Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets face the Prince George Cougars for the first of eight times this season. The two teams meet again with a pair of games in Prince George November 1st and 2nd before the Cougars make a return visit on November 8th. These two teams met eight times last season with the Rockets earning a 7-1-0-0 record including a perfect 4-0-0-0 at home, out-scoring the Cougars 20-4. The last Prince George win at Prospera Place was March 10, 2012 in a 3-1 victory. Troy Bourke had two goals in the victory. The Rockets are coming off a 6-0 shutout win over Lethbridge Wednesday night. Riley Stadel scored three times while Jordon Cooke made 26 saves for his 6th career shutout. Following tonight’s game the Rockets host Calgary Tuesday before traveling to Victoria for a pair of games next Friday and Saturday night.
Best Start Ever: The Kelowna Rockets are 6-1-0-2 in their first 9 games. Traditionally a slow starter, the Rockets were 4-4-1-0 in their first nine games last season. Here are the records after nine games dating back to 2009-2010:
2013-2014: 6-1-0-2=14 Pts
2012-2013: 4-4-1-0=9 Pts
2011-2012: 3-5-1-0=7 Pts
2010-2011: 3-6-0-0=6 Pts
2009-2010: 6-2-1-0=13 Pts
This and That: The Rockets are rated as the 9th best team in the weekly CHL Top 10 rankings…Ex-Rockets d-man Shea Weber was named the 8th best dressed in Vanity Fair magazine’s annual list of the top dressed players in the NHL….The Rockets fired 62 shots on net Wednesday against Lethbridge, a season high. It is not a franchise record though. Back in 2005 the team fired 66 shots at Devan Dubnyk and ended up losing in Kamloops by a 4-2 score….Sixteen year-old rookie forward Nick Merkley was named the CHL and WHL Player of the Week from September 30th to October 6th. 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. Merkley was the Kelowna Rockets first round pick from the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft…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….. Jordon Cooke is 27-3-0-2 at home in last 32 starts at home dating back to last season…Ryan Olsen is coming off a four point effort Wednesday against Lethbridge. Olsen had a four point game (December 27/2012) against the Blazers last season…Eighteen year-old Mitch Wheaton made his 2013-14 debut Wednesday against the Hurricanes after missing the first eight games after undergoing off season shoulder surgery. Wheaton played in 39 games last season, scoring one goal and collecting 8 points. Wheaton was a 5th round draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings this summer.
Dube Alberta Bound: The Kelowna Rockets first round pick from this summer’s WHL bantam draft has been named to Team Alberta for the upcoming Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup later this month in Calgary. Dube, who was born in Cochrane, Alberta, will represent his province at the tournament October 31st to November 3rd. The Rockets have no less than four prospects participating at the Under 16 Challenge. 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.
Who’s Hot: The Rockets have not allowed a power play goal against in their last five games. That is a streak of 23 consecutive kills…Myles Bell has goals in three of his last five games. Bell has 4 goals over that stretch….Bell has points in six of the seven games he has played this season…Riley Stadel has 7+5=12 points so far this season. Last year as a WHL rookie, Stadel had 11 points through 49 games…Zach Franko has points in eight of his first nine games. Franko has 2+9=11 over that period…Tyrell Goulbourne has five points in his last six games…Nick Merkley has four goals in his last six games and is coming off a four assist effort vs. Lethbridge…Madison Bowey has 3+3=6 in his last six games…Tyson Baillie has goals in three straight games…Both Cooke and Whistle each had a shutout against the Cougars last season…At home, the Rockets have allowed one power play goal against in 33 penalty killing attempts.