Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets play game four of a seven game road trip tonight with a stop in
Medicine Hat where they face the Tigers. These two teams last met back on November 5th, at Prospera Place, with the Tigers earning a 6-2 win. Chad Butcher had 2+1=3 in the win while out-shooting the Rockets 40-25. The Rockets have had success in Medicine Hat over the years. The Rockets have not lost in regulation time here since 2010. It was December 14, 2010 when Tyler Bunz made 26 saves in the Tigers 2-0 win. Since then, the Rockets have earned a point in seven consecutive appearances and are 5-0-0-2 over that period. Last season, in their lone visit, the Rockets were a 6-5 winner (October 6/15). This is game four of a seven game road trip for the Rockets, who began the trip last Friday in Tri City with a 3-2 overtime win. The Rockets bounced the Kootenay Ice Saturday night, 7-3, before losing a heartbreaker to the Lethbridge Hurricanes Sunday night with a 6-5 setback.
Rockets Review: Calvin Thurkauf scored twice in a 6-5 loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes Sunday night. Connor Bruggen-Cate (1st WHL goal), James Hilsandager (1st as a Rockets player) and Nolan Foote also scored in the teams’ 12th loss of the season. The Rockets led the game 4-3 before the Hurricanes would strike for three straight goals. The Rockets were 1 for 3 on the power play while surrendering two goals against on four penalty kills. The visitors fired 43 shots on the opposition net.
Road Rash: The road trip the team is currently on features 7 games in 10 nights with stops in Tri City (3-2 OTW), Kootenay (7-3 W), Lethbridge (6-5 L), Medicine Hat (Tonight), Red Deer (Fri Dec 16), Calgary (Sat Dec 17) and Edmonton (Sun Dec 18th). Overall, the Rockets are 8-2-1-0 in their last 11 games and have points in 6 of their last 7 (6-1-1-0). The team has won 4 of its last 5 games straight overall.
Broadcasters Bits: Two players will make their WHL and Kelowna Rockets debuts tonight against the Tigers. Erik Gardiner, who is a 17 year-old forward playing with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos and 16 year-old Liam Kindree, who leads the BC Major Midget League in scoring, will be in the line-up. Gardiner was acquired from the Regina Pats along with James Hilsandager in the Jonathan Smart trade while Kindree is a 4th round bantam pick of the team from 2015…The Rockets have also recalled 16 year-old forward Ted Brennan. Brennan, from Victoria, has played four games with the team this season (0+1=1) and is a third round bantam pick from 2015…Calvin Thurkauf has 8 goals in his last four games and Monday was named the WHL Player of the Week for his antics…The Rockets have allowed, on average, just 27 shots on goal in their last 7 games…The Rockets are 4-1-1-0 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 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 19-12-1-0 after 32 games. Last season the team was 24-7-1-0 after 32 games….Michael Herringer has started in 13 of the last 16 games and 19 of the last 23…The Rockets are 8-0-1-0 against U.S Division teams this season…The Rockets have carried the lead into the third period in 14 of the last 22 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) are playing 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 vying for one of 22 spots on this year’s roster. Team Canada’s main camp runs until December 14th in Blainville, Quebec. Merkley was a late cut last year…The only December birthday is Cal Foote. Foote turns 18 today!!
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? Calvin Thurkauf has 8 goals in his last four games…James Hilsandager has a goal and two assists in his last four games…Tomas Soustal has points in 12 of his last 15 games. The 19 year-old has goals in 10 of his last 18 games and has 10+15=25 over that period… Kole Lind has points in 19 of his last 21 games (13+17=29)…Lind has goals in 8 of his last 10 games and is riding a 10 game point streak. Lind has 8+7=15 over that stretch…Nick Merkley has points in 14 of his last 19 games (8+13=21).
Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel of AM 1150