|Tyson Baillie checking out a drill at Brandt Centre|
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets open an Eastern Division road trip tonight against the Regina Pats. The team will play those six games in 9 nights. This is the one and only meeting of the season between the two teams. Last season, the Pats earned a 3-1 victory at Prospera Place. Rourke Chartier scored the lone goal while Jackson Whistle made 33 saves in the setback. In the Rockets last visit to Regina, December 14, 2013, Myles Bell scored in overtime in a 5-4 win. Tyson Baillie had 1+3=4.
The Rockets have won three straight games at the Brandt Centre. The last loss was a 4-3 setback on December 9, 2007 when Jordan Eberle scored the game winner. Luke Schenn and Jamie Benn scored goals for the Rockets in a losing cause. The Rockets have won 17 of their last 21 games overall (17-3-0-1) and are 12-2-0-0 on home ice and 10-4-1-0 on the road. Overall; the Rockets have points in 14 of 15 games (13-1-1-0). Following tonight’s game, the Rockets are in Brandon tomorrow night, visit Swift Current (Tuesday), Moose Jaw (Wednesday), Prince Albert ( next Friday) and Saskatoon (Saturday December 19th).
Eastern Division Roady Results:
2013-2014: 6-0-0-0=12 points
2011-2012: 2-2-2-0=6 points
2009-2010: 3-3-0-0=6 points
2007-2008: 3-1-2-0=8 points
2005-2006: 6-0-0-0=12 points
Shot to the Heart: Since recording a season low 15 shots on net four games ago in Victoria, the Rockets have fired 151 pucks at the opposing goaltender, or an average of 50.3 shots on net in the last three games.
Eight Is Enough: The Rockets are riding an eight game home ice winning streak. The team’s last loss at Prospera Place was October 30th against the Prince George Cougars (2-1 L). In seven of those eight games, the team has scored four or more goals. In those eight home ice wins, the team has allowed three or more goals only once when beat Lethbridge 5-3.
World Junior Bound? Nick Merkley and Rourke Chartier have been named to the selection camp roster for Hockey Canada’s World Junior team. Both players attended the summer evaluation camp with Merkley playing for the WHL in the Canada-Russia Challenge last month in Kelowna and Kamloops. Chartier was unable to play because of injury. Ex-Rockets goaltender Jordan Cooke was named to the university team that will face Hockey Canada’s junior team in two exhibition games December 12th and 13th. The upcoming World Juniors Hockey Championships are in Finland at Christmas.
Whistle Racking Up Winning Record: Twenty year-old Jackson Whistle is going after his 84th career win in a Kelowna Rockets uniform this evening. Here are the franchise leaders:
1) Adam Brown: 107 wins
2) Jordan Cooke: 92 wins
3) Jackson Whistle: 83 wins
4) Kelly Guard: 83 wins
This and That: Riley Stadel returns to the line-up after missing 14 games with an UBI…Tyson Baillie has 2+3=5 in two career games in Regina…For a third consecutive week the Rockets are rated as the 4th best team in the CHL Top 10 rankings….Tomas Soustal will attend the Czech Republic’s training camp in an effort to earn a spot on its World Junior team…Calvin Thurkauf will represent Switzerland at the World Junior’s….The Rockets play 12 games in December with 7 of those 12 on the road…Three members of the Rockets have been rated by NHL Central Scouting. Lucas Johansen and Dillon Dube are rated as ‘B’ prospects for June’s draft in Buffalo. Tomas Soustal, who was not selected last year, is ranked as a ‘C’ prospect…Rookie Gordie Ballhorn and Joe Gatenby lead the Rockets with a +16 ratings…Rodney Southam is two goals shy from his career high 7 goals he scored last season…Cal Foote is the next player to blow out candles. Foote turns 17 on December 13th.….Seven of Justin Kirkland’s 10 goals have been scored on the road this season….Jackson Whistle has started 18 of the last 23 games.
Who’s Hot: Tyson Baillie has points in 17 of his last 19 games...Baillie had his 9 game point streak snapped last Saturday. Baillie had 6+11=17 over that stretch…Justin Kirkland has points in 6 of his last 7 games. Kirkland has 2+11=13 over that period…Cole Linaker has points in six of his last seven games. Linaker has 3+5=8 over that stretch…Dillon Dube has 10+11=21 in his last 15 games….Lucas Johansen has 8 more point this season as he did all of last year.