|Leon Draisaitl meeting with Kelowna media Tuesday|
Tonight’s Preview: Welcome to Prospera Place! The Rockets play their 41st game of the season tonight by hosting the Vancouver Giants. This is only the fourth of eight meetings between the two teams’ this season with the Rockets owning a 3-0-0-0 record. In those three games, the Rockets have out-scored the G-Men 17-8. The Rockets have won by scores of 7-5 (Oct 1), 5-3 (Nov 2) and 5-0 (Nov 8). Following tonight’s game the Rockets make three straight appearances in Vancouver on February 27th, March 6th and March 20th. The Giants last regular season appearance in Kelowna after tonight is March 21st. The Rockets are coming off a 4-3 win over the Prince George Cougars Saturday night. Justin Kirkland, Nick Merkley, Dillon Dube and Tomas Soustal scored in the teams’ 31st win of the season. Following tonight’s game the Rockets are in Kamloops Friday night before opening their longest home stand of the season. The team will play five straight games at home with dates against Medicine Hat, Tri City, Seattle and a double header against the Everett Silvertips. This is the fifth game of six straight against teams in the BC Division.
Willkommen Leon: The Kelowna Rockets welcome 19 year-old German born Leon Draisaitl to the organization. Draisaitl was obtained from the Prince Albert Raiders Tuesday for 18 year-old forward Kris Schmidli, 18 year-old defenceman Dalton Yorke, a first round bantam pick in 2015 and two-4th round bantam selections. Draisaitl is a first round pick of the Edmonton Oilers and played the first three months with the NHL team before being sent back to junior. Draisaitl is making his Rockets debut tonight by wearing sweater #29, the same number he wore in Edmonton and the WHL team that originally held his CHL rights, the Prince Albert Raiders.
It’s Gold Baby! Congratulations to Kelowna Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton and defencemen Josh Morrissey and Madison Bowey for winning goal for Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships. Hamilton was a member of the management committee for Team Canada. Morrissey and Bowey became the 7th and 8th players in Rockets history to earn a gold medal for Canada at the tournament. The others were Jamie Benn and Tyler Myers in 2009, Luke Schenn in 2008, Blake Comeau in 2006, Shea Weber in 2005 and Robb Gordon in 1996.
Three Star Balloting:
Player: 1st Star 2nd Star 3rd Star Total
Jackson Whistle: 7 3 2 12
Rourke Chartier: 5 4 2 11
Nick Merkley: 5 2 4 11
Tyson Baillie: 1 5 2 8
Madison Bowey: 2 2 3 7
*Other first star winners are: Tyrell Goulbourne and Cole Martin.
This and That: Leon Draisaitl has 163 points in 128 WHL regular season games….Draisaitl had 10-3 point games last season and five-four point games last season…In Draisaitl’s last 19 games last season, he recorded points in 17 of those games…Tyson Baillie has 26 goals, which is the same career high number of goals he scored in his 17 year-old season….Baillie earned his 100th career assist Saturday night on Dillon Dube’s goal…Cole Linaker now has 24 points this season, a career high…Nick Merkley has 8+24=32 against BC Division opponents this season….Tyson Baillie has 14 goals against BC Division opponents…Rourke Chartier’s longest scoring drought is just three games…..Rourke Chartier signed a contact with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks last Wednesday. Chartier was a 5th round pick of the Sharks from 2014….The Rockets won their 30th game January 2nd; marking the 14th time in the last 15 seasons the franchise has achieved that mark. The only blemish over that stretch was a 22 win season in 2006-2007, the only time they have failed to make the playoffs….The Rockets are 38-8-1-1 in the last two seasons against teams in the BC Division…Nick Merkley will represent the WHL at the Top Prospects game later this month in St. Catharine’s Ontario….The Rockets have not been shut-out in 116 consecutive games. The last time the Rockets were held without a goal was March 3, 2013 in a 3-0 loss in Kamloops…Cole Martin is playing in career game #249 tonight vs. the Giants….Martin is one point shy of his career high 22 points set in 2012-2013..Did you know Martin is +135 over the last three seasons…
Who’s Hot: Tyson Baillie is riding a 6 game point streak. Baillie has 5+4=9 over that period…Rourke Chartier has a four game point streak. The 18 year-old has 3+2=5 over that period…Chartier has points in 11 of his last 12 games…Cole Martin has 10 assists in his last 8 games…Justin Kirkland is riding a 8 game point streak. Kirkland has 5+9=14 over that stretch. Kirkland had a 6 game point streak in early October…Dillon Dube has 8 goals in his last 12 games…Rourke Chartier has 11 more goals (35) than he had all of last season. Chartier has goals in 18 of his last 23 games….Nick Merkley has 9+26=35 in his last 24 games.
Closing in on 40: Rourke Chartier has 35 goals, which is 5 shy of 40 on the season. The last Rockets player to score 40 goals was Myles Bell, who found the back of the net 42 times last season. Bell scored 38 times as an 18 year-old. So this question must be asked. Who was the last 18 year-old Kelowna Rockets player (Chartier is 18) to score 40 goals? Only one player has accomplished that feat. Brett McLean scored 44 times as an 18 year-old during the 1996-97 campaign. McLean had 44+60=104. Jamie Benn scored 33 goals as an 18 year-old and Justin Keller, a former 50 goal scorer, found the back of the net 31 times as an 18 year-old.