|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Game Night Preview: The Kelowna Rockets open a mini two game road trip tonight against the Seattle Thunderbirds. This is the first visit to the ShoWare Center since last season’s Western Conference championship series, where in game five, the T-Birds earned a 5-3 win. In that game, the Rockets out-shot the T-Birds 40-24, yet Seattle struck for three power play goals. In their most recent meeting, a week ago at Prospera Place, the T-Birds scored two-third period goals in a 6-4 win. Leif Mattson, Gordie Ballhorn, Kyle Topping and Carsen Twarynski scored in the loss, snapping the Rockets 13 game home ice winning streak. How crazy is this? These two teams battled last Friday, now tonight and meet again next Friday, again here at ShoWare Center. The seasonal series ends February 23rd at Prospera Place. The Rockets are coming off a 7-4 win over the Spokane Chiefs Wednesday night. Kyle Topping scored twice in the win while Carsen Twarynski had three assists. Overall, the Rockets have won 8 of their last 9 games with wins over Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Kamloops (twice), Victoria, Tri City, Calgary and Spokane. The Rockets are in Vancouver tomorrow night before hosting Lethbridge on Wednesday at Prospera Place.
Broadcasters Notebook: The Rockets have received goals from defenceman in three consecutive games. Gordie Ballhorn, James Hilsendager, Braydyn Chizen, Cal Foote and Kaedan Korczak have all found the back of the net over that period…The Rockets made a deal with the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Monday, acquiring the playing rights to 19 year-old forward Ryan Bowen for a 8th round bantam pick. Ryan Bowen is the older brother of prospect Ethan Bowen….The Rockets made a deal last Sunday with the Prince Albert Raiders, sending 17 year-old defenceman Konrad Belcourt to PA for a 5th and 8th round pick…The Rockets have 14 wins in their last 18 games with those four losses coming to Moose Jaw, Brandon, Swift Current and Tri City…The Rockets record after 41 games this season is 26-12-2-1. Last season the hockey club was 23-15-3-0 after 41 games….James Porter was named the WHL and CHL Goaltender of the Week ending December 31st after posting a 2-0-0-0 record including one shutout with a goals against average of 0.48 and a save percentage of .987…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…The Rockets have sent 17 players to Canada’s roster at the World Junior…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 had their 13 game home ice winning streak snapped last Friday night. The team racked up wins over Portland, Tri City, Prince George (twice), Vancouver, Red Deer, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Kootenay and Kamloops (twice), Victoria and Tri City….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 20-1-0-1 when leading after 2 periods…The Rockets are 19-2-1-1 when scoring the first goal of the game….Erik Gardiner has missed 27 games after being injured October 28th vs. Prince George…The Rockets were 7-3 without Dube and Foote at the World Junior’s.
Milestones: Connor Bruggen-Cate played in his 100th game December 30th vs. Victoria…Kyle Topping is played in his 100th career game Wednesday night….Jack Cowell plays in his 100th 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: 25
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) - 9 Porter, Foote, 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