|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets play game three of an Eastern Division road trip tonight against the Swift Current Broncos. It is the lone meeting of the season between the two teams. Last season, in Kelowna, the Rockets were a 4-0 winner (Oct 7/2014). In the Rockets last appearance in Swift Current (Dec 10/2013), Ryan Olsen scored once and added an assist in a 4-2 win. The Rockets are 1-1-0-0 on the road trip after a 4-3 win in Regina Friday night and a disappointing 5-1 loss in Brandon Saturday night. Lucas Johansen had the lone goal in the teams 7th setback of the season in a rematch of last season’s WHL final. The Rockets have won 18 of their last 23 games overall (18-4-0-1) and are 12-2-0-0 on home ice and 11-5-1-0 on the road. Overall; the Rockets have points in 15 of 17 games (14-2-1-0). Following tonight’s game, the Rockets are in Moose Jaw (Wednesday), Prince Albert (Friday) and Saskatoon (Saturday December 19th). Overall, the team has won four of its last five games.
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
Home Ice Success: 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.
Oh Canada! Nick Merkley and Rourke Chartier are off to Finland. Hockey Canada made several cuts on Sunday and Merkley and Chartier will fly with the team to the World Junior Hockey Championships. The Rockets have been well represented at the World Juniors. Madison Bowey, Josh Morrissey and GM Bruce Hamilton came home with a gold medal last year from the prestigious tournament. Other notable players from the Rockets that have played for Canada include: Jamie Benn, Tyler Myers, Brandon McMillan, Tyson Barrie, Luke Schenn, Blake Comeau, Shea Weber, Josh Gorges, Chuck Kobasew, Brett McLean and Robb Gordon. If Merkley and Chartier stick, they will be the 14th and 15th players from the Rockets to play for Team Canada.
Whistle Racking Up Winning Record: Twenty year-old Jackson Whistle is going after his 85th 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: 84 wins
4) Kelly Guard: 83 wins
This and That: The Rockets have just three players on their roster (excluding Rourke Chartier from Saskatoon) from Saskatchewan in their line up on this road trip. Kole Lind is from nearby Shaunavon while Rodney Southam is from Saskatoon and Jordan Borstmayer is from St. Brieux…Riley Stadel returned to the line-up Friday night after missing 14 games with an UBI…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 leads the Rockets with a +17 ratings…Rodney Southam is two goals shy from his career high 7 goals he scored last season…Cal Foote turned 17 on Sunday….Eight of Justin Kirkland’s 11 goals have been scored on the road this season….Jackson Whistle has started 20 of the last 25 games.
Who’s Hot: Tyson Baillie has points in 18 of his last 21 games……Justin Kirkland has points in 7 of his last 10 games. Kirkland has 3+11=14 over that period…Cole Linaker has points in 7 of his last 9 games. Linaker has 4+5=9 over that stretch…Dillon Dube has 11+13=24 in his last 17 games….Lucas Johansen has 9 more point this season as he did all of last year.