Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Topping brothers go toe-to-toe

Kyle Topping faces older brother tonight - 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/Ams Showdown: These two teams are meeting for the first of four times this season. The Rockets make a return trip November 1st or in 15 days. The Americans make two stops in Kelowna on October 27th and again on January 3rd. Last season the Rockets were 4-0-0-0, winning twice at Toyota Center by scores of 4-1 and 3-2 in overtime. Kole Lind scored the game winner in OT. In the big picture, the Rockets are 10 and 2 against the Americans in the last 12 regular season meetings.

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. Porter became the youngest American born goaltender to win a game in a Rockets uniform at 17 years, 5 months and 7 days, beating Adam Brown, who won his first WHL game at 17 years, 11 months and 29 days. Brown also beat Prince George for his first career victory October 11, 2008 in a 1-0 win. 

Broadcasters Notebook: After tonight’s game, the Rockets will play four straight on home ice. The Rockets host Portland in back-to-back games this Friday and Saturday before welcoming Tri City October 27th and Prince George October 28th….Kyle Topping is riding a three game goal scoring streak. Topping will face his older brother Jordon tonight. The Topping brothers have the exact same number of goals (5), assists (6), and points (11)….After opening up the scoring in the first five games of the regular season, the opposition has opened the scoring in three straight games…Kole Lind turned 19 yesterday…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…Rookie Colum McGauley is the younger brother of former Brandon Wheat Kings forward Tim McGauley. McGauley was a 1st round WHL bantam pick of the Saskatoon Blades in 2010. Colum McGauley has six siblings, three brothers and three sisters…Kole Lind has points in 8 of 9 games this season.

Milestones: Dillon Dube is 7 assists shy of 100 in his career…Kole Lind is 5 assists shy of 100 for his career…Carsen Twarynski is 5 games shy of 200 for his career…Cal Foote played in his 150th career game Friday in Portland…James Hilsendager has played a team high 189th WHL regular season games.

Roster Stats:
Player total: 25
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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