|Dan Lambert as head coach of the Kelowna Rockets|
Rockets/Chiefs Preview: The Kelowna Rockets are back in Spokane to face the Chiefs for the second time in 9 days. These two teams met back on November 22nd with the Chiefs earning a 6-2 win. The Rockets enjoyed a month of November where they went 8-3-1-0 in 12 games and are coming off a 5-3 win Wednesday night over the visiting Prince George Cougars. Carsen Twarynski recorded his second-three goal game of the season while Dillon Dube and Cal Foote added singles. The Rockets fired 29 shots at the Cougars net in the team’s 15th victory. The Rockets open the month of December playing 7 of 8 games on the road before the Christmas break. The team hosts Kootenay tomorrow night before embarking on an epic 6 game in 8 day road trip through the Eastern Division. The Rockets are riding a 9 game home ice winning streak.
Eastern Conference Roady: The team begins an Eastern Division road trip December 8th in Regina, December 9th in Brandon, December 12th in Moose Jaw, December 13th in Swift Current, December 15th in Prince Albert and concluding the trip December 16th in Saskatoon. The Rockets were 3-3-0-0 in the 6 games in 2015-2016 with wins in Regina, Swift Current and Moose Jaw.
Broadcasters Notebook: Forward Erik Gardiner has missed 12 straight games with injury. Gardiner last played October 28th against the Prince George Cougars….Leading scorer Kole Lind has missed 6 straight games with mono but has recovered to the point that he may play tomorrow night against the Kootenay Ice…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 9 straight games on home ice with wins over Portland, Tri City, Prince George (twice), Vancouver, Red Deer, Edmonton and Lethbridge….The Rockets played their 16 hundredth regular season game in franchise history November 3rd in Victoria in a 4-2 win…Carsen Twarynski has 14 goals in his last 14 games….James Porter has started in 16 of the last 20 games…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 6-3-1-0 in the second of back-to-back games….Hockey Canada names its training camp roster on Monday. Three Rockets (Lind/Foote/Dube) are on the radar. Dube is trying to become first Rockets player ever to play in back-to-back seasons at the world junior’s for Canada. This year’s tournament is in Buffalo, New York…The Rockets are 9-3-0-0 against BC Division teams this season….The Rockets are 10-0-0-1 when leading after 2 periods…The Rockets are 13-1-1-1 when scoring the first goal of the game.
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.
Milestones: Head Coach Jason Smith coaches his 100th career regular season game tomorrow night against the Kootenay Ice…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