|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Game Night Preview: The Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops Blazers meet tonight for the fourth time this season. The Rockets are 3-0-0-0 in the seasonal series, but escaped with a 2-1 shootout victory Wednesday night over their arch BC Division rivals. Kole Lind scored the lone goal in regulation time and rookie Liam Kindree scored the decisive goal in the shootout. The real story was the play of goaltender James Porter Junior, who made 46 saves in regulation/overtime and then made four additional stops in the shootout to earn first star status. The Rockets have killed off 10 of 11 Blazers power plays in the three games and are 4 for 16 (25%) with the man advantage. The Rockets close out the month of December tomorrow night against the visiting Victoria Royals. The game against Victoria will be the first of three consecutive games on home ice. The Rockets host Tri City Wednesday and Seattle Friday. One week from Sunday, the Rockets play a single road game in Calgary against the Hitmen in a quirk in the schedule.
Looking Ahead: The Rockets play 13 games in January. Of those 13, six will be played on home ice. Six of those games are against teams in the Central Division including two each with Medicine Hat and Lethbridge. Five of those games are against US Division teams including three against the Seattle Thunderbirds, the only team in the WHL they have failed to play this season.
Broadcasters Notebook: Kole Lind is riding a four game point streak. The 19 year-old has 5+5=10 over that span…Kyle Topping has a five game point streak (3+4=7)…The Rockets record after 35 games this season is 21-11-2-1. Last season the hockey club was 21-12-2-0 after 35 games….…Leif Mattson has 7 more points than he had all of last season…Carsen Twarynski has goals in 9 of his last 13 games…Twarynski had a career high 45 points with the Calgary Hitmen in 2015-2016. The 20 year-old is 6 points shy of that total this season…The Rockets have three hat-tricks this season from Carsen Twarynski (two vs. Portland/one vs. Prince George), and Kole Lind vs. Prince Albert…Kole Lind had three goals in a game against the Kamloops Blazers in December, 2015…Cal Foote and Dillon Dube have made Canada’s entry at the World Junior Hockey Championships…The Rockets have sent 17 players to Canada’s roster at the World Junior Hockey Championships….Nolan Foote has goals in four of his last 9 games…Kyle Topping and Libor Zabrasky are both rated as ‘C’ prospects for June’s NHL draft by NHL Central Scouting. Topping was not on the ‘Players to Watch’ list in October before appearing in November’s rankings…The Rockets have won 11 straight games on home ice with wins over Portland, Tri City, Prince George (twice), Vancouver, Red Deer, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Kootenay and Kamloops….The Rockets played their 16 hundredth regular season game in franchise history November 3rd in Victoria in a 4-2 win……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 8-5-1-0 in the second of back-to-back games….The Rockets are 10-3-0-0 against BC Division teams this season….The Rockets are 16-1-0-1 when leading after 2 periods…The Rockets are 16-2-1-1 when scoring the first goal of the game….Erik Gardiner has missed 21 games after being injured October 28th vs. Prince George.
Milestones: Kyle Topping is playing in his 95th career game tonight….Head Coach Jason Smith coached his 100th career regular season game against the Kootenay Ice on December 2nd…Carsen Twarynski played in his 200th career game October 28th against the Prince George Cougars…James Hilsendager plays in his 200th career game November 14th vs. Oil Kings.
Player total: 26
Year by Year Breakdown:
20’s (1997) – 3 Ballhorn, Twarynski, Hilsendager
19’s (1998) - 5 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