Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets open a three game road trip tonight in Victoria. This is the 5th meeting of the season between these two teams. The seasonal series is tied at two wins apiece with the Rockets winning 6-4 and 5-1 but the Royals have won the last two games by scores of 6-2 and 2-1. Overall, the Rockets have out-scored their BC Division rivals 14-13. The Rockets are coming off a 3-2 shootout win Saturday night over the Kamloops Blazers. Reid Gardiner and Nick Merkley scored in regulation time while Kole Lind scored the game winner in the shootout as the team snapped a four game winless streak. Brodan Salmond earned the win in goal and was 5 for 6 in the shootout. In the big picture the Rockets have won 5 of its last 9 games (5-3-1-0) and have points in 7 of its last 10 games (5-3-2-0). These two teams meet again Friday before the Rockets travel to Everett to face the Silvertips in a Monday (Martin Luther King Day) afternoon affair on January 16th.
That’s a Fact Jack: Carsen Twarynski is a third round NHL pick of the Philadelphia Flyers and had a career season with 20+25+45 in 2015-2016. Twarynski had a three goal game last season against the Red Deer Rebels…Did you know that Rockets assistant coach Kris Mallette was a 3rd round pick also of the Flyers back in 1997?...Reid Gardiner won a Saskatchewan Midget Hockey League title with ex-Kelowna Rockets forward Rourke Chartier when they both played with the Saskatoon Contacts in 2011-2012…Gardiner was acquired on the exact same day, two years removed, from the Rockets obtaining Leon Draisaitl’s rights from the PA Raiders…Reid and Erik Gardiner are the 6th set of Rockets brothers to play with one another. They join Kiel and Gavin McLeod, Lucas and Evan Bloodoff, Josh and Jake Morrissey, Joe and Danny Gatenby and Cal and Nolan Foote...Tomas Soustal and Calvin Thurkauf both missed 8 games with the Kelowna Rockets while attending the World Junior’s. The Rockets were 4-2-2-0 without two of their top forwards…Dillon Dube missed 10 games after playing for Team Canada at the WJHC…The Rockets are 13-5-3-0 in their last 21 games and have points in 14 of their last 18 (11-4-3-0)….Defenceman Cal Foote and forward Kole Lind have been named to the roster for the CHL Top Prospects game. Foote is one of only two players on the Rockets roster to play in every game this season. The other is Rodney Southam. Lind leads the team in scoring. The Top Prospects game will be played in Quebec City.
Gardiner X2: The Kelowna Rockets pulled off a significant deal last Friday by acquiring 20 year-old forward Reid Gardiner from the Prince Albert Raiders. Gardiner is the older brother of rookie forward Erik Gardiner. Reid Gardiner was playing this season in the American Hockey League for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. Last season, Gardiner scored 43 goals and collected 92 assists and was named a WHL All-Star. To make room for Gardiner, the team sent 20 year-old Riley Stadel to the Edmonton Oil Kings for a 5th round bantam pick.
Trade Winds Blow: The Kelowna Rockets made two other deals in advance of the WHL trade deadline on Tuesday. The Rockets acquired 19 year-old forward Carsen Twarynski and a conditional third round bantam pick for 18 year-old Jake Kryski. The team shipped 18 year-old Jordan Borstmayer to the Vancouver Giants for a 5th round bantam pick.
Broadcasters Bits: Kole Lind has 3+4=7 vs Victoria this season. Rodney Southam (4+0) and Tomas Soustal (1+3=4) have also contributed on the scoresheet against their BC Division cousins…Michael Herringer has played in all four games against the Royals, posting a record of 2 and 2 with a goals against average of 3.27…GM Bruce Hamilton has traded/released six players from the teams opening day roster..
Kole Lind had his 13 game point streak snapped December 18th against the Edmonton Oil Kings. It is the longest point streak by a Rockets player this season …Calvin Thurkauf was named the WHL Player of the Week December 7th to 11th …The Rockets were 8-3-2-0 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 7-9-0-0 against BC based teams this season…Michael Herringer has started in 25 of the last 33 games…The Rockets are 8-0-2-0 against U.S Division teams this season…January Birthdays: Devante Stephens turned 19 on Monday. Reid Gardiner turns 21 on January 19th along with assistant coach Kris Mallette while Michael Herringer (Jan 26th) also has a birthday in January.
Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel of AM 1150