Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Rockets game notes vs. Tips

Shoot the Breeze Photography
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets play game two of a three game road trip tonight with a stop in Everett against the Tips. This is the fourth and final meeting of the season between the two teams, with the Rockets having been unable to beat the Tips in three attempts. Two of the three games have ended in overtime, but the Tips are the only team the Rockets has been unable to take two points away from this season in the Western Conference. The Rockets are coming off a 4-2 loss in Vancouver Saturday night. Tyson Baillie and Lucas Johansen scored in the team’s 16th loss of the season and fifth in the last eight road games. Brodan Salmond made 32 saves in the loss. In the big picture, the Rockets have points in 35 of 46 games (32-11-3-0). The Rockets are in Vancouver Friday before hosting the Spokane Chiefs to close out the month of February.

The Royal Rumble: The Kelowna Rockets are fighting with the Victoria Royals, for not only the BC Division regular season title, but more importantly the WHL regular season crown. The Rockets trail the Royals by one point. Kelowna has 12 games left while the Royals only have 10. The Rockets will play those 12 games over 25 nights while the Royals play their remaining 10 games over 23 evenings. The two teams clash for the final time this season on March 16th at Prospera Place.

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 297 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 four categories (goals/assists/points/power play goals).  

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 have been out-shot in first period in nine consecutive games. The team has allowed, on average, 14 shots on goal in the period over those nine games…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 …Rourke Chartier enters tonight’s game with 200 career points.…The Rockets are a combined 53-18-8-0 against BC Division teams on the road in the last five seasons…The Rockets are 22-3-1-0 when Tyson Baillie scores. The only regulation losses when the 20 year-old finds the back of the net were against Vancouver, 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 9 of their final 12 games…The Rockets have 12 games left in the regular season. Of those 12 games, 6 will be played on home ice. Of those 12 games, 8 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 60 games this season. 

Who’s Hot: Lucas Johansen has 2+8=10 in February and is riding a five game point streak (1+5=6). Johansen has points in 9 of his last 10 games…Cole Linaker is riding a five game point streak (3+2=5)…Linaker has a career high 40 points, one more point than a season ago…Tyson Baillie is riding a 5 game point streak (3+4=7)…Baillie has points in 7 of his last 8 games…Justin Kirkland has a five game point streak (2+5=7)…Kirkland has points in 7 of his last 8 games…The Rockets are 203-56-11-6 in their last 276 regular season games dating back to the start of the 2012-2013 campaign.

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