|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Game Night Preview: Happy New Year. The Kelowna Rockets play game two of a three game home stand tonight against the visiting Tri City Americans. This is the fourth and final meeting of the season between these two teams. Two of the three games have been decided in overtime (4-3), with the Rockets suffering a 2-1 loss in Kennewick in regulation time back on October 17th. The Rockets are riding a 14 game home ice winning streak over the Americans. Tri City has not won at Prospera Place since September 29/ 2010 when they squeaked out a 4-3 victory. Brett Bulmer, Antoine Corbin and Evan Bloodoff scored in the setback. Adam Brown made 25 saves in the loss. The Rockets are coming off a 3-2 shootout win over the Victoria Royals Saturday night. Leif Mattson scored the game winning goal while Roman Basran was named the 1st star with 36 saves. Overall, the Rockets have won 5 straight games with wins over Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Kamloops (twice) and Victoria.
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: The Rockets have out-scored the opposition 20-6 during the five game winning streak…The Rockets have 11 wins in their last 14 games with those three losses coming to Moose Jaw, Brandon and Swift Current…The Rockets are 5-2-0-0 without Dillon Dube and Cal Foote at the World Junior Hockey Championship……The Rockets record after 37 games this season is 23-11-2-1. Last season the hockey club was 23-12-2-0 after 37 games….Leif Mattson has 7 more points than he had all of last season…Carsen Twarynski has goals in 9 of his last 15 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 four hat-tricks this season from Carsen Twarynski (two vs. Portland/one vs. Prince George), and Kole Lind (vs. Prince Albert and Kamllops)…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…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 12 straight games on home ice with wins over Portland, Tri City, Prince George (twice), Vancouver, Red Deer, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Kootenay and Kamloops (twice)….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 9-5-1-0 in the second of back-to-back games….The Rockets are 12-3-0-0 against BC Division teams this season….The Rockets are 18-1-0-1 when leading after 2 periods…The Rockets are 18-2-1-1 when scoring the first goal of the game….Erik Gardiner has missed 23 games after being injured October 28th vs. Prince George.
Milestones: Connor Bruggen-Cate played in his 100th game Saturday vs. Victoria…Kyle Topping is playing in his 97th career game tonight – 3 shy of 100….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