|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Tonight’s Preview: After playing six of their first seven games on the road, the Kelowna Rockets are back at home tonight to face the Victoria Royals. It is a rematch of last season’s second round playoff series between the two teams. The Rockets beat the Royals 4 games to 1. The only win for the Royals was 5-4 in overtime in game four to avoid the sweep. The Rockets won game five with a 7-3 win. This is the first of eight meetings between the two teams. They meet again in Victoria for back-to-back games on November 27th and 28th. After tonight, the Royals are back at Prospera Place January 2nd. These two teams met eight times last season with the Rockets earning a record of 5-3-0-0. The Rockets were 3-1-0-0 at home and 2-2-0-0 on the road. The defending WHL champions are coming off a six game road trip which saw them win four of those six games. The team is coming off a 6-5 win in Medicine Hat Tuesday night. Nick Merkley scored the game winning goal in the third period in the clubs fifth victory of the season. Calvin Thurkauf had a goal and an assist and was named the first star. Jackson Whistle made 33 saves to improve to 4-0-0-0. Following tonight’s game, the Rockets host Red Deer on Wednesday before heading back on the road to face the Prince George Cougars next weekend.
Number Crunching: The Rockets and Royals are both undefeated this season when leading after two periods. The Royals are 5-0-0-0 while the Rockets are 3-0-0-0 after 40 minutes….Both these teams have eight power play goals this season….The Rockets have been out-shot in five of their first seven games…The Rockets are 18-11-2-1 in their last five seasons against the Royals.
Who’s Hot: Rookie Justin Kirkland is riding a three game goal scoring streak…Kirkland has a five game point streak (3+3=6)…Calvin Thurkauf has goals in three of the last four games and is riding a four game point streak. Thaurkauf 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 back-to-back games…Dillon Dube has points in four of five games this season…Tyson Baillie has three-three point games this season…Jackson Whistle is flawless this season with a record of 4-0-0-0.
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 played in his 189th career game tonight which is 11 shy of 200…Nick Merkley has 149 points – 1 shy of 150…Merkley is playing in his 143rd game which is 7 shy of 150…Riley Stadel is playing in his 193rd career game this evening which is seven shy of 200…Stadel has 94 career points.
This and That: Riley Stadel has three fighting majors this season. Stadel had eight fighting majors last season….Following games against Victoria and Red Deer, the Rockets will face the Prince George Cougars in four of their next five games…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….If Baillie stays healthy and plays in every game this season, the 20 year-old will end his career with 331 games under his belt… 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.