Tonight’s Preview: It is a rematch of last season’s Western Conference championship series as the Kelowna Rockets visit the Portland Winterhawks. The Winterhawks won that series in five games. The Rockets played back-to-back regular season games in Oregon State last season. On December 31st the Rockets were a 9-3 winner and then rang in the New Year with a 7-2 victory. In Kelowna, the Rockets skated to 6-2 and 6-3 wins. Overall in those four regular season games the Rockets out-scored the Winterhawks 28-10. Following tonight’s game the two teams meet on Saturday night at the Moda Center. Two games are scheduled back at Prospera Place when the Winterhawks pay a visit on November 21st and 22nd to close out the seasonal series. Following these two games in Portland, the Rockets are in Vancouver on Sunday before hosting the Victoria Royals on November 5th. The Rockets open a stretch of games playing 8 of their next 11 on the road.
Rockets pick up goalie: The Rockets have added 18 year-old goaltender Michael Herringer to the roster. Herringer was listed by the Rockets a few weeks ago after being released by the Saskatoon Blades. The Blades obtained the Haitian born goalie in a trade with Victoria back in September. The Comox, BC resident was originally drafted by the Royals in the 9th round of the 2011 WHL draft.
Do you remember? The Winterhawks were 25-8-2-2 when the Rockets met them down in Portland for back-to-back regular season games last season. Portland was also without three top players in Brendan Leipsic, Nic Petan and Derek Pouliot. All three were playing for Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship. Kelowna Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton was a member of the management committee for Team Canada.
By the numbers: Nick Merkley has 10 points 1+9=10 in his last six games…Madison Bowey has 7 points (4+3=7) in his last six games…Tyson Baillie hasn’t scored in five games. Baillie started the season with 7 goals in his first five games…Madison Bowey is 3 goals shy of 50 for their career…Rourke Chartier is 4 goals shy of 50 for his career…..Riley Stadel is 4 penalty minutes shy of 100 for his career…Austin Glover leads the team with a +14 rating…Justin Kirkland is 8 games shy of 100 for his career…Tyrell Goulbourne is 10 penalty minutes shy of 400….Jackson Whistle has 6 career shutouts.
Bowey/Baillie represents WHL: Captain Madison Bowey and 19 year-old forward Tyson Baillie will represent the Western Hockey League in the Subway Super Series in November. Games against the Russian Selects will take place in Saskatoon November 10th and in Brandon November 11th.
This and That: Nick Merkley leads the WHL with 12 power play assists… The Kelowna Rockets are rated as the top team in this week’s CHL Top 10 junior rankings. This is the fourth consecutive time they have been rated #1….Jackson Whistle is the CHL Goaltender of the Week. The 19 year-old earned back-to-back victories last week over Tri City and Brandon while posting a goals against average of 0.50. Whistle earned a shutout over that period with a 4-0 win over the Tri City Americans….You will notice a change behind the Kelowna Rockets bench tonight against the Winterhawks. Head Coach Dan Lambert is coaching one of three Canadian entries at the Under 17 World Hockey Challenge in Sarnia/Lambton Ontario. Assistant Coach Kris Mallette will gun for his first career WHL coaching victory this evening and fellow assistant Travis Crickard will be helping guide the team for the next six games until Lambert returns November 11th against Spokane….The Rockets are an incredible 122-28-3-5 in their last 158 regular season games dating back to the start of the 2012-2013 season….The Rockets have scored seven 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 WHL game October 7th against the Swift Current Broncos…. The Rockets have scored a power play goal in ten of 13 games this season…The opposition has opened the scoring in eight of the thirteen games….The Rockets have out-shot the opposition in ten of the thirteen games this season…Austin Glover has points in five of his last seven games. Glover has 4+3=7 over that stretch. Glover has points in eight of the 12 games he has played in this season…Nick Merkley has been held pointless only twice this season.