Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets open the post-Christmas break with a home game against the visiting Kamloops Blazers. The two teams are meeting for the fifth time this season. The Rockets are 4-0-0-0 with the last two games in the seasonal series decided by a single goal. After tonight’s game, these two BC Division rivals meet again in a home and home series January 31st and February 1st. Overall, the Rockets have won 12 straight games after victories against Kamloops (twice), Vancouver, Tri City, Everett, Kootenay, Swift Current, Moose Jaw, Brandon, Regina, Prince Albert and Saskatoon. The Rockets have out-scored the opposition 52-28 over that stretch. Following tonight’s game the Rockets are in Vancouver tomorrow night to open a four game road trip with two games against the Giants and two games against the Portland Winterhawks.
Road Show Review: The Rockets were 6-0-0-0 on an Eastern Conference road trip. The team out-scored the opponent 33-18. Tyson Baillie had 3+9=12 on the trip. Ryan Olsen had 4+5=9 in the six games. Myles Bell had seven goals in the six games. Jordon Cooke played in four of the six games. The power play was 8 for 24 (33.3%) while the team was 22 for 25 on the penalty kill. Of the 33 goals scored on the road trip, twelve came in the third period. The Rockets outshot their opponent in 5 of 6 games with one tied.
Record Breaking Effort: The Kelowna Rockets set a new team record with their 13th straight road victory December 17th in Saskatoon in a 7-1 win. The league record is 20 consecutive road wins by the Calgary Hitmen in 2000.
Road Rash: Overall, the team has won 13 straight games on the road, having out-scored the opposition 63-33. Overall, the team has won 21 of their last 22 games. The Rockets are in the midst of playing 16 of their next 18 on the road…Ten of the Rockets next 12 games are on the road. Home games over that period include tonight against Kamloops and January 4th against visiting Vancouver.
This and That: Cole Martin leads the entire WHL with a plus/minus rating of +29. No Kelowna Rockets player has ever lead the entire league in +/- at season’s end….Myles Bell has 17 goals. Only one has been scored on the power….Only the Erie Otters (OHL) have more wins (29) at the Christmas break than the Rockets do….Damon Severson returns to the team tonight after being a late cut of Team Canada at the World Hockey Championships in Sweden….The Rockets have been out-shot on home ice five times this season…After losing two of his first three games, Jackson Whistle has won seven straight….The Rockets have played in six shootout games this season and are 4 and 2. Three of the four shootout wins have come on the road in Victoria, Prince George and Seattle…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…Assistant Coach Dan Lambert is away from the team competing at the World Under 17 Challenge in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia as the head coach of Team Western. Lambert returns to the team January 8th in Edmonton….Jordon Cooke is 33-4-0-2 at home in last 39 starts at home dating back to last season…Two members of the Rockets are playing for Team Pacific at the Under 17 World Hockey Challenge. Nick Merkley and Joe Gatenby are teammates…The Rockets won 12 straight games overall in 2002-2003. That season they went 24 straight games without a regulation loss.
Who’s Hot: Tyson Baillie is riding a career high six game point streak (3+9=12)…Myles Bell has a five game point streak (7+3=10)….Ryan Olsen has 4+5=9 in his last six games…Zach Franko has 4+5=9 in his last six games.
Zach Franko is playing in his 247th career game tonight – three shy of 250.
Zach Franko has 193 points, 7 shy of 200 for his career.
Myles Bell is playing in his 290th game tonight – 10 shy of 300.