Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets open the busiest portion of their WHL schedule tonight with the start of three games in four nights. The Rockets are in Everett tonight before hosting the Portland Winterhawks in back-to-back games Friday and Saturday night at Prospera Place. This is one of only two trips to Everett this season. The Rockets make a return visit March 4th. Last season the Rockets were 2-0-0-0 in Everett after 8-2 and 3-2 victories. Overall in the seasonal series the Rockets were 4-0-0-0 against the Silvertips after 5-1 and 4-1 victories at Prospera Place in Kelowna. The Rockets out-scored the Tips 20-6 in the four games. The Rockets are coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to the Victoria Royals Saturday night. The Rockets are celebrating their 19th season in Kelowna after spending four years in Tacoma, Washington. Eight of the teams first 11 games are on home ice.
Who’s Hot: Zach Franko has points in all three games this season. Franko has 1+3=4….The Rockets own the best penalty killing unit in the league having allowed just one power play goal in 16 kills (93.8%)….Jordon Cooke has stopped 79 of 86 shots so far this season and has a goals against average of 2.27…Rourke Chartier has three goals in three games. Last season it took the 17 year-old ten games to score his third goal of the season.
This and That: After three games last season the team was 0-2-1-0…The Rockets will play 14 Wednesday night games this season…The Rockets were 12-8-0-0 in 20 games against U.S Division teams last season…The opposition has opened the scoring in two of the three 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 were given an honourable mention in the CHL Top 10 junior rankings for a second consecutive week….This season marks the 10th anniversary of the Rockets winning the Memorial Cup.
Last Year’s Facts: The Rockets finished 2nd in the Western Conference last season with a record of 52-16-3-1. The Rockets won 31 times on home ice and 21 times on the road. The 31 wins on home ice were the best in the WHL. The Rockets scored 309 goals, only 25 fewer than league leading Portland. The Rockets allowed the third fewest goals against in the league (178). Only Edmonton and Portland allowed fewer. Myles Bell led the Rockets in scoring with 38+55=93. Bell led the team in goals, assists and points. Captain Colton Sissons was named the MVP. Damon Severson was the Rockets top defenceman. The Rockets were eliminated in four games in the second round by the Kamloops Blazers after a thrilling seven games series against Seattle in round one.
Record Breaking Season: Several team records were broken last season. The club won 52 games, the most in franchise history. The previous mark was 51 in 2002-2003. The team won 23 straight games on home ice, also a Kelowna Rockets record. The franchise mark is 24 consecutive wins by the Tacoma Rockets in 1992-93. Jordon Cooke won 20 consecutive starts which is a new franchise record for goaltenders.
Tyrell Goulbourne is two games shy of 150 for his career.
Myles Bell has 200 career points.
Jordon Cooke played in his 100th career game last Saturday against the Kamloops Blazers.
Damon Severson is playing in his 198 career game tonight.
Tyson Baillie is 12 points shy of 100 for his career.