Thursday, February 14, 2019

Rockets vs. Tips preview

Chris Mast Photo
Game Day Preview: The Kelowna Rockets face the Everett Silvertips tonight at Prospera Place. These two teams met back on January 18th, with the Rockets earning a 2-0 win. In the other two meetings, the Tips won by scores of 4-2 (Jan 9, 2019) and 2-1 (November 24, 2018). The most impressive statistic in the seasonal series is the Rockets penalty killing unit, which are 11 for 12 in the three games. Impressive considering the Tips have scored the third most power play goals in the WHL. The Rockets are coming off a 4-1 road win in Kamloops last Saturday night when Lassi Thomson scored twice in the teams’ 23rd victory. Tomorrow night the team hosts Vancouver before traveling to Victoria to face the Royals Monday afternoon (2 pm) and Tuesday before concluding the three game road trip in Spokane a week from tonight.  
Overall, the Rockets are 7-9-2-1 in 19 games since the Christmas break. The Rockets are 19-16-4-1 in 40 games under head coach Adam Foote. 

Who’s Hot:.Kyle Topping has 3+11=14 in his last 10 games…Leif Mattson has 1+5=6 in three games….Alex Swetlikoff has 2+3=5 in his last three games….Nolan Foote has 7+3=10 in his last 10 games….Lassi Thomson has 6+2=8 in his last 11 games …The Rockets have points in 14 of their last 19 home games (11-5-3-0)….The Rockets have won 3 of their last 4, having out-scored the opposition 14-10.

Broadcasters Notebook: Five Kelowna Rockets prospects are participating in the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer February 15th to March 3rd. Among those participating is 15 year-old Trevor Wong, a first round bantam pick in 2018….Defenceman Shael Higson will play in his 300th career game Monday in Victoria… The Rockets have played in seven straight one goal games at home….The Rockets have 14 games left in the regular season. Of those 14, 10 are against teams in the BC Division…The team will play three games in three nights March 1st, 2nd and 3rd…The team has been out-shot in 13 of the last 18 games…The Rockets are 5-9-1-0 in 15 games against a US Division team this season. Three of the five wins have come against Tri City with a single victory over Everett and Seattle…The team plays 5 more games against US Division rivals with two games against Spokane and Portland and a single against Everett this evening .…The Rockets have played 18-one goal games at home this season. Last year they played 15-one goal games at Prospera Place…The team has played in nine-one goal games on the road…The Rockets are 10-12-2-1 against BC Division teams this season…Five members of the Kelowna Rockets have made NHL Central Scouting’s latest rankings. Lassi Thomson is rated 14th, Nolan Foote is ranked 26th and Kaedan Korczak is 31st. Kyle Topping is 195th while Alex Swetlikoff is 217th, Among goalies, Roman Basran is 11th among North American netminders…..Adam Foote was officially named the new head coach of the Kelowna Rockets on October 23, 2018 replacing Jason Smith.,,The Rockets are 9-11-1-0 when playing the second game of back-to-backs….The team acquired 20 year-old Shael Higson from the Brandon Wheat Kings for 20 year-old Braydyn Chizen and a 5th round bantam pick. The team then claimed 20 year-old defenceman Matt Barberis off waivers from the Vancouver Giants. To make room for Barberis, the team released overage forward Lane Zablocki, who is now with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers.

Season Highs/Lows:
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).
Fewest shots on net: 13 @ Edmonton November 17, 2018 (3-1 L)
Most shots allowed: 50 @ Portland November 10, 2018 (3-0 L)
Fewest shots allowed: 16 vs. Victoria December 7, 2018 (2-0 win)
Last time shut out at home: October 3rd, 2018 vs. Vancouver (5-0 L)  
Last time shut out on road: February 1, 2019 @ Spokane (4-0 L)
Last shutout at home: December 7, 2018 vs. Victoria (2-0 W - Roman Basran 16 saves)
Last shutout on the road: January 18, 2019 @ Everett (2-0 W – James Porter 40 saves)
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)
Overtime Games (7): vs. Kamloops (2-1 W) February 2, 2019, vs. Seattle (3-2 Loss) January 30, 2019, @ Kamloops (3-2 Loss) December 28, 2018, vs. Saskatoon (5-4 Loss) December 1, 2018, @ Tri City Nov 30, 2018 (3-2 win), @ PG (4-3 Loss) November 14, 2018, vs. PG (4-3 win) October 27, 2018.  

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Topping's body language speaks volumes

Shoot the Breeze Photo
  • Why were the Kelowna Rockets able to beat the Prince George Cougars and Kamloops Blazers on consecutive night's this weekend? While both teams were lower in the standings, the Rockets had an unflattering 4-7-2-1 record against them. The odds of winning looked bleak. So what turned their fortunes around? In my opinion it happened at the conclusion of Friday's first period. Let me explain. The Rockets struggled mightily in the opening 20 minutes against the hapless Cougars, who built up a 3-1 lead. When the buzzer sounded to end the period, leading scorer Kyle Topping bee-lined to the dressing room. No words were exchanged with teammates. He didn't stick around to pat starting goaltender James Porter on the pads as a physical form of encouragement. Instead, the 19 year-old quickly exited the ice and swiftly made his way to the Rockets dressing room with a look of embarrassment. The 11th round WHL bantam pick, who has transformed into the teams top point producer, had too much pride to accept his team being shown up by the bottom feeder in the BC Division. Topping's body language told his teammates the effort was unacceptable and no verbal cues were needed. I thought it was awesome. I loved the passion, the want to win and the pride to succeed when it appeared others didn't care. While it looked like a small detail at the time, Topping's team came out with an energetic effort from there in earning a come-from-behind 4-3 win. The Rockets would score three straight goals against the Cougars, who earlier in the week made a coaching change by firing Richard Matvichuk and replacing him, on an interim basis, by general manager Mark Lamb. In aiding Topping's cause, slow to anger teammate Kaedan Korczak took matters into his own hands with an early third period scrap with Cougars forward Josh Maser after the 19 year-old delivered an unpenalized high hit on Rockets leading goal scorer Nolan Foote.    
  • Topping's silent temper tantrum and Korczak's first fighting major of the season had the Rockets heading to Kamloops a night later in a tilt that saw the two teams separated by just 4 points in the standings. Despite failing to beat the Blazers on the road this season, Mark Liwiski opened the scoring in what turned out to be a dominating 40 minutes of play. Building up a 3-1 lead, the Rockets stuck to defensive hockey in the third period before sealing the game with an empty netter from Lassi Thomson. Those two wins on the weekend gives the team 23 victories, eliminating any chance that the 2018-2019 edition of the Kelowna Rockets will be pinned with having the fewest wins in franchise history. That mark for futility, at least for another season, will be held by the 2006-2007 team that won only 22 games and missed the playoffs for the only time in franchise history. 
  • What's with Mark Liwiski? The rookie forward scored the game winner Friday and opened the scoring Saturday in Kamloops. The 17 year-old, who doesn't turn 18 until August, has found his scoring touch. With 7 goals this season, five of them having come in his last 10 games. That secondary scoring is a welcome sign at just the right time. On too many nights, TMF is carrying the heavy mail offensively. TMF stands for Topping, Mattson and Foote. 
  • Leif Mattson, who has been one of the teams offensive leaders this season, snapped a 12 game goal scoring drought Saturday with his 19th of the season. Mattson's goal came in the second period to make it 3-0 after Blazers goaltender Dylan Ferguson attempted to clear the puck up the middle of the ice.
  • Connor Bruggen Cate rejoined the team after serving a two game suspension for actions in a game against Kamloops the weekend prior. Fans routinely booed him every time he touched the puck. Blazers d-man Montana Onyebuchi did not play in the game after being slapped with a two game suspension for attacking Bruggen Cate. The 19 year-old will have to deal with the Blazers pugilist when the two teams meet again later this month.  
  • The win in Kamloops was the first this season after going 0-2-1 in three attempts at Sandman Centre. The last win, prior to Saturday night in Kamloops, was a 4-2 victory last season when Dillon Dube scored once and added an assist in the two goal win.
  • The power play struck for two goals Saturday night against the Blazers. It marked the first time the team had manufactured a goal with the extra man after going 0 for 15 in their previous four road games.
  • Lassi Thomson was named the first star in the 4-1 win in Kamloops. The 18 year-old now has 15 goals in his rookie season with four of them coming in his last five games. The franchise record for goals by a European born defenceman in a single season is held by Thomas Slovak, who scored 18 goals in the 2002-2003 season. Might Thomson eclipsed that total? Hard to believe but the shoot first blue-liner went 22 games without a goal earlier this season.
  • The Rockets road record against BC Division teams improved to 4-6-2-1. It was only the third home ice loss for the Blazers against a BC Division team this season. 
  • Liam Kindree missed his 7th straight game Saturday night with a broken nose. Ted Brennan also didn't play after being hurt January 19th against the Prince Albert Raiders.
  • Rookie forward Al Swetlikoff had a good week with 2+3=5 in three games including two goals Wednesday in a 4-3 loss to visiting Spokane. The 17 year-old had two assists in Saturday's win in Kamloops. 
  • The Rockets have just 6 road games left in the season. Three of those six will be played next week, with games Monday February 18th and Tuesday February 19th in Victoria before traveling to Spokane February 22nd. The team closes out the road schedule in March with one more stop in Kamloops and two games in Vancouver (Langley).          

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Rockets vs. Blazers

Alex Swetlikoff - Shoot the Breeze Photo
Game Day Preview: The Kelowna Rockets face the Kamloops Blazers for the 7th time this season. The Rockets are 2-3-1-0 in the opening six games. Four of the six games have been decided by a single goal and two of the games have been decided in overtime, with both teams winning once. Overall, the Rockets have been out-scored 16-11. Leif Mattson, Kyle Topping and Nolan Foote lead the way offensively with five points apiece in the seasonal series. Mattson leads the team in goals with three. Roman Basran has played in four of the six games, posting a goals against average of 2.25 and a save percentage of .924. The Rockets are coming off a 4-3 win last night over the Prince George Cougars. Nolan Foote scored twice in the victory while Cayde Augustine and Mark Liwiski also found the back of the net. Following tonight’s game, the Rockets host Everett Friday before hosting Vancouver a week from tonight. Overall, the Rockets are 6-9-2-1 in 18 games since the Christmas break. The Rockets are 18-16-4-1 in 39 games under head coach Adam Foote. 

Who’s Hot:.Kyle Topping has 3+8=11 in his last 9 games…Nolan Foote has 7+3=10 in his last 9 games….Lassi Thomson has 4+1=5 in his last 10 games…The Rockets penalty killing unit is 45 for 55 in their last 13 road games…The Rockets have points in 14 of their last 19 home games (11-5-3-0).

Broadcasters Notebook: The Rockets have played in seven straight one goal games at home…Nineteen year-old forward Connor Bruggen-Cate is back in the line-up tonight after serving a two game suspension for ‘actions in game’ against the Kamloops Blazers last Saturday….The Rockets have 15 games left in the regular season. Of those 15, 11 are against teams in the BC Division…The team will play three games in three nights March 1st, 2nd and 3rd…The team has been out-shot in 13 of the last 17 games…The Rockets are 5-9-1-0 in 15 games against a US Division team this season. Three of the five wins have come against Tri City with a single victory over Everett and Seattle…The team plays 5 more games against US Division rivals with two games against Spokane and Portland and a single against Everett.…The Rockets have played 18-one goal games at home this season. Last year they played 15-one goal games at Prospera Place…The team has played in nine-one goal games on the road…The Rockets are 9-12-2-1 against BC Division teams this season…Five members of the Kelowna Rockets have made NHL Central Scouting’s latest rankings. Lassi Thomson is rated 14th, Nolan Foote is ranked 26th and Kaedan Korczak is 31st. Kyle Topping is 195th while Alex Swetlikoff is 217th, Among goalies, Roman Basran is 11th among North American netminders…..Adam Foote was officially named the new head coach of the Kelowna Rockets on October 23, 2018 replacing Jason Smith.,,The Rockets are 8-11-1-0 when playing the second game of back-to-backs….The team acquired 20 year-old Shael Higson from the Brandon Wheat Kings for 20 year-old Braydyn Chizen and a 5th round bantam pick. The team then claimed 20 year-old defenceman Matt Barberis off waivers from the Vancouver Giants. To make room for Barberis, the team released overage forward Lane Zablocki, who is now with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers.

Season Highs/Lows:
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).
Fewest shots on net: 13 @ Edmonton November 17, 2018 (3-1 L)
Most shots allowed: 50 @ Portland November 10, 2018 (3-0 L)
Fewest shots allowed: 16 vs. Victoria December 7, 2018 (2-0 win)
Last time shut out at home: October 3rd, 2018 vs. Vancouver (5-0 L)  
Last time shut out on road: February 1, 2019 @ Spokane (4-0 L)
Last shutout at home: December 7, 2018 vs. Victoria (2-0 W - Roman Basran 16 saves)
Last shutout on the road: January 18, 2019 @ Everett (2-0 W – James Porter 40 saves)
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)
Overtime Games (7): vs. Kamloops (2-1 W) February 2, 2019, vs. Seattle (3-2 Loss) January 30, 2019, @ Kamloops (3-2 Loss) December 28, 2018, vs. Saskatoon (5-4 Loss) December 1, 2018, @ Tri City Nov 30, 2018 (3-2 win), @ PG (4-3 Loss) November 14, 2018, vs. PG (4-3 win) October 27, 2018.   

Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel of AM 1150



Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Rockets/Chiefs Preview


Rockets game winner Saturday - Shoot the Breeze Photo
Game Day Preview: The Kelowna Rockets face the Spokane Chiefs for the second of four times this season. The Rockets and Chiefs met last Friday in Spokane, with the Chiefs earning a 4-0 victory. It marked the 5th time this season the Rockets have been shut out this season. These two teams close out the seasonal series in Spokane February 22nd before meeting again at Prospera Place on March 13th. The Rockets are coming off a 2-1 overtime win against the Kamloops Blazers Saturday night. Lassi Thomson scored the game winning goal on the power play while 15 year-old Trevor Wong scored his first career WHL goal, also on the power play, in the one goal win. Following tonight’s game, the Rockets host Prince George Friday before traveling to Kamloops to face the Blazers on Saturday. Overall, the Rockets are 5-8-2-1 in 16 games since the Christmas break. The Rockets are 17-15-4-1 in 37 games under head coach Adam Foote. 

Who’s Hot: Kyle Topping has 6+9=15 in his last 15 games…Nolan Foote has 6+7=13 in his last 12 games….Lassi Thomson has 5+3=8 in his last 13 games…The Rockets penalty killing unit is 45 for 55 in their 
last 13 road games…The Rockets have points in 13 of their last 17 home games (10-4-3-0).

Broadcasters Notebook: Nineteen year-old forward Connor Bruggen-Cate has been suspended for two games by the WHL for ‘actions in game’ against the Kamloops Blazers Saturday night. Bruggen-Cate will miss tonight’s game and Friday’s against Prince George. Blazers d-man Montana Onyebuchi was also suspended two games for his third period attack on Bruggen-Cate….Tonight’s game is very unique as it marks the first time that three Kelowna players are on the ice surface at Prospera Place in a WHL game. Rockets forward Alex Swetlikoff was born in Kelowna while Chiefs forwards Jack Finley and Eli Zummack also call Kelowna home. Findley was born in St. Louis while his father was playing in the NHL….Dan Lambert returns to his old stomping grounds tonight. The second year head coach of the Spokane Chiefs spent six seasons with the Rockets coaching staff, five as an assistant to Ryan Huska and one as a head coach in 2015….The Rockets have 17 games left in the regular season. Of those 17, 11 are against teams in the BC Division…The team will play three games in three nights March 1st, 2nd and 3rd…The team has been out-shot in 13 of the last 15 games…The Rockets are 5-8-1-0 in 14 games against a US Division team this season. Four of the five wins have come against Tri City with a single victory over Everett and Seattle…The team plays 6 more games against US Division rivals with three games against Spokane, two with Portland and a single against Everett.…The Rockets have played 16-one goal games at home this season. Last year they played 15-one goal games at Prospera Place…The team has played in nine-one goal games on the road…The Rockets are 9-12-2-1 against BC Division teams this season…Five members of the Kelowna Rockets have made NHL Central Scouting’s latest rankings. Lassi Thomson is rated 14th, Nolan Foote is ranked 26th and Kaedan Korczak is 31st. Kyle Topping is 195th while Alex Swetlikoff is 217th, Among goalies, Roman Basran is 11th among North American netminders…..Adam Foote was officially named the new head coach of the Kelowna Rockets on October 23, 2018 replacing Jason Smith.,,The Rockets are 8-11-1-0 when playing the second game of back-to-backs….The team acquired 20 year-old Shael Higson from the Brandon Wheat Kings for 20 year-old Braydyn Chizen and a 5th round bantam pick. The team then claimed 20 year-old defenceman Matt Barberis off waivers from the Vancouver Giants. To make room for Barberis, the team released overage forward Lane Zablocki, who is now with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers.

Season Highs/Lows:
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).
Fewest shots on net: 13 @ Edmonton November 17, 2018 (3-1 L)
Most shots allowed: 50 @ Portland November 10, 2018 (3-0 L)
Fewest shots allowed: 16 vs. Victoria December 7, 2018 (2-0 win)
Last time shut out at home: October 3rd, 2018 vs. Vancouver (5-0 L)  
Last time shut out on road: February 1, 2019 @ Spokane (4-0 L)
Last shutout at home: December 7, 2018 vs. Victoria (2-0 W - Roman Basran 16 saves)
Last shutout on the road: January 18, 2019 @ Everett (2-0 W – James Porter 40 saves)
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)
Overtime Games (7): vs. Kamloops (2-1 W) February 2, 2019, vs. Seattle (3-2 Loss) January 30, 2019, @ Kamloops (3-2 Loss) December 28, 2018, vs. Saskatoon (5-4 Loss) December 1, 2018, @ Tri City Nov 30, 2018 (3-2 win), @ PG (4-3 Loss) November 14, 2018, vs. PG (4-3 win) October 27, 2018.  

Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel of AM 1150


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Rookies deliver against BC Division rival

Trevor Wong, with pride, holds the puck marking his 1st career WHL goal 
  • Much hype surrounds 15 year-old Kelowna Rockets prospect Trevor Wong. The Vancouver resident caught the eye of WHL scouts when he showed his incredible offensive skills among his peers, but could that translate into success at the major junior level where young prospects are faced with playing against older, bigger and stiffer competition? Well, over the last few nights we've received a sneak peek at what the dynamic, slick skating forward can bring on a consistent basis to the WHL. It will happen as early as next season when the soft spoken forward makes the jump - full time. A first round bantam pick (18th overall) this past May, Wong scored his first career WHL goal last night in the Kelowna Rockets 2-1 overtime victory against the Kamloops Blazers. Wong's goal opened the scoring when he picked up a rebound off the right pad of Blazers goaltender Dylan Ferguson and buried it into the back of the net. The goal came 91 days before Wong celebrates his 16th birthday and puts him in an elite group with only one other player, in recent memory, to score a goal as an affiliated players at the tender age of 15. Shane McColgan scored his first career WHL goal, as an affiliated player, in only his second game. Wong did it in his fourth. Two other Rockets players have scored their first career WHL goals at 15, but neither were called up by the team with a window of playing a maximum of 5 regular season games under WHL rules. Tyson Baillie was 15 when he scored his first career WHL goal in his first game while Nolan Foote, also 15 at the time, found the back of the net in his 5th career game. Impressive to say the least.
  • Other players to make short work of getting on the score sheet early in their careers was Nick Merkley, who scored his first WHL goal against Kamloops when he was 16. Merkley's goal came in his second career WHL game. Sixteen year-old Madison Bowey also scored his first career goal in only his 8th career game, matching the feat accomplished by a rookie defenceman by the name of Tyson Barrie. Bowey and Barrie are regulars in the NHL now while Merkley has had a taste at that level with the Arizona Coyotes.    
  • Lassi Thomson, who is turning more than a few heads with his terrific rookie season, scored the game winner (12th goal of the season) on the power play with a quick snap shot that beat Ferguson glove hand side. The power play came when  Blazers forward Connor Zary was fingered to the penalty box on what can be considered a soft interference call. I call it soft only because the game was being called fairly loose with many infractions not called. I'm fine with that, as long as the standard remains in place throughout the entire game. The Blazers will complain that the Rockets were awarded four consecutive power play chances, all of them coming in the third period in a tight hockey game. I know if the Rockets saw the Blazers with four consecutive power play chances, the home side wouldn't be happy either. 
  • Outside of Trevor Wong's terrific goal and Lassi Thomson's heroics in overtime, the other incident that stood out in a game featuring two teams separated by one point in the BC Division standings, revolved around Blazers d-man Montana Onyebuchi's physical attack on Rockets forward Conner Bruggen-Cate. The incident happened 2:09 into the third period when it appeared that Onyebuchi, during a line change, made a beeline towards Bruggen-Cate and starting throwing punches. Bruggen-Cate was a non participant in the scrap, resulting in Onyebuchi receiving a 5 minute major and game misconduct for fighting. What precipitated Onyebuchi skating over to Bruggen-Cate and throwing punches is unknown. One can only wonder if something was said to him late in the second period or did he receive a cheap shot from Bruggen-Cate when he and Kaedan Korczak were sent to their respective dressing rooms late in the second period? Onyebuchi was not happy with Bruggen-Cate and will clearly be suspended for his action as the WHL looks down on anyone wanting to engage in a fight with an unwilling player.
  • The game, despite the high stakes, had neither team generating much in the way of scoring chances. The shot totals were 14-13 Kamloops after 40 minutes. When called upon, both Ferguson and Rockets starter Roman Basran were steady, but each goaltender was only required to make essentially one spectacular save. Ferguson was awarded the second star while Basran picked up the third star. Wong skated out as the first star to the applause of those that hung around to salute the players at games end.    
  • The Rockets played this game without three veterans. Mark Liwiski served a one games suspension for an accumulation of kneeing incidents after serving a penalty for such an infraction the night prior in Spokane. Liam Kindree and Ted Brennan also didn't play, allowing 16 year-old prospect Cole Carrier to make his WHL debut. 
  • The win moves the Rockets two points up on the Blazers for third place in the BC Division with 18 games left in the regular season. The Blazers do have a game in hand. These two teams meet four more times before the dust settles. The next match up is this Saturday in Kamloops.
  • The Blazers have had significantly more success within the BC Division than the Rockets. The numbers don't lie. The Rockets are 4-7-2-1 against Kamloops and Prince George. The Blazers record against Kelowna and Prince George is an impressive 10-1-1-0.  
  • Both teams have struggled since the Christmas break. The Rockets are 4-7-1-1 while the Blazers are 5-8-2-0. That explains why both are fighting for their playoff lives. Is it any wonder why the two have almost identical records? The Rockets have 21 wins. The Blazers have 20. The Rockets have 25 losses, as do the Blazers. Each team also has 4 overtime losses. They are mirror images of one another in many respects. That may explain why four of the six games in the seasonal series have been decided by a single goal.  

Friday, February 1, 2019

Rockets vs. Chiefs


Game Day Preview: The Kelowna Rockets face the Spokane Chiefs for the first of four times this season. Yep, the Chiefs are the only team the Rockets haven’t played this season until now. The two teams meet again February 6th in Kelowna before clashing again February 22nd at Veterans Memorial Arena. The seasonal series ends March 13th at Prospera Place. Last season the Rockets were 2 and 2 in the four games between these two teams, who haven’t met in the playoffs since 2003. The Rockets eliminated the Chiefs in four straight games in the second round. The Rockets are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss Wednesday night to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. Mark Liwiski and Kyle Crosby scored in the setback, Roman Basran, the first star, made 35 saves in the loss. Following tonight’s game, the Rockets return home to face Kamloops Saturday night. Overall, the Rockets are 4-7-2-1 in 14 games since the Christmas break. The Rockets are 16-14-4-1 in 35 games under head coach Adam Foote. 

Who’s Hot: Kyle Topping has 6+8=14 in his last 13 games…Nolan Foote has 6+6=12 in his last 11 games….Lassi Thomson has 4+3=7 in his last 11 games…The Rockets penalty killing unit is 43 for 53 in their last 12 road games…The Rockets have points in 12 of their last 16 home games (9-4-3-0).
  
Broadcasters Notebook: Did you know that Rockets head coach Adam Foote and Chiefs head coach Dan Lambert were teammates with the Quebec Nordiques? Foote wore sweater #52 while Lambert wore #50 as raw rookies in the 1991-92 season….Trevor Wong is in the lineup this evening. The 15 year-old will suit up for his third game in the WHL after making his debut October 27th against Prince George. Wong was the Rockets first round pick (18th) in the 2018 WHL bantam draft….The Rockets have 19 games left in the regular season. Of those 19, 12 are against teams in the BC Division…The team will play three games in three nights March 1st, 2nd and 3rd…..The team has been out-shot in 12 of the last 13 games…The Rockets are 5-7-1-0 in 13 games against a US Division team this season. Three of the four wins have come against Tri City with a single victory over Everett and Seattle…The team plays 7 more games against US Division rivals with four games against Spokane, two with Portland and a single against Everett.…The Rockets have played 15-one goal games at home this season. Last year they played 15-one goal games at Prospera Place…The team has played in nine-one goal games on the road…The Rockets are 8-12-2-1 against BC Division teams this season…Five members of the Kelowna Rockets have made NHL Central Scouting’s latest rankings. Lassi Thomson is rated 14th, Nolan Foote is ranked 26th and Kaedan Korczak is 31st. Kyle Topping is 195th while Alex Swetlikoff is 217th, Among goalies, Roman Basran is 11th among North American netminders…..Adam Foote was officially named the new head coach of the Kelowna Rockets on October 23, 2018 replacing Jason Smith.,,The Rockets are 7-11-1-0 when playing the second game of back-to-backs….The team acquired 20 year-old Shael Higson from the Brandon Wheat Kings for 20 year-old Braydyn Chizen and a 5th round bantam pick. The team then claimed 20 year-old defenceman Matt Barberis off waivers from the Vancouver Giants. To make room for Barberis, the team released overage forward Lane Zablocki, who is now with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers.

Season Highs/Lows:
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).
Fewest shots on net: 13 @ Edmonton November 17, 2018 (3-1 L)
Most shots allowed: 50 @ Portland November 10, 2018 (3-0 L)
Fewest shots allowed: 16 vs. Victoria December 7, 2018 (2-0 win)
Last time shut out at home: October 3rd, 2018 vs. Vancouver (5-0 L)  
Last time shut out on road: November 10, 2018 @ Portland (3-0 L)
Last shutout at home: December 7, 2018 vs. Victoria (2-0 W - Roman Basran 16 saves)
Last shutout on the road: January 18, 2019 @ Everett (2-0 W – James Porter 40 saves)
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)
Overtime Games: vs. Seattle (3-2 Loss) January 30, 2019, @ Kamloops (3-2 Loss) December 28, 2018, vs. Saskatoon (5-4 Loss) December 1, 2018, @ Tri City Nov 30, 2018 (3-2 win), @ PG (4-3 Loss) November 14, 2018, vs. PG (4-3 win) October 27, 2018.  

Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel of AM 1150