|Michael Herringer - Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets close out a two game U.S Division road trip tonight against the Spokane Chiefs. This is the first of four meetings between these two teams this season. The Rockets make a return visit on February 26th. The Chiefs make two appearances in Kelowna on January 4th and February 17th. The Rockets are coming off a 4-1 win in Tri City Wednesday night. Tomas Soustal and Kole Lind each had a goal and an assist in the win. Nolan Foote and Jordan Borstmayer added singles in the team’s 15th win of the season. The Rockets out-shot the Americans 45-21 and were 0 for 2 on the power play but were 3 for 3 on the penalty kill. Tonight’s game is the start of 8 of their 10 games before Christmas being played on opposition ice. The only home games over that stretch are against Brandon (tomorrow) and Seattle (Wednesday). In the last five seasons the Rockets are 8-2-1-1 against the Chiefs including 4-1-1-0 in their last 6 visits to Spokane Arena.
Trade Winds Blow: The Kelowna Rockets and Regina Pats completed a trade 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.
Broadcasters Bits: The Rockets are playing the Chiefs for the first time since trading 19 year-old forward Tanner Wishnowski to Spokane October 17th for 16 year-old prospect Colum McGauley…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 are the only two teams in the WHL that have not lost in overtime this season….The Rockets have played a BC Division low 26 games…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 15-11-0-0 after 26 games. Last season the team was 19-6-1-0 after 26 games and 20-6-1-0 after 27 games….Michael Herringer has started in 9 of the last 10 games and 15 of the last 17…The Rockets are 6-0-0-0 against U.S Division teams this season…The Rockets have carried the lead into the third period in 10 of the last 16 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 will attend Hockey Canada’s main camp 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…The Kelowna Rockets raised $7,554 dollars for men’s health during ‘Movember’. The goal was $5,000 dollars.
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 is riding a nine game point streak. The 19 year-old has goals in 9 of his last 12 games and has 10+12=22 over that period…Calvin Thurkauf has points in 8 of his last 13 games (5+10=15)…Kole Lind has points in 14 of his last 16 games (10+13=23)…Lind has goals in five straight games….16 year-old Nolan Foote has points in 6 of his last 10 games. Foote has 4+2=6 over that period…Merkley has points in 12 of his last 16 games (6+10=16).
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