Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets open the month of December with a home game against the Vancouver Giants. It is hard to believe the season is ten weeks old and these two BC Division rivals are meeting for the first of eight games. Following tonight’s game these two teams won’t meet again until the Rockets return the favour with a stop at Pacific Coliseum on December 28th. Last season the Rockets were 4-0-0-0 on home ice, out-scoring the Giants 22-5. The Rockets managed to shutout the Giants in two of those four games. On the road, the Rockets were 3-0-1-0 in four games in Vancouver, again out-scoring the Giants 19-10. The team is coming off a 3-2 shootout win against the Kamloops Blazers Saturday night. Justin Kirkland scored the game winning goal in the Rockets 19th win of the season.
Severson Sings Oh Canada: Defencemen Damon Severson was one of 25 players named to Hockey Canada’s training camp roster Monday for the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championship in Sweden. Severson is one of ten WHL players (nine if you exclude former Red Deer defenceman Matt Dumba) but is one of only two WHL players on Team Canada that isn’t a first round bantam pick. Severson was taken in the 9th round of the 2009 draft. Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton is heavily involved with Hockey Canada’s management group. Severson is the 12th player within the organization to play for Canada at the WJHC.
Road Rash: Overall, the team has won 7 straight games on the road, having out-scored the opposition 30-15. In four of those seven road games the Rockets have allowed a single goal. Kamloops, Calgary and Saskatoon owned eight game road winning streaks last season – the longest in the WHL. The Rockets won 7 straight road games back in the 2010-2011 campaign between February 23rd and March 18th. Overall, the team has won 12 of their last 13 games. This week they host Everett on Friday and Kootenay on Saturday night before beginning a six game Eastern Conference road trip with stops in Swift Current, Moose Jaw, Brandon, Regina, Prince Albert and Saskatoon.
This and That: The Rockets have been involved in ten-one goal games this season. The team is 7-1-0-2 in those ten games. The only out-right loss in a one goal game came against the Calgary Hitmen October 22nd in a 2-1 setback….The Rockets have been out-shot on home ice three times this season. Against Kamloops Saturday night followed by games against Medicine Hat (36) and Portland (43)….After losing two of his first three games, Jackson Whistle has won four straight. His goals against average over that stretch is 1.92 with a save percentage of .920…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…Dating back to last season the Rockets were 19-3-0-0 in the month of November. This season they were 10-1-0-0 while last November they were 9-2-0-0….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….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 31-4-0-2 at home in last 37 starts at home dating back to last season…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 added to the roster. Gatenby was the team’s second round pick in 2012.
Who’s Hot: Madison Bowey has 5+1=6 in his last six games….Ryan Olsen has 3+2=5 in his last five games….Damon Severson has 2+8=10 in his last ten games.
November Performers: Madison Bowey and Damon Severson led the team with 11 points apiece in November. Bowey had 7+4=11 while Severson had 2+9=11. Myles Bell had 3+7=10 while Nick Merkley had 1+7=8 during the month.