Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Rockets/Royals one final time!

Leon Draisaitl vs. Royals (Kevin Light Photo)
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets close out a two game home stand tonight when they welcome the Victoria Royals. This is the eighth and final meeting of the season between the two teams. The Rockets are 5-1-0-1 in the first seven games, having out-scored the Royals 29-19. In the last meeting between these two teams, February 25th, the Rockets earned a 4-2 victory. The Rockets tied a CHL record with a 5-2 win over visiting Spokane Saturday night. It was the hockey clubs 50th of the season, the third straight year the team has hit the 50 bench mark. The CHL record of three consecutive seasons with 50 or more wins is held by the Rockets (2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015), the Kamloops Blazers (1988-1989, 1989-1990, and 1990-1991), Edmonton Oil Kings (2011-2012, 2012-2013 and 2013-2014) and the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs (2009-2010, 2010-2011 and 2011-2012). The Rockets are 22-6-1-1 since the Christmas break. Overall, the Rockets have points in 18 of their last 21 games (16-3-1-1). Following tonight’s game the Rockets are in Kamloops Friday before hosting the Blazers Saturday night. Of the six games left in the regular season, four are on home ice. The only road games are in Kamloops and Vancouver.

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 117 points can be attained)  

Sharp Shooters vs. Royals: Tyson Baillie leads all players with 5+4=9 in six games against the Royals in the seven game seasonal series. Madison Bowey also has nine points with 2+7=9. Leon Draisaitl has played only three games against Victoria, yet has amassed 3+5=8 points. Nick Merkley also has eight points in the seven games with 2+6=8. Michael Herringer has seen action in five of the seven games and has posted a record of 4-1-0-0 with a goals against average of 2.80 and a save percentage of .907. Brandon Magee leads all Royals with 4+4=8.     

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: The Rockets are 12 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 March 15th while Gatenby blows out 18 candles mid month….Affiliated player Alex Uryga remains with the team. The 16 year-old has played three games as an affiliated player….Mitch Wheaton is practicing with the team but is still not taking contact. The 19 year-old is expected to return to the line-up either next week or the first round of the WHL playoffs…Nick Merkley is the fastest Rockets player to reach 100 career assists. Merkley hit the milestone Saturday giving him 100 assists in 133 career games. The record was held by Shane McColgan, who had 100 career assists in 150 career games…Of the Rockets four regulation losses on the road this season, three of them have come in the second of back to back games….six of the eleven losses this season have been suffered in the second of back to back 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 five games with an UBI…Justin Kirkland has missed nine straight games with a LBI…Tate Coughlin’s goal Saturday night was his first in 46 games…Last season the team ended the final six games of the regular season with a record of 5-1-0-0…Sixteen year-old’s Marcus Mitchell and Danny Gatenby practiced with the team this week. Both played this season with the Okanagan Midget Rockets. Gatenby is the younger brother of current Rockets defenceman Joe Gatenby. Mitchell is a listed player. 

Dare to Compare: The Rockets have a record of 50-11-4-1 this season, good for 105 points. After 66 games last season the team was 52-10-0-4, which was good for 108 points. The team has scored 288 goals this season. At the same time last year after 66 games, 283 goals were scored and 169 goals were given up. This season the team has surrendered 163 goals against.   

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