|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets play game two of a four game home stand tonight against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. This is the lone meeting of the season between these two teams. Last season, in Prince Albert, the Rockets fell 3-1. Lucas Johansen scored the lone goal for the visitors at Art Hauser Centre. Jackson Whistle suffered the loss in goal. The Raiders last appearance in Kelowna was December 6/2014 when the Rockets earned a 1-0 win. Dillon Dube scored the lone goal while Jackson Whistle was named the first star with a 27 save shutout performance. The Rockets are coming off a 6-2 home ice loss last Saturday to the Medicine Hat Tigers. Kole Lind and Kyle Topping scored goals in the teams 9th loss of the season. Overall, the team has 7 wins in their last 9 games. Following this game, the Rockets welcome Prince George Tuesday (Oct 15th) and Vancouver (Friday November 18th). The Kelowna Rockets next road games are in Victoria on November 20th and 22nd.
Welcome Back: Raiders Head Coach Marc Habscheid and 20 year-old forward Austin Glover return to Kelowna tonight after playing a role in the team’s success over the years. Habscheid led the team to a WHL championship in 2003 and then a Memorial Cup title in 2004. Austin Glover, a second round bantam pick of the Rockets in 2011, played 77 regular season games before being traded to the Raiders December 10/2014 with Jesse Lees and two draft picks (2nd and 3rd rounder). In return the Rockets picked up defenceman Josh Morrissey and forward Gage Quinney.
Broadcasters Bits: Odd stat of the night. The Rockets haven’t played a game on November 12th since the 2011-2012 season. On November 12th of that year, in Vancouver, Brett Bulmer and Colton Sissons both scored in a 3-2 overtime loss. Jordon Cooke made 19 saves in the setback…The Rockets are 10-9-0-0 after 19 games. Last season the team was 14-5-0-0 after 19 games and 14-5-1-0 after 20 games….Nolan Foote returns to the lineup tonight after winning a silver medal at the Under 17 World Challenge in Sault St. Marie, Ontario. Assistant Coach Travis Crickard was also a silver medal winner as Team Canada’s video coach….Rookie forward Leif Mattson is serving game three of a four game suspension for a checking from behind penalty last Tuesday against Kamloops…Four of the Rockets next six games are on home ice….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 six of the last nine 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…November birthdays to remember. Lucas Johansen turns 19 on November 16th. Kyle Topping turns 17 on November 18th while Nolan Foote turns 16 on November 29th. Head Coach Jason Smith turned 43 on November 2nd. Sorry coach for pointing that out!!
Octoberfest: After starting the month of October with a 3-0 shutout loss in Prince George (October 1st) the team was able to win 8 of their next 11 to close out the month of October. In November, the Rockets play 10 games with six of them on home ice. Six of those 10 will be played against BC Division based teams including a visit to Victoria on November 20th and 22nd.
Who’s Hot?: Tomas Soustal has goals in four of his last six games and has 5+5=10 over that period…Calvin Thurkauf has points in five of his last six games (3+6=9)…Kole Lind has points in eight of his last nine games (4+9=13)…Nick Merkley has goals in four of his last five games…16 year-old Nolan Foote has points in three straight games (2+1=3)…The team has scored shorthanded goals in two of its last four games……Merkley has points in 7 of his last 9 games (5+5=10)…Merkley is four games shy of 200 for his career.
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