|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Rockets/Oil Kings Preview: This is the first of two meetings between the Kelowna Rockets and Edmonton Oil Kings this season. The Oil Kings make a return trip February 17th. The Rockets were 3-0-0-0 against the Oil Kings last season, winning 1-0 on October 7th, earning a 2-1 shootout victory December 18th and scoring a 10-1 win February 22nd. The Rockets are 6-0-0-1 in their last seven meetings between the two teams. In the big picture, the Rockets haven’t lost in regulation time to the Oil Kings in 10 straight games (8-0-0-2). The last regulation win for the Oil Kings was 5-3 back on October 27, 2012. Following tonight’s game, the Rockets host Lethbridge Friday before traveling to Vancouver to face the Giants Saturday night. The Rockets have points in 5 of their last 6 games.
Soustal Returns: The game tonight features 20 year-old Tomas Soustal returning to face his old team. Soustal was traded to the Oil Kings October 2nd for a 4th round draft pick. The Czech Republic forward played 175 regular season games with the Rockets, scoring 47 goals in 114 regular season games and was a member of the 2015 WHL championship team. This season, Soustal has 4+13=17 in 19 games with the Oil Kings.
Hockey Hotbed: 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.
Broadcasters Notebook: The Rockets have won 5 straight games on home ice with wins over Portland, Tri City, Prince George, Vancouver and Red Deer….The Rockets played their 16 hundredth regular season game in franchise history Novembr 3rd in Victoria in a 4-2 win….4 of the next 7 games for the Rockets are on home ice…Carsen Twarynski has 7 goals in his last 8 games….James Porter has started in 11 of the last 14 games… 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…The Rockets are 4 and 2 in overtime with game winners coming from Kole Lind, Dillon Dube Carsen Twarynski (twice). The only loss in OT came against the Tri City Americans and Portland Winterhawks…The Rockets are 5-2-1-0 in the second of back-to-back games….November birthdays include Kyle Topping (Nov 18th), Carsen Twarynski (Nov 24th) and Nolan Foote (Nov 29th).
Who’s Hot? Liam Kindree has 1+4=5 in his last three games….Kole Lind is riding a 6 game point streak (3+6=9)…Leif Mattson has goals in 6 of his last 8 games.…Carsen Twarynski has goals in 4 of his last 8 games and has 7 goals over that stretch…Kyle Topping has points in 6 of his last 9 games (3+6=9) and has points in 9 of his last 13 games.
Milestones: Dillon Dube is 2 assists shy of 100 in his career…Carsen Twarynski played in his 200th career game October 28th against the Prince George Cougars…James Hilsendager plays in his 200th career game tonight vs. Oil Kings.
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) - 6 Topping, Mattson, Gardiner, Bruggen-Cate, Cowell, Skvrne
17’s (2000) - 10 Porter, Foote, Belcourt, Zabransky, Kindree, Brennan, McGauley, Kushniryk, Pow, Hair
16’s (2001) - 2 Korczak, Basran
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