|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets open a three game road trip tonight with a stop in Kamloops to face the Blazers. The two teams are separated by three points with the Rockets holding two games in hand. These two teams met opening night with the Rockets earning a 6-1 win back on September 20th. Following tonight’s visit to ISC, Kelowna won’t return here until January 2nd. This is one of five visits to Kamloops this season. They make return stops on January 2nd, January 9th, February 7th and March 13th. Last season the Rockets were 4-0-0-0 in Kamloops. In those four games, the defending WHL regular season champions allowed just seven goals against. The team is coming off a 4-2 come-from-behind win Saturday against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. Justin Kirkland scored the game winner while Tyson Baillie had two goals in their 8th win of the season. The real story was the play of Jackson Whistle, who was spectacular in earning his second – 1st star status of the season. Following tonight’s game the Rockets are in Spokane (Friday) and Tri City (Saturday). The team’s next home game is October 22nd vs. the Tri City Americans.
Trade winds blow: The Rockets reduced their roster last Friday by sending 20 year-old Carter Rigby to the Swift Current Broncos for a third round bantam pick. Rigby was originally acquired from the Prince George Cougars in September, 2011 for a third round bantam selection. Rigby played 157 regular season games in the Okanagan and scored a career high 21 goals in 2011-2012.
Rockets roar up top 10 rankings: The Rockets quick start this season has not fallen on deaf ears. The Rockets last week were rated as the second best junior team in Canada. The CHL Top 10 rankings have the Rockets as the second best team only behind the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic.
Bowey’s blistering start! Kelowna Rockets defenceman Madison Bowey leads all WHL defenceman in scoring with 3+10=13 in 6 games. In four of the six games he has played, the 19 year-old has had a multiple point game. Look out. Bowey heats up in November. Last season the gifted d-man had 7 goals during the month. Bowey was named the WHL Player of the Week October 6th after scoring two goals and added six assists for eight points while posting a plus-seven rating in three games.
Tyson Time: Tyson Baillie leads the WHL in goals with 10. Baillie has scored a goal in seven of the eight games he has played this season. The 19 year-old is playing in his 200th career game tonight against the Blazers. Baillie is the highest scoring third round bantam pick the team has ever had. Randall Gelech, a third round pick from 1999, had 112 career points in a Rockets uniform. Baillie has 153 career points including 68 goals and 85 assists.
This and That: Madison Bowey leads the WHL with 8 power play assists…Nick Merkley is tied for second in WHL scoring with 15 points. Merkley now has 73 points in 75 career games….Merkley had 5+4=9 after 8 games last season….Rookie Lucas Johansen earned his first career point last Tuesday with an assist in the Rockets 4-0 win over Swift Current…In six of the eight wins this season a different player has scored the game winning goal….. The Rockets are the only team in the WHL that is undefeated so far this season….Nick Merkley leads the WHL in assists with 11….Rookie Dillon Dube will represent Canada at the Under 17 World Hockey Challenge at the end of the month. Dube will play for Team White. Rockets Head Coach Dan Lambert will coach Team Red….The Rockets are an incredible 118-27-3-5 in their last 153 regular season games dating back to the start of the 2012-2013 season….The Rockets have scored five shorthanded goals this season. Last season the team managed 13 shorthanded goals and had the best penalty killing unit in the WHL…Colton Heffley played in his 250th career game last Tuesday against the Swift Current Broncos…. The Rockets have scored a power play goal in six of eight games…The opposition has opened the scoring in five of the eight games….The Rockets have out-shot the opposition in all eight games this season…Last season after eight games the Rockets were 5-1-0-2…The Rockets are 0 for 6 on the power play in their last two games…The Rockets are 6 for 6 on the penalty kill in their last two games…Former Rockets d-man Nolan Yonkman is the captain this season of the Adirondack Flames, the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Calgary Flames. The baby Flames are guided by former Rockets head coach Ryan Huska….Former Rockets d-man Scott Hannan played in his one thousandth NHL game Tuesday night for the San Jose Sharks. Hannan has played with five teams including, Nashville, Calgary, Colorado, Washington and the Sharks. Current assistant coach Kris Mallette was a teammate of Hannan’s during the 1997-98 season when Hannan had 10+30=40 with the Rockets.
Former Rockets leaders in NHL games played:
#1 Scott Hannan: 1000
#2 Duncan Keith: 688
#3 Travis Moen: 681
#4 Vernon Fiddler: 658
#5 Shea Weber: 609
#6: Josh Gorges: 563