Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Rockets/Cougars collide in BC Division showdown

Michael Herringer - Shoot the Breeze 
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets open a five game home stand tonight against the visiting Prince George Cougars. The Rockets host Tri City Friday, Medicine Hat Saturday, Portland on January 29th and Victoria on January 30th. The Rockets are coming off a 2-1 overtime win Saturday night in Victoria. Justin Kirkland scored the game winning goal. Dillon Dube scored his 19th goal of the season in regulation time while Michael Herringer, making his 6th consecutive start, was named the first star with a 36 save performance. This is the 5th of eight meetings between the two teams this season. These two teams haven’t played one another since October 30th. Overall, the Rockets are 2-2-0-0 in the seasonal series, having out-scored the Cougars 12-9. In the last 35 regular season meetings, the Rockets have won 28 of those games. In the big picture, the Rockets have won 26 of their last 36 games overall and are 15-2-2-0 on home ice and 15-9-1-0 on the road. Overall; the Rockets have points in 24 of 30 games (21-6-3-0). The team has won 11 of its last 18 games.

Number Crunching: The Rockets have 28 games left in the regular season. Of those 28 games, 17 will be played on home ice. Of those 28 games, 14 are against BC Division rivals….These two teams are a combined 40-1-0-2 when leading after two periods…The Rockets have been out-shot in 31 of 44 games this season….The team hit the 30 win mark Saturday night in a 2-1 overtime victory in Victoria…The Rockets have been to overtime in two of their last four home games and have been on the losing end of both…Seven of the teams last 9 games have been decided by a single goal. The Rockets are 4-1-2-0 in those one goal games…The Rockets are 30-11-3-0 after 44 games this season. Last season the team was 34-7-3-0 after 44 games…The team has scored 159 goals after 44 games this season, down 31 goals from the same point in 201-4-2015….The team has allowed 126 goals against, only 17 more than at the same time last season.

This and That: Tyson Baillie returns to the line-up tonight after missing back-to-back games in Victoria on the weekend because of a death in the family…Dillon Dube has 4+4=8 in four games against the Cougars in the seasonal series…Tyson Baillie has 2+6=8 in four games also against the Cougars….Michael Herringer is making his 7th consecutive start tonight, which is a first for the soft spoken netminder…The 19 year-old has a career record of 23-7-1-0…The Rockets are 15-3-0-0 in their last 18 regular season dates at home against the Cougars…Rourke Chartier has 55 goals in his last 72 regular season games….The Rockets have lost three straight overtime games on home ice…9 of the Rockets next 10 games are on home ice…Two former members of the Kelowna Rockets have made the NHL All-Star team. Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators is making his 5th appearance while Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars is making his second trip (NHL All-Star games was cancelled on lockout year and wasn’t played in Olympic year). Benn was first named an all-star in 2011-2012…January is a busy month for birthdays. Devante Stephens turned 19 (Jan 2), Jordan Borstmayer turned 18 (Jan 9), Travis Crickard turned 29 (Jan 11), Riley Stadel turned 20 (Jan 16), Kris Mallette turned 37 (Jan 19), Michael Herringer turns 20 (Jan 26), Tanner Wishnowski turns 19 (Jan 28) … Ten of Justin Kirkland’s 14 goals have been scored on the road this season….Jackson Whistle has started 25 of the last 38 games…The Rockets receive relief from the schedule maker when they play 9 of 10 at home from January 19th to February 8th….Cole Linaker recorded his 100th career point with an assist last Friday in Victoria.

Two picked for Top Prospects game: Second year players Lucas Johansen and Dillon Dube have been selected to play in the CHL Top Prospects game January 28th in Vancouver. Both Johansen and Dube are playing with Team Cherry. It marks the first time since the 2011-2012 season that two members of the Rockets have played in the game after Colton Sissons and Damon Severson were afforded the luxury that season. Nick Merkley played in the game last season and was eventually chosen in the first round of the 2015 NHL draft by the Arizona Coyotes.

Who’s Hot: Rourke Chartier had his 7 game point streak snapped Saturday night. Chartier had 6+4=10 over that stretch…Chartier has 93 career goals...Dillon Dube has 19 goals this season which is a career high….Dube has 5+3=8 in his last 8 games… Nick Merkley has 3+5=8 in his last 6 games…Kole Lind has points in 7 of his last 10 games. Lind has 5+5=10 over that stretch…Tyson Baillie has 2+3=5 in his last three games….Tyson Baillie has points in 27 of his last 32 games and has been held off the score-sheet only 9 times this season…Justin Kirkland has points in 12 of his last 20 games. Kirkland has 6+13=19 over that period

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