Tonight’s Preview: It is a rematch of last season’s Western Conference championship series as the Kelowna Rockets host the Portland Winterhawks. This is the Winterhawks first game back at Prospera Place after winning two of three games in the WCF on the road. After the Rockets won game one 5-4, the Winterhawks would win game two (5-3) and game five (7-3). These two teams have met twice this season – in Portland – with the Rockets earning a 5-0 win (Oct 30th) before falling 3-2 in overtime (Nov 1st). These two teams meet again tomorrow night. The Rockets completed a five game road trip Wednesday in Victoria with a 5-3 win. The Rockets picked up 9 out of a possible 10 points on the trip, outscoring the opposition 24-15. Following these two games against the Winterhawks, the Rockets travel to Tri City to face the Americans this Wednesday. This is the teams 5th game in 8 nights. Overall, the Rockets have points in 13 straight games (11-0-2-0).
The Big Three: Leading point producers Nick Merkley, Rourke Chartier and Tyson Baillie have combined for 114 points. Merkley, Chartier and Baillie have also combined to score 50 of the teams’ 118 goals this season. Merkley is rated as an ‘A’ prospect by NHL Central Scouting for this summer’s draft. Teammate Joe Gatenby and Tomas Soustal are ‘C’ prospect in the November rankings.
Who’s Hot: Jesse Lees is riding a five game point streak. Lees has 3+7=10 over that period…Tyson Baillie has five goals in his last four games and is riding a four game point streak (5+5=10) ...Rourke Chartier has as many goals (24) as he did all of last season. Chartier has goals in 11 of his last 12 games….Nick Merkley has 4+12=16 in his last nine games and is riding a nine game point streak…Madison Bowey has been held off the score-sheet just five times this season (@Tri City/vs. SC/vs. Giants/@PG/@Vic).
League Leaders: Nick Merkley leads the WHL in points with 42…Nick Merkley has 19 power play assists, the most in the WHL…Merkley leads the league in assists with 34…Rourke Chartier leads the WHL with 24 goals scored…Rourke Chartier leads the WHL with a +22...Chartier leads the WHL in game winning goals with 7…Jackson Whistle leads the WHL in wins with 16.
This and That: The Rockets were officially inducted into the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame during a ceremony Thursday morning. The 2004 Memorial Cup winning team was honored for winning major junior hockey’s top prize...Did you know the Rockets allowed just three goals in four games at the 2004 Memorial Cup? The Rockets won by scores of 1-0, 4-1, 2-1 and in the tournament final by a 2-1 score…Eight members of the 2004 M.C winning team played at least one game in the NHL….The Rockets are 17-1-0-0 in their last 18 regular season home games dating back to last season….Last season the Rockets beat the Winterhawks in both regular season games at Prospera Place by scores of 6-2 and 6-3….Rodney Southam has five fighting majors in 8 games with the Rockets this season. Southam has four tilts in his last five games…The Rockets have just completed a stretch of playing 11 of their last 16 games on the road….Tonight the Rockets are entering a portion of their schedule playing 6 of their next 7 games on home ice….The Rockets and the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs are the only teams’ in the CHL without a regulation loss on home ice this season. The Sea Dogs are 8-0-0-2…Austin Glover has missed 5 straight games with an injury….Tuesday’s overtime loss in Victoria was the first time the Rockets have suffered a setback after leading after 40 minutes…The Rockets have the most points in the CHL (44) and have scored the most goals (118)….The Rockets have been held to three goals or less only four times this season…. The Rockets have scored 5 or more goals on the road in 10 of their 15 road games this season. Last year they score 5 or more goals 15 times on opposition ice….Nick Merkley hit the 100 point plateau with an empty net goal Wednesday night in Victoria…Merkley has 13 multiple point games…The Rockets are rated as the best team according to this week’s CHL Top10 junior rankings….Rourke Chartier tied the longest goal scoring streak in Kelowna Rockets franchise history. With goals in ten straight games, Chartier tied Jesse Schultz, who originally set the mark in the 2002-2003 season.…Rourke Chartier had his 13 game point streak on the road snapped Tuesday night in Victoria. The 18 year-old has 18 of his 24 goals on opposition ice….Chartier has been held off the score-sheet four times this season…The Rockets are an incredible 131-28-5-5 in their last 169 regular season games dating back to the start of the 2012-2013 season….In case you are wondering, the Rockets have not been shutout in 101 consecutive games. The last time the Rockets were held without a goal was March 3, 2013 in a 3-0 loss in Kamloops…Tyrell Goulbourne hit the 400 penalty minute mark in his career with a fight against Victoria’s Taylor Crunk Wednesday night. Goulbourne has 6 goals in his last 6 games.