Thursday, March 12, 2015

Rockets and Blazers clash in home and home set

Shoot the Breeze Photography
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets enter the second to final weekend of the regular season with a game against the Kamloops Blazers. This is the ninth of ten meetings between the two teams. The Rockets are 8-0-0-0, having out-scored their BC Division rivals 19-11 at Interior Savings Centre. On home ice, the Rockets have out-scored the Blazers 26-10. That total is inflated after an 11-4 win the last time these two teams met on February 18th. This is also the Rockets second to last road game of the season. The team visits the Vancouver Giants one week from tonight. Heading into game 68, the Rockets are a banged up bunch with no less than four regulars out of the line-up. The Rockets are 22-7-1-1 since the Christmas break. Overall, the Rockets have points in 18 of their last 22 games (16-4-1-1). Following tonight’s game the Rockets host the Blazers tomorrow night before welcoming the Seattle Thunderbirds on Wednesday. The team concludes the season March 20th and 21st with a home and home series against the Vancouver Giants.

Most points in a season: The Rockets have 105 points this season. How does that rate among the highest point totals in club history?
2013-2014: 118     2004-2005: 104
2002-2003: 109
2012-2013: 108
2014:2015: 105 and counting (maximum 115 points can be attained)  

Sharp Shooters vs. Blazers: Tyson Baillie has 6+9=15 in the eight games against the Blazers. Nick Merkley has a team high 12 assists in those eight games. Rourke Chartier has eight goals in seven games and has collected 13 points. Jackson Whistle has played in four games, posting a goal against average of 2.50. Rookie Jake Morrissey has played in three games with a sparkling 2.27 average and a .925 save percentage. Matt Needham leads the Blazers against the Rockets with 2+6=8. Collin Shirley has five goals in the eight games while Cole Ully has collected seven points. Connor Ingram has played in five games against the Rockets with a goal against average of 4.01 but has only been tagged with two regulation losses and a shootout loss in those appearances.     

A Banner season: The Kelowna Rockets are BC Division regular season champions. It is the 7th time the Rockets have won title since its inception in 2001-2002. The Rockets have claimed three consecutive BC Division banners (2012-2013, 2013-2014, 2014-2015) and have also won the title in 2010-2011, 2004-2005, 2003-2004 and 2002-2003. While the Rockets have won it 7 times, the Vancouver Giants have earned it five times.    

This and That: Nick Merkley’s two goal game Wednesday against Victoria was his first two goal game since January 2nd in a 6-4 win over the Blazers at ISC…Rookies Kole Lind and Jordan Borstmayer have joined the team for the remainder of the season. Both played for the Saskatoon Midget Contacts. Borstmayer is a third round pick from 2013 while Lind was the second to last player taken in the fourth round that year…Lind is the second player from Shaunavon, Saskatchewan to play for the Rockets. The other is J.J Hunter (1998-2000)….The Rockets are 9 goals shy of 300 this season. The team has scored 300 or more goals only five times in its 20 seasons in Kelowna. The team has scored 300 or more goals in two consecutive seasons…Cole Martin and Joe Gatenby share the same birthday this month. Martin turns 21 on Sunday March 15th while Gatenby blows out 18 candles mid-month….Affiliated player Alex Uryga remains with the team. The 16 year-old has played five games as an affiliated player….Nick Merkley is the fastest Rockets player to reach 100 career assists. Merkley hit the milestone in 133 career games. The record was held by Shane McColgan, who had 100 career assists in 150 career games…Rourke Chartier is 4 goals shy of 50 this season. The last Rockets player to score 50 goals was Justin Keller during the 2005-2006 season. Keller scored 51 times that year….Jackson Whistle missed ten games after undergoing appendix surgery on February 6th. The Rockets were 8-2-0-0 in those games…The Rockets have been held to just one goal six times this season. Seattle (road), Edmonton (road), Calgary (twice – once on road and once at home), Regina (home) and Prince Albert (home) have turned the trick against the highest scoring team in the Western Conference...The Kelowna Rockets have scored the second most goals on the road (142) in the WHL this season…The Rockets have lost only four times in regulation time on the road this season. Those four losses came in Victoria, Seattle, Tri City and Calgary...The Rockets have points in 13 of their last 15 road games (11-2-1-1)….The Rockets are 55-10-3-1 on opposition ice in the last two seasons…Rourke Chartier has missed six games with an UBI…Justin Kirkland has missed ten straight games with a LBI…Josh Morrissey is missing his fifth straight game tonight with a lower body injury.     

Dare to Compare: The Rockets have a record of 50-12-4-1 this season, good for 105 points. After 67 games last season the team was 53-10-0-4, which was good for 110 points. The team has scored 291 goals this season. At the same time last year after 67 games, 286 goals were scored and 170 goals were given up. This season the team has surrendered 169 goals against.  

Streaking: Madison Bowey is riding a seven game point streak. Bowey has 1+6=7 over that stretch….Leon Draisaitl has a twelve game point streak (9+15=24). Driasaitl had a career high thirteen game point streak last season as a member of the PA Raiders…Tyson Baillie has points in 11 of his last 15 games. Baillie has six goals and thirteen assists (6+13=19).…Leon Draisaitl has twenty-seven points (9+18=27) in his last fifteen  games…Draisaitl has goals in seven of his last games 9…Nick Merkley has 3+3=6 in his last three games. 

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