Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets face the Spokane Chiefs in the first of four meetings this season. Following tonight’s game these two teams won’t see each other until January 29th when the Chiefs are in Kelowna. The seasonal series ends with games February 12th (in Spokane) and March 5th (in Kelowna). Last season the Rockets were 2-2-0-0 in four meetings, winning 5-3 (home) and losing 6-4 (home) before winning 4-2 (away) and suffering a 5-0 loss (away). The Rockets are coming off a double-header sweep over the Portland Winterhawks on the weekend, out-scoring the defending WHL champions 12-5. Overall, the Rockets have won three straight and are the only team in the WHL without a regulation loss. The Rockets are back on home ice Friday night against the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds in the first meeting between the teams since an epic seven game opening round playoff series last season.
Merkley; WHL POW: Sixteen year-old rookie forward Nick Merkley is the WHL Player of the Week. Merkley had six points in three games last week including back-to-back two goal games before earning two assists in a 6-3 win over the Portland Winterhawks Saturday night. Merkley was the Kelowna Rockets first round pick from the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.
Rockets Represented Under 16’s: The Kelowna Rockets have no less than three prospects participating at the Under 16 Challenge later this month in Calgary. Madison Bowey’s younger brother Connor is playing for Team Manitoba while prospects Jordan Borstmayer (3rd round) and Kole Lind (4th round) are playing for Team Saskatchewan. The Under 16’s is set for October 31st to November 3rd in Calgary.
Who’s Hot: Zach Franko (pictured right) has points in all six games this season. Franko has 2+7=9 and is tied for the team lead in points with Tyson Baillie….Franko has nine points after six games this season. Last season Franko had 2+5=7 after six games…Rourke Chartier has three goals in six games. Last season it took the 17 year-old ten games to score his third goal of the season…Tyrell Goulbourne has four points in his last three games…Nick Merkley has four goals in his last three games…Madison Bowey has 2+3=5 in his last three games…The Rockets penalty killing unit was 16 for 16 on the weekend against Portland.
This and That: Riley Stadel had two goals all of last season. This season the 17 year-old already has four goals…After six games last season the team was 2-3-1-0…The Rockets were 12-8-0-0 in 20 games against U.S Division teams last season…The opposition has opened the scoring in four of the first six games…Rockets were 3 and 1 in four pre-season games. For a third straight pre-season, Tyson Baillie led the team in scoring with 4+4=8….Ryan Huska is entering his 7th season as head coach of the Kelowna Rockets. He becomes the longest serving coach in franchise history, surpassing the five seasons that Marcel Comeau was behind the bench of the Tacoma/Kelowna Rockets from 1991-1992 until 1995…Huska signed a three year extension with the club this summer…Huska was named the Western Conference Coach of the Year in 2012-2013 while Rourke Chartier was named the Western Conference Scholastic Player of the Year. Zach Franko was the Western Conference Most Sportsmanlike Player while GM Bruce Hamilton was the Executive of the Year in the Western Conference…Four members of the Rockets were drafted this summer in the NHL Entry Draft. Madison Bowey in the second round by Washington, Tyrell Goulbourne in the third round by Philadelphia, Mitch Wheaton in the 5th round by Detroit and Myles Bell in the 6th round by New Jersey…Assistant Coach Dan Lambert has been named the head coach for Team West for the World Under 17 Challenge in Cape Breton Nova Scotia December 28-January 5th…The Rockets are playing their fourth game in seven nights…The Rockets have score 18 goals in their last three games.
Tyrell Goulbourne played in his 150th career game Friday vs. Portland.
Myles Bell has 203 career points.
Jordon Cooke played in his 100th career game September 22nd against the Kamloops Blazers.
Damon Severson played in his 200th career game Saturday night.
Tyson Baillie is 7 points shy of 100 for his career.