Tonight’s Preview: This game tonight features arguably the two best d-cores in the WHL. The Swift Current Broncos provide the opposition in the lone meeting of the season between the two teams. This is the first Eastern Conference opponent the Rockets have faced this season. These two teams met once last season – in Swift Current – with the Rockets earning a 4-2 win back on December 10/2013. The Rockets scored three-third period goals in the win while firing 44 shots on Broncos goaltender Eetu Laurikainen. The Broncos haven’t made an appearance at Prospera Place since December 5/12. Adam Lowry scored three times in the loss as the Rockets battled back and scored four-third period goals. Cody Fowlie had a goal and two assists in the win. The Rockets are riding a six game winning streak overall. Following tonight’s game, the Rockets welcome the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Saturday.
Lambert/Broncos Connection: Rockets head coach Dan Lambert played four seasons with the Broncos from 1986-1990. Lambert was a part of the Broncos Memorial Cup championship team in 1989 and was named the Memorial Cup MVP. Lambert had a career high 25 goals and 77 assists = 102 points in 1988-89. In July of 2012, Lambert went back to Swift Current where the 1989 championship team was inducted into the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame. Lambert is also inducted into the Broncos Hall of Fame where a plaque of his likeness is displayed at the Broncos home arena. Lambert holds the club record for assists in a career with 244.
Attaboy Bowey! Kelowna Rockets defenceman Madison Bowey is the WHL Player of the Week. Bowey scored two goals and added six assists for eight points while posting a plus-seven rating in three games over the past week, helping the Rockets to three wins in that span.
The Merkley’s: Tonight’s game features Nick Merkley facing his older brother Jay of the Broncos. Jay was the 3rd player selected in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft by the Lethbridge Hurricanes while Nick was picked 9th overall in the 2012 draft. Jay scored 34 goals last season. Nick had 25 goals in his rookie season. Jay is undrafted while Nick is projected to be a first round selection in the 2015 NHL draft.
Tyson Time: Tyson Baillie leads the WHL in goals with 8. Baillie has scored a goal in all six games he has played this season. It is the longest scoring streak of his career. The 19 year-old hit the 150 career point mark in Everett last Friday. The 19 year-old is playing in his 198th career game tonight against the Broncos.
This and That: Broncos assistant coach Josh Dixon was an assistant coach to Dan Lambert at the Under 17’s for Team West last season in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Dixon and Lambert will also be coaching with Team Canada at this year’s event in Sarnia…The Rockets have seven goals from the blue line this season…In all six 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….The Rockets are rated as the 4th best team in Canada according to this week’s CHL Top 10 Junior rankings…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 116-27-3-5 in their last 151 regular season games dating back to the start of the 2012-2013 season….Riley Stadel is off to another terrific start this season. The 18 year-old has 10 points in his first six games. Last season in his first nine games, Stadel manufactured seven goals and 12 points…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 plays in his 250th career game tonight against the Broncos team he watched as a kid. Heffley was born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan…The Rockets have scored a power play goal in all six games…The opposition has opened the scoring in four of the six games….The Rockets have out-shot the opposition in all six games this season…
Goulby Gallops Back: The Kelowna Rockets get faster and tougher with the return of 20 year-old Tyrell Goulbourne. The Edmonton product returned to the team Thursday night after attending the training camp of the Philadelphia Flyers. A third round pick from 2013, Goulbourne scored a career high 17 goal and collected 37 points in 68 games last season. In three full seasons with the Rockets, ‘Goulby’ has registered 385 penalty minutes and is regarded as one of the fastest skaters on the team.