Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Rockets face Royals

www.shootthebreeze.ca (Marissa Baecker photo)
Tonight’s Preview: A rare Tuesday night home game at Prospera Place features the Kelowna Rockets hosting the Victoria Royals. This is game two of a six game home stand for the Rockets, who were a 4-2 winner Saturday night vs. Tri City on the strength of four unanswered goals and a 2+1=3 effort from Dillon Dube. This is the 6th of 8 meetings between these two teams this season. The Rockets are 4-2-0-0 in the first 6 game, having out-scored the Royals 28-18. In the last meeting between the two teams, January 13th, the Rockets were a 9-2 winner. Only two of the six games have been decided by a single goal. How closely matched have these two teams been over the last 5 seasons? The Rockets own a record of 15-13-1-1 in the last 30 regular season meetings. The team has 13 wins in the last 16 games (13-2-1-0) while earning a point in 11 of their last 12 games (10-1-1-0). Following tonight’s game, the Rockets host Vancouver Friday before welcoming the Royals again Saturday night for the second meeting in five days. Overall, the Rockets have won 4 straight and have scored 57 goals in their last 12 games (4.75 per game).  

The Matchup: Kole Lind has 3+7=10 in the 6 games against the Royals this season. Dillon Dube has 4+4=8 but has only played in 4 games against Victoria. Calvin Thurkauf has 3+2=5 in five games against their BC Division rivals from the Island. Michael Herringer is 4-2-0-0 with a goals against average of 3.01 and a save percentage of .877. The leading scorer for the Royals against the Rockets is Jack Walker (3+4=7) followed by Matthew Phillips (4+2=6). Both power plays have clicked against one another. The Rockets have 8 power play goals in the seasonal series while the Royals have 9.

Streak’n: Reid Gardiner enters tonight’s game riding a 12 game point streak. Gardiner has 8+10=18 over that stretch. The 21 year-old also has goals in 5 of his last 6 games. Gardiner also reached the 250 point mark for his WHL career Saturday night against Tri City. Rodney Southam has points in 7 of his last 9 games with 6+7=13 over that stretch.  Dillon Dube has points in 7 of his last 8 games (7+9=16). Dube also has goals in 6 of his last 7 games. Rookie Kyle Topping has goals in three of his last five games.

That’s a fact Jack: Lucas Johansen signed an entry level deal with the Washington Capitals last Thursday. Johansen was a 1st round pick of the Caps this summer…The Rockets have 85 points this season, with 12 available points over the final 6 regular season games. The most points the team can earn this season is 97, which puts them three shy of the 100 point barrier the team has reached in each of the last four seasonsThe Rockets have played 35 road games this season, with one more stop in VancouverThe Rockets have now won 20 or more road games in five consecutive seasons. The last time they failed to hit 20 wins was in 2011-2012 when they won 15 games away from Prospera Place… Kole Lind has the 2nd most points by a 17 year-old draft eligible player in Kelowna Rockets franchise history. Lind has 80 points and is 10 points shy of matching the 90 points that franchise leader Nick Merkley put up in his 17 year-old season in 2014-2015…The Rockets have lost their last 4 overtime games …The 56 shots the Rockets put up against the Vancouver Giants February 10th were a season high….The 15 shots the team surrendered February 22nd against the Edmonton Oil Kings was a season low…The Rockets have generated 30 or more shots in 24 of their last 27 games…The Rockets have surrendered 5 or more goals 13 times this season. The teams’ record, not surprisingly, is 1-11-2-0.

Broadcasters Bits:.Rockets alumni Jordon Cooke of the U of S Huskies was named Canada West Goalie of the Year. Former Rockets forward Tyson Baillie of the U of A Golden Bear was named Canada West Rookie of the Year...The Kelowna Rockets lost 10 of their first 21 regular season games. Since then, the team has 11 losses in the last 45 games… In the Rockets last 12 losses (regulation or overtime loss) the opposition has opened the scoring…The Rockets are 15-6-2-0 since the trade deadline  The Rockets compiled a record of 10-2-1-0 in 13 games in 26 days in February…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 16-12-0-0 against BC based teams this season …The Rockets are 11-3-3-0 against U.S Division teams this season….Calvin Thurkauf has 62 points this season, the 5th most from a European born player in one season wearing Kelowna Rockets colours. The franchise leader is Tomas Slovak (86 in 2002-2003), followed by Vaclav Varada (85 in 1995-96). The third most points in one season put up by a European born player in one season is Jan Fadrny (77 in 2000-2001). Tomas Oravec (65 in 2000-2001) rounds out the top four.

Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel of AM 1150

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