Friday, December 12, 2014

Rockets game notes vs. Tigers

Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets play game two of a five game Alberta road trip tonight against the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Rockets are playing five games in eight nights’ which includes stops in Calgary (Sunday), Edmonton (December 16th) and Red Deer (December 17th). The team only plays back-to-back games once on this road trip with stops in Edmonton and then a night later against the Rebels. On Wednesday night, Dillon Dube scored twice and added an assist in a 4-3 shootout win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Nick Merkley scored the game winning goal in the shootout. Rodney Southam added his second goal in a Rockets uniform in the teams’ 25th win of the season. This is the first of two meetings between the Rockets and Tigers this season. They meet again in Kelowna on January 10th – trade deadline day in the WHL. Last season the Rockets were 2-0-0-0 with a 5-4 victory and a 4-3 win. Overall, the Rockets have a record of 5-3-2-0 in their last 10 games. The Rockets return home after the Christmas break to host the Kamloops Blazers on December 27th.

Blockbuster Deal: The Kelowna Rockets pulled off a four player deal with the Prince Albert Raiders Wednesday night. The Rockets acquired 19 year-old Josh Morrissey and 19 year-old Gage Quinney from the Raiders for 19 year-old Jesse Lees, 18 year-old Austin Glover and a 2nd and 3rd round draft pick. Morrissey is attempting to make Canada’s entry at the World Junior Hockey Championships while Quinney is making his debut tonight with his new team after playing Tuesday night in Vancouver with the Raiders.

Digging Deeper: Josh Morrissey is a first round pick of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. Morrissey was an Eastern Conference 1st team all-star last season, recording 28 goals on the Raiders blue line. Morrissey is also the older brother of Rockets rookie goaltender Jake Morrissey. Gage Quinney was born in Las Vegas Nevada when his father Ken (born in Quesnel BC) was playing down there for the Las Vegas Thunder of the defunct International Hockey League. Quinney’s father was a 10th round NHL pick of the Quebec Nordiques and is a former teammate of Rockets head coach Dan Lambert. Gage’s brother Landon is listed by the Moose Jaw Warriors.                

First to 30: Rourke Chartier became the first Kelowna Rockets player to reach 30 goals in under 30 games. Chartier has 31 goals in 28 games after scoring twice on Wednesday. That breaks the old mark of the quickest player to 30 goals, set by Brett McLean, who scored 30 goals in 30 games in the 1997-98 season. Here are other Rockets players to reach 30 goals in a short period of time. 
1)     Rourke Chartier: 30 goals in 28 games (2014-2015).
2)     Brett McLean: 30 goals in 30 games (1997-98).
3)     Jamie Benn: 30 goals in 36 games (2008-2009).
4)     Jason Deleurme: 30 goals in 36 games (1997-98).
5)     Chuck Kobasew: 30 goals in 39 games (2001-2002).   

The Saskatoon Sniper: Rourke Chartier had 18+10=28 in the month of November. In 14 games, Chartier scored a goal in 12 of them. The 18 year-old had points in 13 of those 14 games. Chartier had 9 multiple point games in the month. Chartier had 6-3 point games and three-two point games. By comparison, last seasons’ WHL scoring champion Mitch Holmberg had 12+14=26 in November. The only player to record more points over the last five seasons in the month of November is Portland’s Brendan Leipsic. Leipsic had 9+21=30 in November 2012.

Walking wounded: 
Tanner Wishnowski: missed 32 games   Mitch Wheaton: missed 28 games
Dillon Dube: missed 25 games                Dalton Yorke: missed 14 games
Joe Gatenby: missed 7 games                Jake Morrissey: missed 6 games. 
Justin Kirkland: missed 6 games             Cole Martin: missed 1 game
Total # of games = 134 man games lost to injury. (Unofficial)
*16 games lost by departed players Glover and Lees.

World Junior Bound: Congratulations Madison Bowey, Josh Morrissey and Rourke Chartier for being three of 29 players named to Team Canada’s training camp roster for the WJHC. Kelowna Rockets forward Kris Schmidli will participate in the upcoming World Junior’s with Switzerland. Rockets majority owner Bruce Hamilton is a member of Team Canada’s management team.

This and That: Gage Quinney’s dad Ken played four seasons with the WHL’s Calgary Wranglers…Quinney’s mother is from Nova Scotia…Nick Merkley is playing in his 100th career game tonight in Medicine Hat…The Rockets have had 12 players play for Canada at World Junior Hockey Championship. Tyler Myers, Luke Schenn (twice), Tyson Barrie, Shea Weber, Josh Gorges, Brandon McMillan, Blake Comeau, Chuck Kobasew, Brett McLean, Jamie Benn and Robb Gordon.…Rourke Chartier was named the WHL Player of the month for November…Nick Merkley is rated 22nd by the International Scouting Service for this June’s NHL draft….The Rockets have been held to three goals or less only 8 times this season…The Rockets are rated as the second best team in Canada according to the CHL Top 10 junior rankings…Nick Merkley has 16 multiple point games….Rourke Chartier and Nick Merkley have been held off the score-sheet five times this season…In case you are wondering, the Rockets have not been shut-out in 107 consecutive games. The last time the Rockets were held without a goal was March 3, 2013 in a 3-0 loss in Kamloops.
Who’s Hot: Tyson Baillie has six goals in his last 12 games and has points in 9 of his last 15…Over that period, the 19 year-old has (8+7=15)...Rourke Chartier has eight more goals (32) than he had all of last season. Chartier has goals in 16 of his last 19 games….Nick Merkley has 6+20=26 in his last 17 games…Madison Bowey has 93 points in his last 100 regular season games.     

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