|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Tonight’s Preview: We’re back! The Kelowna Rockets are back in Kennewick, Washington for the second time in 9 days for the final regular season game at Toyota Center. These two teams met last Wednesday with the Rockets earning a 4-1 win. Over the last five seasons, the Rockets are 12-2-0-0 against the Americans and 5-2-0-0 in their last 7 visits to the Toyota Center. The Rockets are coming off a 6-1 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds Wednesday night. Calvin Thurkauf scored three times in the win. Nick Merkley had three assists and was a +4 in the game. Michael Herringer made 21 saves as the team won for the 17th time this season. The Rockets are opening a seven game road trip. The trek features 7 games in 10 nights with stops in Tri City (tonight), Kootenay (Sat), Lethbridge (Sun), Medicine Hat (Tues Dec 15), Red Deer (Wed Dec 16), Calgary (Fri Dec 17) and Edmonton (Sat Dec 18th). Overall, the Rockets are 6-1-1-0 in their last 8 games.
Broadcasters Bits: The Rockets have recalled 16 year-old forward Ted Brennan. Brennan, from Victoria, has played two games with the team this season (0+1=1) and is a third round bantam pick from 2015…Calvin Thurkauf’s three goals Wednesday snapped a 7 game goal scoring drought for the power forward…The Rockets have allowed, on average, just 21 shots on goal in their last four games…The Rockets are 2-0-1-0 in December...The Rockets were 6-4-0-0 in 10 games in November after going 8-4-0-0 in 12 games in October…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 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 17-11-1-0 after 29 games. Last season the team was 22-6-1-0 after 29 games….Michael Herringer has started in 11 of the last 13 games and 17 of the last 20…The Rockets are 7-0-1-0 against U.S Division teams this season…The Rockets have carried the lead into the third period in 13 of the last 19 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…Tomas Soustal (Czech Republic) and Calvin Thurkauf (Switzerland) will play for their respective countries at the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championships in Montreal/Toronto.…Nick Merkley and Dillon Dube are attend Hockey Canada’s main camp Sunday December 11th vying for one of 22 spots on this year’s roster. Team Canada’s main camp runs December 11-14th in Blainville, Quebec. Merkley was a late cut last year.
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 points in 11 of his last 12 games. The 19 year-old has goals in 10 of his last 15 games and has 10+14=24 over that period…Calvin Thurkauf has points in 10 of his last 16 games (8+11=19)…Kole Lind has points in 16 of his last 18 games (11+14=25)…Lind has goals in six of his last seven games…Nick Merkley has points in 14 of his last 19 games (8+13=21).
Trade Winds Blow: The Kelowna Rockets and Regina Pats completed a trade last Wednesday night. The Rockets acquired 19 year-old defenceman James Hilsandager and 17 year-old Erik Gardiner for 17 year-old defenceman Jonathan Smart. Gardiner was the Pats second round pick in the 2014 WHL bantam draft. Hilsandager was a 9th round pick. Smart was the Rockets first round pick in 2014. Gardiner is expected to make his Rockets debut during next week’s Alberta road trip.
Player total: 24
Year by Year Breakdown:
20’s – 3 Stadel, Herringer, Southam
19’s – 7 Hilsendager, Johansen, Merkley, Soustal, Stephens, Ballhorn, Thurkauf
18’s – 6 Dube, Kryski, Lind, Borstmayer, Chizen, Salmond
17’s - 5 C. Foote, Topping, Bruggen-Cate, Cowell, Mattson
16’s – 2 N. Foote, Belcourt
Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel of AM 1150