paddock’s best season was 2001-2002 when he scored 38 goals. Including the playoffs, the North Vancouver resident played 384 games in a Rockets uniform and was a member of the teams Memorial Cup winner in 2004. Now 30, Paddock was a 5th round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins and played 16 games at the NHL level with the Sat. Louis Blues in 2008-2009…Jordon Cooke is 30-2-0-2 in his last 34 regular season starts dating back to last season…The Rockets have scored 4 or more goals in 15 of their 18 road games this season…This is the fourth straight season the Rockets have played a double header in Portland.
Who’s Hot: Tyson Baillie had a six game point streak snapped Friday against Kamloops. Baillie has 4+10=14 in seven of his last eight games….Myles Bell had a six game point streak snapped Saturday night in Vancouver. Bell had 8+3=11 over that period….Ryan Olsen has 6+5=11 in his last eight games…Zach Franko has 5+7=12 in his last eight games…Franko has five goals in his last eight games.
Zach Franko is playing in his 249th career game tonight – one shy of 250.
Zach Franko has 196 points, 4 shy of 200 for his career.
Myles Bell is playing in his 292nd game tonight – 8 shy of 300.
December’s Offensive Leaders: Tyson Baillie has 5+13=18 in 11 games during the month. Myles Bell has 9+5=14 this month. Zach Franko has 5+7=12…Jordon Cooke is 8-0-0-0 in December with a goals against average of 2.35 and a save percentage of .918.