Friday, October 20, 2017

Rockets/Winterhawks preview

Shoot the Breeze Photography
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets are in their 27th year of existence since coming into the Western Hockey League as an expansion franchise in 1991. After four seasons in Tacoma, the team relocated to Kelowna in 1995-96, where the team has spent the last 22 years in the Okanagan. The team has four WHL championships (2003, 2005, 2009, 2015) and have missed the playoffs only once in their existence. The hockey club has made four straight appearances in the Western Conference final and has registered 40 or more wins in five consecutive seasons.

Rockets/Winterhawks Rematch: Didn’t we just play these guys? Sure did! Last weekend in Portland the Rockets suffered a 5-4 overtime loss and an 8-2 setback. After back-to-back games Friday and Saturday, the seasonal series will be over.  The Rockets are 8-3-3-0 in their last 14 regular season meetings against the Hawks, but are just 3-2-1-0 in their last 6 home dates against them. Oddly, the road team has had more success than the home team over the last five years. The Winterhawks power play is 6 for 11 (54.5%) against the Rockets in the seasonal series, so staying out of the penalty box is pivotal.

Rockets face Russians: Three members of the Kelowna Rockets have been named to Team WHL for the ICBC Canada-Russia series. Dillon Dube, Kole Lind and Cal Foote will play in two games against the touring Russian team on November 6th in Moose Jaw and again November 7th in Swift Current. At the same time, 16 year-old defenceman Kaedan Korczak and Rockets goalie prospect Roman Basran will compete at Hockey Canada’s World Under 17 Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek/Fort St. John November 5-11th.  Rockets assistant coach Travis Crickard will be a member of the coaching staff of one of three Canadian teams participating. 

Broadcasters Notebook: James Porter has started in three of the last five gamesThis is the start of four straight on home ice. The Rockets host Portland in back-to-back games this weekend before welcoming Tri City October 27th and Prince George October 28th….Kyle Topping has goals in three of his last four games ….After opening up the scoring in the first six games of the regular season, the opposition has opened the scoring in four straight games…Kole Lind turned 19 on Monday…The Rockets boast one first round NHL draft pick and two second rounders. Cal Foote was chosen 14th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in June while Kole Lind (2nd round (33rd) Canucks - 2017) and Dillon Dube (2nd round (56th) Flames - 2016) were picked in the second round….Nolan Foote, last season’s rookie of the year, is not eligible to be drafted until June 2019…Kole Lind has points in 9 of 10 games this season.

Porter enters record books: Rookie goaltender James Porter joined an elusive group by becoming only the third American born goaltender in Kelowna Rockets franchises history to start a game. Porter, from Bonners Ferry, Idaho joined Adam Brown (Yorba Linda, California) and Mark Guggenberger (Richfield, Minnesota) when he started a game in Prince George October 7/17.

Milestones: Dillon Dube is 7 assists shy of 100 in his career…Kole Lind is 4 assists shy of 100 for his career…Carsen Twarynski is 4 games shy of 200 for his career…Cal Foote played in his 150th career game last Friday in Portland…Lind is three points shy of 150 for his career.

Roster Stats:
Player total: 24
Year by Year Breakdown:
20’s (1997) – 3   Ballhorn, Twarynski, Hilsendager           
19’s (1998) - 4   Salmond, Lind, Dube, Cal Foote, Chizen
18’s (1999) - 7   Topping, Mattson, Gardiner, Bruggen-Cate, Cowell, Porter, Skvrne
17’s (2000) - 9   Nolan Foote, Belcourt, Zabransky, Kindree, Brennan, McGauley, Kushniryk, Pow, Hair
16’s (2001) - 1   Korczak

NHL Drafted Players: Cal Foote (Tampa Bay 2017), Kole Lind (Vancouver 2017), Dillon Dube (Calgary 2016), Carsen Twarynski (Philadelphia 2016), Brayden Chizen (Minnesota 2016).  

Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel of AM 1150

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