Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets face the Prince George Cougars for the third consecutive game. The two teams hooked up for a pair of games last weekend in Prince George, with the Cougars winning last Friday (3-0) before the Rockets came through with a convincing win (6-2) Saturday night. In Saturday’s win, Tyson Baillie recorded five points (2+3=5) and Dillon Dube had a four point night (2+2=4) in the lopsided victory. Michael Herringer was terrific in goal, making 35 saves and was named the first star. The Rockets open their longest home stand of the season tonight against the Cougars. The team will play four consecutive games at Prospera Place, which include a visit from the Calgary Hitmen tomorrow night and Prince George (October 30th) and Lethbridge (October 31st). While eight of the Rockets first 11 games were on the road, six of the teams next 11 are on home ice.
Rockets vs. Cougars: These two teams met four times at Prospera Place last season. The Rockets were 2-2-0-0. The Rockets were 4-3 and 5-2 winners while the Cougars managed 4-3 and 5-3 victories.
Chartier and Merkley face Russians: Forward Rourke Chartier and Nick Merkley have both been named to the WHL team that will face the Russian Selects in the Subway Super Series. Games will be played November 9th in Kelowna and November 10th in Kamloops. The games are designed to give Hockey Canada an evaluation of the players they believe should receive an invite to the World Junior main camp in December.
Getting Better with Age: Tyson Baillie has six multiple point games this season. Baillie had 20 multiple point games last season. Baillie has more points (9+10=19) after 11 games than he had after 11 games (10+6=16) last season. Baillie is traditionally a strong starter to the season. Two seasons ago, Baillie had 14 points (6+8=14) after 11 regular season games. Like fine wine, the overage forward gets better with age.
Dare to Compare: The Rockets were 10-1-0-0 after 11 games last season. The Rockets are 7-4-0-0 after 11 games this season. The team has scored 45 goals so far this season. Last season after 11 games, the team found the back of the net 58 times.
Number Crunching: The Rockets are 27-7-0-0 in 34 games over the last five seasons against the Cougars. The team is 12-4-0-0 at Prospera Place against the Cougars over the last five seasons. Two of those losses at home came last season when netminder Ty Edmonds was terrific.
Who’s Hot: Tyson Baillie has 3+4=7 in his last three games…Dillon Dube has 4+3=7 in his last two games….Tomas Soustal has 6+5=11 this season. The second year forward had 8+10=18 in 65 games last season…Soustal has goals in two of his last five games…Dillon Dube has points in five of eight games this season….Lucas Johansen is one point shy of his career high for points in a season (8) set in his rookie campaign…Nick Merkley has four assists in his last two games.
Milestone Makers: Rourke Chartier has played 195 career games, which is five short of 200….Cole Linaker plays in his 192nd career game tonight which is 8 shy of 200…Nick Merkley has 153 career points after two assists Saturday vs. Prince George.….Merkley is playing in his 147th game which is 3 shy of 150…Riley Stadel is playing in his 197th career game this evening which is three shy of 200…Stadel has 94 career points.
This and That: The Rockets reduced their roster last Wednesday by sending 20 year-old Gage Quinney to the Kamloops Blazers for a third round bantam pick…Rookie defenceman Jonathan Smart has been selected by Hockey Canada to participate in the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John October 30th to November 7th...Riley Stadel has four fighting majors this season. Stadel had eight fighting majors last season….The Rockets next play three games in three nights January 29th, 30th and 31st with two of those three games on home ice….The Rockets had two players taken in the NHL draft. Nick Merkley was taken in the first round by Arizona. Devante Stephens was chosen in the 5th round by Buffalo…Cole Linaker (Oilers), Tomas Soustal (Flames) and Tyson Baillie (Flames) all received free agent tryouts…The Rockets were 3-2-0-0 in five games during the pre-season.