|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Tonight’s Preview: Eighteen. That is the number of consecutive wins the Kelowna Rockets have on home ice against the Vancouver Giants over the last five seasons. The Rockets meet their BC Division rivals for the third time this season at Prospera Place and fourth of eight meetings this season. The two teams tangle again tomorrow night in Vancouver. The Rockets are 2-1-0-0 in the seasonal series. With 14 games left in the regular season, the Rockets face the G-Men four times including the final two regular season games of the season on March 18th and 19th. The Rockets are coming off a 3-1 win Tuesday night over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. Gordie Ballhorn, Cole Linaker and Cal Foote scored goals in the team’s 40th victory of the season. Michael Herringer was sturdy in his 20th victory of the season. In the big picture, the Rockets have points in 34 of 44 games (31-10-3-0). After this home and home series, the Rockets visit Everett Tuesday before making another trip to Vancouver on February 26th.
Baillie 300: Tip your hat to Tyson Baillie. The 20 year-old forward is approaching the 300 point mark for his WHL career. The third round bantam pick, who is the highest scoring 3rd rounder in franchise history, has 295 points heading into tonight’s game. Only four other players in franchise history (Tacoma/Kelowna) have recorded over 300 career points with the Rockets. Brett McLean is the franchise leader with 375 points (1994-1999). John Varga had 333 points (1991-95). Jason Deleurme had 313 points (1994-1999) while Marty Flichel had 301 career points (1992-1996). Tyson Baillie leads the team in five categories (goals/assists/points/power play goals and is tied for +/-).
Lordy, Lordy it’s 40! The Kelowna Rockets won their 40th game of the season Tuesday night. It marked the fourth consecutive season the team has won 40 or more games and is the 10th time they have accomplished the feat in franchise history. Those ten 40+ win seasons have come in the last 14 seasons. By comparison, the BC Divisions oldest team, the Kamloops Blazers, have won 40 or more games 15 times since 1984. The Rockets have been around since 1991. The Vancouver Giants have 6-40+ win seasons including five in a row from 2005-2009. Prince George has two 40 win campaigns while wet behind the ears Victoria has one.
Number Crunching: The Rockets are a combined 69-1-5-0 when leading after two periods when you combine this seasons totals and last seasons….The Rockets are one of only three teams in the WHL that have not lost when leading after 40 minutes. The Rockets are 28-0-2-0. The Kamloops Blazers and Prince Albert Raiders are also without a regulation loss after two periods…The Rockets have taken the 6th most penalties in the WHL (298). No surprise that the fewest minor penalties have been taken by the Everett Silvertips (166)…The Rockets average more fans per game this season on home ice than the Giants do. The Rockets average 5,170 per game while the Giants average 4,935. The Rockets have seen a 2% drop in attendance from last season while the G-Men have noticed an 11% drop which is slightly better than league leading Kootenay, who have seen a reduction in attendance of 12% from a season ago…Rourke Chartier enters tonight’s game with 198 career points.…The Rockets are a combined 53-17-8-0 against BC Division teams on the road in the last five seasons…The Rockets are 21-2-1-0 when Tyson Baillie scores. The only regulation losses when the 20 year-old finds the back of the net were against Red Deer and Saskatoon…..The Rockets are attempting to become the first team to reach the 50 win plateau in four straight seasons. For that to happen, the team must win 10 of their final 14 games or they can suffer only 4 more regular losses in order to hit the 50 win mark…The Rockets have 14 games left in the regular season. Of those 14 games, 7 will be played on home ice. Of those 14 games, 10 are against BC Division rivals…The Rockets were 13-1-0-0 against Central Division opponents this season. The only loss came in Lethbridge in the sixth game of the season….The Rockets have been out-shot in 39 of 58 games this season.
Who’s Hot: Rourke Chartier has three hat tricks this season…Jamie Benn also had three-three goal games in 2008-2009. Justin Keller, who went on to score 51 goals in 2005-2006, had three hat tricks as well…Who was the last Rockets d-man to score three goals in a game against the Giants? Tyson Barrie (March 6/2010)…Tyson Baillie has 3+7=10 in his last 6 games….Tyson Baillie has points in 36 of his last 46 games and has been held off the score-sheet 14 times this season…Justin Kirkland has 4+5=9 in his last 6 games…Kirkland has 22 points in his last 20 games. The 19 year-old had just 12 points in his first 20 games.