|Shoot the Breeze Photo|
Tonight’s Preview: After playing four straight games against teams in the BC Division, the Kelowna Rockets open a stretch of playing 12 consecutive games outside of the division. The Rockets host the Regina Pats in the lone meeting of the season between these two teams. Last season, in Regina, the Rockets were a 4-3 winner. Cal Foote, Cole Linaker, Dillon Dube and Justin Kirkland scored in the one goal victory. Jackson Whistle earned the win (December 11/2015). The Pats last made an appearance at Prospera Place on November 29/2014 in a 3-1 win. Rourke Chartier scored his 29th goal of the season in the setback. The Pats scored two shorthanded goals in the game. The Rockets are coming off a 6-2 loss in Victoria Tuesday night. Devante Stephens and Kole Lind scored in the teams’ 11th loss of the season. The Rockets were 0 for 7 on the power play and surrendered four power play goals against. Overall, the team has 10 wins in their last 14 games. The Rockets open a U.S Division road trip Wednesday in Tri City before traveling to Spokane Friday night. The next home game is one week from tonight against the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings.
Smith’s Regina Pat Connection: Kelowna Rockets Head Coach Jason Smith played 128 regular season games over two seasons with the Pats from 1991-1993. Smith was named the WHL Defenceman of the Year in 92-93 after putting up 66 points (14+52=66) in 64 games. Smith was also named an Eastern Conference 1st team all-star. That season, Smith also won a gold medal for Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships. While with the Pats, Smith was drafted in the first round – 18th overall – by the New Jersey Devils.
Broadcasters Bits: The Rockets have three players born in Saskatchewan. Jordon Borstmayer hails from St. Breiux, Kole Lind is from Shaunavon while Rodney Southam is from Saskatoon…Did you know that Regina Pats Athletic Therapist Greg Mayer is from Kelowna? Mayer has been with the Pats since 2004, the year the Rockets won the Memorial Cup…The Rockets have lost 6 times on home ice, the exact same number of losses as a season ago when the team was 27-6-3-0 at Prospera Place…The next time the Rockets face a BC Divisional cousin is December 27th when they host the Kamloops Blazers….The Rockets are the only team in the WHL that has failed to surrender a shorthanded goal against this season…The Rockets are 5-7-0-0 against BC based teams this season…The Rockets are 13-11-0-0 after 24 games. Last season the team was 18-5-1-0 after 24 games….Michael Herringer has started in 7 of the last 8 games and 13 of the last 15…The Rockets are 5-0-0-0 against U.S Division teams this season…The Rockets have carried the lead into the third period in 9 of the last 14 games …Veteran 20 year-old Michael Herringer was named the WHL Goaltender of the Week from October 17th to October 23rd. Herringer went 3-0-0-0, posting a goals against average of 1.99…The Rockets are the most penalized team in the WHL.
NHL Central Scouting: NHL Central Scouting has released its November ‘Players to Watch’ list. Defenceman Cal Foote is an ‘A’ prospect for next June’s draft. Kole Lind is a ‘B’ prospect while defenceman Jonathan Smart is a ‘C’ prospect. The NHL draft this year is in Chicago.
Who’s Hot?: Tomas Soustal has goals in 7 of his last 10 games and has 8+9=17 over that period…Calvin Thurkauf has points in 8 of his last 11 games (5+10=15)…Kole Lind has points in 12 of his last 14 games (8+11=19)…Nick Merkley has goals in 5 of his last 10 games…16 year-old Nolan Foote has points in five of his last 8 games. Foote has 3+2=5 over that period…Merkley has points in 11 of his last 14 games (6+9=15)…Merkley played in his 200th career game Sunday night in Victoria.
Player total: 24
Year by Year Breakdown:
20’s – 3 Stadel, Herringer, Southam
19’s – 6 Johansen, Merkley, Soustal, Stephens, Ballhorn
18’s – 7 Dube, Kryski, Lind, Borstmayer, Chizen, Salmond, Thurkauf
17’s - 6 C. Foote, Topping, Bruggen-Cate, Cowell, Smart, Mattson
16’s – 2 N. Foote, Belcourt
Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel of AM 1150