Thursday, January 24, 2013

Rockets vs. T-Birds

Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets begin a tough portion of the WHL schedule tonight when they host the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Rockets will play seven games in nine days. The Rockets are in Seattle (Kent) tomorrow night before hosting Prince Albert Saturday. The team then travels to Kamloops for a rare Monday night game before hosting Victoria (Thursday, Jan 31), in Vancouver (Friday, Feb 1) before hosting the Giants (Saturday, February 2nd).  This is game 48 of the regular season for the Rockets, who enter tonight’s game with 34 wins on the season and 71 points in the standings, one fewer than all of last season. The Rockets have five regulation losses in their last 37 games (30-5-1-1) with setbacks to Tri City (twice), Edmonton, Seattle and Calgary. The Rockets have won 27 of their last 31 (26-4-1-0) games overall. The Rockets enter tonight’s game riding a 19 game home ice winning streak. The only two teams to beat the Rockets on home ice this season are Kamloops and Spokane. Overall, the Rockets have points in twelve straight games (11-0-1-0), having out-scored the opposition 61-30. Overall, the Rockets have won three straight.  

Seasonal Series vs. Seattle: This is the second of four meetings between the T-Birds this season. These two teams met December 1st in Kent with the T-Birds earning a 4-2 win. Myles Bell and Rourke Chartier scored in a losing cause while Jackson Whistle made 27 saves in the setback. The Rockets were 0 for 5 on the power play. Brandon Glover made 37 saves for the T-Birds and was named the first star.  Last season Seattle won both games at Prospera Place by scores of 2-1 in a shootout and 2-0.         

Home Cook’n: The Rockets are 20-2-0-0 at Prospera Place this season. The team has scored 110 goals (five per game) and has allowed 44 goals against (1.9 per game).  The Rockets have scored at least 3 or more goals in every home game this season except one, when they lost 3-2 to the visiting Kamloops Blazers. The Rockets have scored four or more goals in 16 of their 22 home games. Jordon Cooke and Jackson Whistle have combined for four home ice shutouts this season. The team has allowed two or fewer goals at home this season in 15 of 22 games.

Playing 3 in 3: The Rockets are playing three games in three nights for the 4th time this season. The Rockets are 7 and 2 in those nine games played. The Rockets will play three games in three nights next weekend as well. The Rockets play three games in three nights seven times this season.      

This and That: With 25 games left in the regular season, the Rockets sit in first place in the BC Division with a four  point lead on second place Kamloops…. The Rockets 34 wins this season is three better than their win total from all of last season….Five of the Rockets 10 losses this season have been decided by a single goal… Jordon Cooke was named the WHL Goaltender of the Month for December. Cooke was 6-0-0-0 and posted a goals against average of 2.00. Cooke has won his last 18 games. That is a franchise record. Kelly Guard won 10 straight games – four different times between 2002 and 2004….The Rockets are rated as the 4th best team in Canada according to the CHL Top 10 rankings this week…Since a 3-0 win over the Kamloops Blazers November 1st the Rockets are 25-4-1-0….The Rockets 19 game home ice winning streak is a new team record. The franchise record is held by the Tacoma Rockets, who won 24 straight home games in 1992-93….Dylen McKinlay is  the only Rocket to play in every game this season…The Rockets have led going into the third period in 31 of their last 38 games with two games being tied heading into the final frame.…The Rockets have 32 power play goal in their last 38 games (32 for 130 over that span – 24 %)…..The Rockets have scored 181 goals in their last 39 games (average 4.64)....The Rockets are 20 and 2 after 22 home games this season…Madison Bowey (22), Mitch Wheaton (63) and Myles Bell (87) are rated among the top players by NHL Central Scouting for June’s draft. The mid-season rankings were released by NHLCS on Tuesday. Jackson Whistle is rated (26) among North American goalies…The Rockets have out-scored the opposition 110-44 on home ice this season…The Rockets have scored the second most goals in the WHL (205)….Zach Franko has thirteen more points (52) than the 39 he put up all of last season. Franko had a career high 53 points (22+31=53) in his rookie season in 2010-2011...J.T Barnett has 8+7=15 in 23 games with the Rockets…Colton Sissons has goals in five of his last ten games….Dylen McKinlay has three shorthanded goals….Since relocating from Tacoma to Kelowna for the start of the 1995-96 season, the Rockets have picked up 661 wins over the last 18 seasons…Since entering the WHL in 1991, the Tacoma/Kelowna Rockets have scored 4 thousand 535 goals (4,535)…Zach Franko has 52 points this season. Twenty-eight (28) have been registered on the road with 24 coming on home ice…Jordon Cooke’s 25 wins is one shy of league leader Luke Siemens of the PA Raiders….The Rockets have participated in one shootout game this season. That is a league low, tied with Portland who also has one shootout game. Last season the Rockets were involved in a league high 15…The Rockets have the second most home ice wins in the WHL this season (20). Only Portland has more (21)…Dylen McKinlay leads the team in plus/minus with a +37. That is third best in the entire WHL. That is the highest total for a Rockets player since Jamie Benn was a +32 in 2007-2008. Jesse Schultz was +40 in 2002-2003…Since November 1st the Rockets have lost four times in regulation…Six of the teams ten regulation losses came in the first five weeks of the season.           

Who’s Hot: Myles Bell has 4+5=9 in the month of January…Colton Sissons is riding a four game point streak. Sissons has 2+3=5 over that period… Ryan Olsen has goals in five of his last six games… Zach Franko has 6+5=11 in January, tops among Rockets players…MacKenzie Johnston has 10 points (3+7=10) in his last 8 games.


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