Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Rockets/Rebels game notes

Shoot the Breeze Photography - Stadel scraps with Bleackley
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets close out a quick two game home stand tonight against the Red Deer Rebels. These two teams met 12 days ago in Red Deer with the Rebels earning a 7-4 win. Kole Lind, Justin Kirkland and Tyson Baillie scored in a losing cause while Michael Herringer made 31 saves in the setback. These two teams are meeting three times this season. They close out the seasonal series February 16th at Prospera Place. In the last Rebels visited to Kelowna, February 5, 2014, the Rockets earned a 4-3 win. The Rockets had a comfortable 4-0 lead heading into the third period before the visitors rallied back with three-third period goals. Jackson Whistle made 35 saves in the win. Following tonight’s game, the Rockets head to Prince George for back-to-back games this weekend. In fact, Kelowna will play four of the next five games against the Cougars. The two teams meet this weekend in Prince George and then renew acquaintances Friday October 23rd back at Prospera Place. The Rockets are coming off a 3-0 loss to Victoria last Friday. 

Number Crunching: In the last five seasons, the Rockets own an 8-2-0-0 record against the Rebels. The Rockets are 4-1-0-0 over the last five seasons against the Rebels at Prospera Place. Both teams have identical records of 5-3-0-0 and have surrendered ten power play goals against so far this season. Both teams are undefeated when leading after two periods. The Rockets are 3-0-0-0 while the Rebels are 4-0-0-0 after 40 minutes.

Who’s Hot: Rookie Justin Kirkland has goals in three of his last four games…Kirkland has points in five of his last six games (3+3=6)…Calvin Thurkauf has goals in three of the last five games and has points in four of his last five games. Thurkauf has 3+3=6 over that stretch…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 three games…Dillon Dube has points in four of six games this season…Tyson Baillie has three-three point games this season.

Milestone Makers: Rourke Chartier has played 195 career games, which is five short of 200…Dillon Dube played in his 50th career game Tuesday in Medicine Hat….Cole Linaker plays in his 190th career game tonight which is 10 shy of 200…Nick Merkley has 149 points – 1 shy of 150…Merkley is playing in his 144th game which is 6 shy of 150…Riley Stadel is playing in his 194th career game this evening which is six shy of 200…Stadel has 94 career points.

This and That: The Rockets are wearing special pink jerseys tonight to help raise funds for breast cancer. The jerseys will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation…Rookie Kole Lind turns 17 on Friday. Head Coach Brad Ralph blows out 35 candles on Saturday…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 three 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 play eight of their first 11 games on the road…Baillie‘s goal last Saturday in Red Deer was the 100th of his career….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…The Rockets were shut-out at home last Friday for the first time since February 8/2012 when Seattle beat Kelowna 2-0 at Prospera Place. The team went 117 consecutive home games without being shut-out.

New Kids on the Block: The Kelowna Rockets named 34 year-old Brad Ralph as the head coach on August fourth. Ralph took over from Dan Lambert, who resigned at seasons end to take an assistant coaching position with the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. Ralph is the ninth head coach in Rockets franchise history after leaving the Idaho Steelheads after three seasons in the ECHL. On defense, the team welcomes 16 year-old Cal Foote, the son of former NHL’er Adam Foote. Foote was the team’s second round bantam pick in 2013 and his younger brother Nolan was the Rockets second round pick in this past May’s draft. The Rockets selected 18 year-old Swiss forward Calvin Thurkauf in this summer’s CHL Import draft.  Other new faces include rookies Danny Gatenby (Joe’s younger brother) and 18 year-old Gordie Ballhorn, who played last season with the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines. 

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