|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets make their final visit of the season to the Island as they face the Victoria Royals in back-to-back games. The Rockets were a 3-1 winner on November 27th before falling 5-1 a night later at Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena. Overall, these two teams have met four times with the Rockets owning a 2-2-0-0 record. In the last meeting, January 2nd, Dillon Dube scored twice in a 5-4 home ice win. Following two games this weekend, the seasonal series ends with two games in Kelowna on January 30th and March 16th. The Rockets are coming off a 7-5 win over the Tri City Americans last Saturday. Lucas Johansen was named the first star with a goal and two assists. The Rockets have won 24 of their last 34 games overall (24-7-2-1) and are 15-2-2-0 on home ice and 14-8-1-0 on the road. Overall; the Rockets have points in 23 of 28 games (20-5-3-0). The team has won 10 of its last 16 games. Following these two games in Victoria, the Rockets open a five game home stand hosting the Prince George Cougars Tuesday night and the Tri City Americans on Friday January 22nd.
‘Harry’ has heavy workload: Twenty year-old goaltender Jackson Whistle will spend in the neighbourhood of two weeks on the injury list with a lower body injury. Nineteen year-old Michael Herringer will be forced into full time duty. Last season, when Whistle suffered an appendectomy, Herringer started four consecutive games while sharing duties with third string goaltender Josh Morrissey. Whistle missed a total of 10 games from February 7th to February 27th.
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.
This and That: The Rockets are 11-5-2-0 in their last 18 regular season appearances in Victoria…Home ice isn’t an advantage when these two teams meet. The Royals are 9-8-0-1 at Prospera Place in their last 18 regular season visits…Michael Herringer is making his fifth consecutive start tonight…Herringer is a former Victoria Royal. Herringer was a 9th round bantam pick of the Royals in 2011…The 19 year-old has a career record of 22-6-1-0… Rourke Chartier played in his 200th career game Saturday night vs. the Americans…Chartier has 55 goals in his last 70 regular season games…Tyson Baillie played in his 300th career game last Friday against Everett….The Rockets are rated as the 6th best team according to the CHL Top 10 junior rankings this week….Two of the Rockets last 5 games have been decided in overtime. The team played three consecutive overtime games on November 11th, 14th and 18th….The Rockets have won only once in overtime with the game winning goal coming from Rodney Southam in Kamloops November 18th….The Rockets have lost three straight overtime games on home ice…11 of the Rockets next 19 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 turns 20 (Jan 16), Kris Mallette turns 37 (Jan 19), Michael Herringer turns 20 (Jan 26), Tanner Wishnowski turns 19 (Jan 28) … Nine of Justin Kirkland’s 13 goals have been scored on the road this season….Jackson Whistle has started 25 of the last 36 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 has 99 career points.
Who’s Hot: Rourke Chartier is riding a 6 game point streak. Chartier has 6+3=9 over that stretch…Chartier has 93 career goals...Dillon Dube has 18 goals this season which is a career high….Dube has 4+3=7 in his last 6 games… Nick Merkley has 2+5=7 in his last 4 games…Kole Lind has points in 7 of his last 8 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 11 of his last 18 games. Kirkland has 5+13=18 over that period.