Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets play the fourth and final game of a four game home stand tonight against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. This is one of three meetings between the two teams this season. The Tigers make a return visit January 24th. The Rockets lone visit to the ‘Gas City’ is January 11th. These two teams met twice last season – both in Medicine Hat – with the Rockets losing 4-3 in a shootout before earning a 5-2 win. The Tigers last appearance in Kelowna was October 12/2011 in a 4-2 win. Tyler Bunz made 34 saves in the victory. Hunter Shinkaruk scored three times. The Rockets enter tonight’s game riding a season high seven game winning streak after a 2-0 win last Saturday over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. Following tonight’s game the Rockets are in Seattle Tuesday before welcoming Victoria one night later.
Lambert Signs New Deal: Assistant Coach Dan Lambert has signed a new two year deal with the hockey club. Lambert will be with the team through the 2015-2016 season. Lambert joined the Rockets after a 19 year professional playing career. This is his 5th season as an assistant to head coach Ryan Huska.
Team Pacific Selections: Two members of the Rockets were named to Team Pacific for the upcoming Under 17 World Hockey Challenge in late December in Nova Scotia. Nick Merkley and Joe Gatenby have been named to the roster. Merkley is a first round pick of the Rockets in 2012 while Gatenby was the team’s second round pick that season.
Subway Super Series: Two members of the Kelowna Rockets have been named to Team WHL for the upcoming Subway Super Series. Damon Severson and Madison Bowey will play in one of two games taking place later this month in Red Deer and Lethbridge. This game was held in Kelowna back in 2009. Over the years, Luke Schenn, Tyler Myers, Brandon McMillan, Tyson Barrie and Colton Sissons have participated in the game.
This and That: The Rockets are playing their 19th game in 58 nights. Last season the team had played 25 games in the first 58 nights of the 2012-13 season …The Tigers are playing their 23rd game in 58 nights…Three members of the Rockets have been named to NHL Central Scouting’s ‘Watch List’ of the eligible players for this summer’s NHL draft in Philadelphia. Justin Kirkland, Tyson Baillie and Riley Stadel have made that list….The Rockets are rated as the third best team in Canada according to this week’s CHL Top 10 junior rankings. Last week the Rockets were ranked 7th….The Rockets are riding a seven game winning streak. Last season the team’s longest winning streak was 8 games….The Rockets have killed off 28 of their last 30 penalty kills…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. Merkley had six points in three games 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 30-3-0-2 at home in last 35 starts at home dating back to last season…Tyson Baillie turns 18 today.
Who’s Hot: Carter Rigby has 1+3=4 in his first four games since missing the first 14 games of the regular season….The Rockets have allowed three power play goals against in their last fourteen games. That translates into three goals against in their last 61 kills…Riley Stadel has 9+6=15 points so far this season. Last year as a WHL rookie, Stadel had 11 points through 49 games…Nick Merkley has ten points in his last eleven games…Madison Bowey has 3+9=12 in his last thirteen games….Ryan Olsen has 5+8=13 in his last twelve games and has points in seven of his last nine.
Severson has 98 career assists – 2 shy of 100.
Madison Bowey is playing in his 148th career game tonight – two shy of 150.
Colton Heffley is playing in his 190th career game tonight – 10 shy of 200.
Cole Martin is a +55 over his career.