Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Rockets vs. Americans game notes

Evan Sarthou - Shoot the Breeze Photo
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets open the month of November with the start of a three game U.S Division road trip with a stop in Tri City. This is the first of four meetings between the Rockets and Americans this season. The Rockets make a return visit March 13th. The Americans make two visits to Kelowna on January 9th and January 22nd. Last season, the Rockets started the year with 10 straight wins before having it snapped in Kennewick. Overall, the Rockets were 3-1-0-0 against the Americans last season, out-scoring them 17-7. The two teams also met in the opening round of last year’s playoffs with the Rockets winning in four straight games. Following tonight’s game, the Rockets play back-to-back games in Portland (Nov 6th and 7th). The Rockets have won five of their last seven games overall. The team’s next home game is November 11th against the visiting Vancouver Giants. 

Head to Head vs. Americans: The Rockets are 11-5-0-0 against the Americans in the last 16 meetings between the two. Winning in Tri City isn’t easy though. The Rockets are 3-5-0-0 in their last eight regular season appearances at the Toyota Center. The Rockets are 8-0-0-0 when leading after 40 minutes while the Americans haven’t won a game in seven attempts when trailing after two periods.

‘Linny’ let’s loose: Overage forward Cole Linaker is off to a great start to the season. The 20 year-old has 6+4=10 in 13 games. Last season Linaker had just two goals in his first 13 games. Linaker has goals in three straight games and goals in four of his last five. Linaker also has points in four of his last five games. Not bad for a forward who prides himself on being a strong defensive minded player.

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 nine multiple point games this season. Baillie had 20 multiple point games last season. Baillie has more points (10+17=27) after 15 games than he had after 15 games (11+8=19) last season.

This and That: Tyson Baillie and Lucas Johansen share the same birthday. The two were born on November 16th. Baillie will turn 20 while Johansen will turn 18….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 5,107 fans per game after seven home games …Jackson Whistle has started seven of the last ten 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 five  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.

Dare to Compare: The Rockets were 13-1-0-1 after 15 games last season. The Rockets are 10-5-0-0 after 15 games this season. The team has scored 59 goals so far this season. Last season after 15 games, the team found the back of the net 75 times.   

Who’s Hot: Tyson Baillie has 4+11=15 in his last seven games…Baillie is riding a five game point streak (3+10=13) over that period …Dillon Dube has 8+7=15 in his last six games and has collected 12 points in his last five games…Dillon Dube has points in nine of 12 games this season….Lucas Johansen has as many points this season as he did all of last year…Nick Merkley has 1+6=7 in his last six games. Who’s Not: Tomas Soustal hasn’t scored in seven 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 eight games…Calvin Thurkauf has one goal in his last eight games. 

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