|Jackson Whistle - Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets play game three of a four game home stand tonight when they host the Prince George Cougars. This is the fourth meeting between the two teams in the last two weeks. The Rockets are 2-1-0-0 in the seasonal series, having beaten the Cougars by scores of 6-2 and 5-2. The Cougars won the opening game of the eight game series with a 3-0 victory back on October 16th. Following tonight’s game, these two teams won’t see each other again until January 19th. In other words, the Rockets will have played 30 games before seeing their BC Division cousins. The Rockets are coming off a 3-0 shutout win last Saturday against the Calgary Hitmen. Jackson Whistle earned his 8th career shutout while Kole Lind scored the game winning goal. The Rockets penalty killing unit was terrific going 6 for 6. The Rockets host the high flying Lethbridge Hurricanes tomorrow before opening November with seven of their next ten on the road. That includes three straight games south of the border with stops in Tri City (Tuesday Nov 3rd) and back-to-back games in Portland (Nov 6th and 7th). The Rockets have won three straight and four of their last five overall.
Chartier out/Merkley in vs. Russians: Forward Rourke Chartier will not play when Team WHL faces the Russian Selects in the Canada-Russia series November 9th and 10th. Chartier is out with an upper body injury. Nick Merkley will play in both games in Kelowna (Nov 9th) and Kamloops (Nov 10th). 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 eight multiple point games this season. Baillie had 20 multiple point games last season. Baillie has more points (9+14=23) after 13 games than he had after 13 games (10+8=18) last season. Baillie is traditionally a strong starter to the season.
Dare to Compare: The Rockets were 12-1-0-0 after 13 games last season. The Rockets are 9-4-0-0 after 13 games this season. The team has scored 53 goals so far this season. Last season after 13 games, the team found the back of the net 68 times.
Who’s Hot: Tyson Baillie has 3+8=11 in his last five games…Dillon Dube has 7+4=11 in his last four games and has collected 8 points in his last three games…Dillon Dube has points in seven of ten games this season….Lucas Johansen has as many points this season as he did all of last year…Nick Merkley has five assists in his last four games. Who’s Not: Tomas Soustal hasn’t scored in six straight games. The second year forward had five goals in his first six games of the regular season….Justin Kirkland has one point (a goal) in his last six games…Calvin Thurkauf has one goal in his last six games.
Milestone Makers: Rourke Chartier has played 195 career games, which is five short of 200….Cole Linaker plays in his 194th career game tonight which is 6 shy of 200…Nick Merkley has 155 career points.….Merkley is playing in his 149th game which is 1 shy of 150…Riley Stadel is playing in his 199th career game this evening which is one shy of 200…Stadel has 94 career points.
This and That: The Rockets have attracted the 5th most fans in the WHL as they close out the month of October. The team has attracted an average of 5,161 fans per game after five home games….In the last five seasons between the Rockets and Cougars, the Rockets have won 28 of the last 35 games between the two teams…The Rockets are 13-4-0-0 in their last 17 home games against the Cougars….Oddly, the Rockets record is better in Prince George with 15 wins in their last 18 appearances at CN Centre…Jackson Whistle has started six of the last eight games…Tyson Baillie has averaged 28 goals over his last three seasons….Rockets rookie defenceman Jonathan Smart is playing for Canada at Under 17 Challenge in Dawson Creek, Fort St. John this weekend….The Rockets reduced their roster October 14th by sending 20 year-old Gage Quinney to the Kamloops Blazers for a third round bantam pick...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.