Game Day Preview: A rare Tuesday night game at Prospera Place against the defending WHL champion Swift Current Broncos. Two of the top teams in the WHL last season, they have combined for just 5 wins in 26 games in 2018-2019. The Rockets are 4-10-0-0 while the Broncos are dead last in the 22 team circuit at 1-11-0-0. This is the lone meeting of the season between these two teams. The Rockets are coming off a highly successful weekend where they won two of three games with back-to-back wins over Victoria (8-2 and 5-1) before losing Sunday in Vancouver by a score of 3-1. Kyle Topping scored the lone goal in the setback, snapping a modest two game winning streak. This is game one of a three game home stand, which has the team hosting Prince George Saturday and Brandon November 3rd. For those not keeping count, the Rockets have lost all 6 home games this season.
Gator Gone: The Kelowna Rockets announced on Monday that they have relieved head coach Jason Smith of his duties. Smith was hired in the summer of 2016 to replace Brad Ralph, who mutually parted ways with the team. Smith led the Rockets to back-to-back 40+ wins seasons, but was unable to earn a playoff victory in a four game sweep against the Tri City Americans in last season’s playoffs. No successor was named at the time of Smith’s departure, but the team was scheduled to have that new face behind the bench for tonight’s game against the Broncos. The new coach will be the teams 4th in the last 5 seasons.
Broadcasters Notebook: Kyle Topping is riding an 8 game point streak. Topping has 3+10=13 over that period….Forward Nolan Foote has been named to Team WHL, who will host two games when the Russian Selects face the WHL in the 2018 CIBC Canada/Russia series. Games will be played in Kamloops November 5th and in Vancouver November 6th ….Nolan Foote has 6 goals in 6 games….Rookie Dillon Wilton has goals in three of his last five games……The Rockets have 928 wins as a franchise since relocating from Tacoma to Kelowna for the 1995-96 season ….Five members of the Kelowna Rockets have been named to NHL Central Scouting’s “Players to watch’ list. Forward Nolan Foote is an ‘A’ prospect, meaning a first round candidate. Kaedan Korczak is a ‘B’ prospect which means he is projected to be selected in the second or third round. Roman Basran, Kyle Topping and Lassi Thomson are ‘C’ prospect, which means they could be taken in the third to the seventh round…. The Rockets have failed to open the scoring in 10 of the 14 games this season….The Rockets have trailed going onto the third period in 10 of the 14 games….Erik Gardiner has 12 career goals. Of those 12, ten have come against teams in the BC Division.
Trade Winds: The Rockets traded 18 year-old Wil Kushniryk to the Tri City Americans on Monday for a 5th round bantam pick. Kushniryk was pointless in four games this season. The Rockets acquired 20 year-old defenceman Dalton Galley October 10, 2018 from the Medicine Hat Tigers for a 10th round bantam pick. The hockey club acquired 18 year-old forward Michael Farrin October 11th from the Saskatoon Blades for a third round WHL bantam pick. The Rockets also made a trade with the Victoria Royals Saturday September 29th. The team acquired 20 year-old Lane Zablocki for a conditional 7th round and conditional 4th round bantam draft pick.
Most goals scored: 8 @ Victoria October 19/18 (8-2 W)
Most goals allowed: 9 vs. Seattle October 10th, 2018 (9-6 L)
Most shots on net: 45 @ Seattle October 6th, 2018 (4-1 L), 40 vs. Kamloops September 22nd, 2018 (3-1 L)
Fewest shots on net: 21 vs. Vancouver October 3rd, 2018 (5-0 L)
Most shots allowed: 39 @ Prince George September 29th, 2018 (5-2 W)
Fewest shots allowed: 20 @ Victoria October 19, 2018 (8-2 W)
Last time shut out: October 3rd, 2018 vs. Vancouver (5-0 L)
Most power play goals allowed: 4 vs. Seattle October 10th, 2018 (9-6 L). T-Birds were 4/5 on power play.
Most power play goals scored: 4 @ Victoria October 19, 2018 (8-2 W)
Player total: 24
Year by Year Breakdown:
20’s (1998) – 4 Gally, Zablocki, Chizen
19’s (1999) - 5 Topping, Mattson, Gardiner, Bruggen-Cate, Cowell
18’s (2000) - 10 Farrin, Thomson, Porter, Foote, Zabransky, Kindree, Brennan, Pow, Steffler,
17’s (2001) - 6 Korczak, Crosbie, Basran, Liwiski, Wilton, Augustine
16’s (2002) - 1 Ernst
Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel of AM 1150