|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets play game two of a three game home stand tonight against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. This is the second meeting of the season between the two teams. The Rockets were a 6-5 winner in Medicine Hat back on October 6th. The Rockets had six different goal scorers in the one goal victory. Nick Merkley scored the game winner with under 5 minutes left in regulation time. The Tigers make a return visit on January 23rd. The Rockets are coming off a 4-1 win Wednesday night over the Kootenay Ice. Rourke Chartier scored three times. Justin Kirkland scored his 10th goal of the season in the lopsided affair, which saw the Rockets fire a season high 59 shots on net.
The Rockets have won 15 of their last 19 games overall (15-3-0-1) and are 10-2-0-0 on home ice and 10-4-1-0 on the road. Overall; the Rockets have points in 12 of 13 games (11-1-1-0). The Rockets home stand continues tomorrow night against the visiting Portland Winterhawks.
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 83rd career win in a Kelowna Rockets uniform this evening. Whistle is 10 wins shy of tying the franchise record for most wins by a goalie. Here are the leaders:
1) Jordan Cooke: 92 wins
2) Kelly Guard: 83 wins
3) Jackson Whistle: 82 wins
4) Kevin Swanson: 70 wins
This and That: The Rockets have won 6 straight games on home ice….Cole Martin was involved in an ECHL trade this week. Martin, who led the Rockets in +/- last season, was dealt by the Idaho Steelheads to the Atlanta Gladiators. Back in November, Chance Braid, who started his season with Martin in Idaho and is a former member of the Rockets WHL championship team, was sent to the Allen Americans for future considerations...For a second 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 later this month 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. That includes a Saskatchewan/Manitoba road trip that begins next Friday in Regina and ends December 19th in Saskatoon. The Rockets will play those six games in 9 nights… 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…Baillie has points in 15 of his last 16 games…Baillie has been held off the score sheet in just five of 27 games this season…Rookie Gordie Ballhorn and Joe Gatenby lead the Rockets with a +14 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 17 of the last 21 games…Tyson Baillie has averaged 28 goals over his last three seasons…The Rockets next play three games in three nights January 29th, 30th and 31st with two of those three games on home ice….
Who’s Hot: Justin Kirkland has a 6 game point streak with 2+9=11 over that period…Cole Linaker has points in four of his last five games. Linaker has 1+4=5 over that stretch.…Nick Merkley has points in five of his last six games. Merkley has 3+5=8 over that period…Tomas Soustal has two more points (20) than he had all of last season….Tomas Soustal has points in five of his last seven games. Soustal has 4+3=7 over that period…Kole Lind has 4+4=8 in his last 10 games…Tyson Baillie has 11+25=36 in his last 19 games …Dillon Dube has 8+11=19 in his last 13 games….Lucas Johansen has 6 more point this season as he did all of last year.