|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Game Night Preview: The Kelowna Rockets open the post-Christmas break with a home game against the Kamloops Blazers. This is the third meetings of the season between these two teams. The Rockets are 2-0-0-0 after sweeping a pair of games in the first weekend of the regular season in late September. The two teams meet in Kamloops Friday night before clashing again February 16th. The Rockets are 11-3-1-0 in their last 15 regular season home games against the Blazers. The Rockets are coming off a highly successful Eastern Division road trip where the team went 3-3-0-0 with wins over Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert. After playing 6 consecutive games on the road, the Rockets enjoy playing 7 of their next 12 on home ice. The Rockets host Victoria Saturday (Dec 30th) night.
BC Division Battle: The Kelowna Rockets had a record of 4-5-1-1 in the first 11 regular season games of the season. Since then the team is an impressive 16-6-1-0 in their last 23 games. The Kamloops Blazers are 14-8-0-1 in their last 23 regular season contests. The surging Vancouver Giants are 13-8-1-1 in their last 23 games while last place Prince George is 9-12-1-1 in their last 23 games. Victoria is 11-10-2-0 in their last 23 games.
Broadcasters Notebook: The Rockets record after 34 games this season is 20-11-2-1. Last season the hockey club was 20-12-2-0 after 34 games….Kyle Topping had 3+3=6 on a 6 game Eastern Division road trip…Topping has 7 more points than he had all of last season…Leif Mattson has 7 more points than he had all of last season…Carsen Twarynski had 5+2=7 during the teams recently road trip through the East Division….Twarynski has goals in 9 of his last 12 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…Libor Zabransky has 5 assists in his last two games including a career high 4 assists vs. Prince Albert December 15th…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’s three goal game last night was the second of his career. 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 Hockeey 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 8 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 10 straight games on home ice with wins over Portland, Tri City, Prince George (twice), Vancouver, Red Deer, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Kootenay….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 9-3-0-0 against BC Division teams this season….The Rockets are 15-1-0-1 when leading after 2 periods…The Rockets are 15-2-1-1 when scoring the first goal of the game….Erik Gardiner has missed 20 games after being injured October 28th vs. Prince George….Name the only team the Rockets have failed to play in the Western Conference this season? Answer – the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Rockets face the T-Bird three times in the next 11 games. The team makes two stops in Kent on January 12th and 19th. The T-Birds are in Kelowna January 5th and February 23rd.
Milestones: Kyle Topping is playing in his 94th 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