Rockets prepared for big weekend
The Kelowna Rockets season may have started off slow out of the gate with only one game during opening week, but their season will ramp up this weekend with a busy three games in three nights.
The Rockets will face the Kamloops Blazers on the road at the Sandman Centre at 7:00pm on Friday, they’ll then host the Everett Silvertips the next night at 7:05 pm, and then wrap up the weekend against the Vancouver Giants in Langley at 4:00pm on Sunday.
Kelowna is looking to build on their season-opening 4-3 overtime win over the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday. And they’ll have their full lineup for the first time as Nolan Foote, the final of the seven players that attended NHL camps was returned to the Rockets from Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday. Foote, who suited up for two preseason contests with the Bolts, says he’s looking forward to rejoining the team.
“This weekend is going to be fun, it’s going to be good to get back out there with the guys and play. We need to play our systems and play hard, we know for sure that they’re going to come out hard. We’re a target this year, we’re the host of the Memorial Cup this year.”
Kelowna’s season came to an end last year against the Blazers in a tiebreaker game that saw the Blazers score four times in the final frame to skate away with a 5-1 victory and the last spot in the playoffs.
Kamloops will be searching for their first win of the regular season against the Rockets. After going 7-0-0-0 in the preseason, the Blazers opened their season 0-3 last weekend.
The Rockets will face the Blazers a total of ten times this season, following Friday they’ll face each other next on October 12 at Prospera Place.
2018-2019 Season Series vs. Kamloops Blazers: 3-5-1-1
Sept. 21, 2o18: Kelowna 1 at Kamloops 4
Sept. 22, 2018: Kamloops 3 at Kelowna 1
Dec. 28, 2018: Kelowna 2 at Kamloops 3 OT
Dec. 29, 2018: Kamloops 1 at Kelowna 2
Jan. 5, 2019: Kelowna 3 at Kamloops 4
Feb. 2, 2019: Kamloops 1 at Kelowna 2 OT
Feb. 9, 2019: Kelowna 4 at Kamloops 1
Feb. 23, 2019: Kamloops 0 at Kelowna 2
Mar. 8, 2019: Kelowna 1 at Kamloops 2 SO
Mar. 9, 2019: Kamloops 2 at Kelowna 1
Tie Break Game – Mar. 19, 2019: Kelowna 1 at Kamloops 5
The Rockets will then host the reigning U.S. Division champs, the Everett Silvertips on Saturday night. Everett will be well-rested and waiting, they’ve been off since Saturday and won’t play again until they face the Rockets.
The Tips opened their season with a win and a loss last weekend; they fell to the Tri-City Americans 4-2 on Fri., Sept. 20 but bounced back with a commanding 6-0 victory over the Victoria Royals the next night.
Kelowna won’t face the Silvertips again until the New Year when they’ll head to the Angel Of The Winds Arena on January 17, 2019.
2018-2019 Season Series vs. Everett Silvertips: 1-3-0-0
Nov. 24, 2018: Kelowna 1 at Everett 2
Jan. 9, 2019: Everett 4 at Kelowna 2
Jan. 18, 2019: Kelowna 2 at Everett 0
Feb. 15, 2019: Everett 3 at Kelowna 1
Kelowna will then wrap up their weekend on the road at the Langley Events Centre against the Vancouver Giants on Sunday. The Giants kicked off their season with two wins over the Prince George Cougars on the road last weekend.
Vancouver also has a busy weekend with three games in three nights; they’ll host the Portland Winterhawks on Friday, before heading to Kamloops to take on the Blazers on Saturday.
Colorado Avalanche fourth overall pick Bowen Byram was returned to the Giants Thursday morning, he’s is expected to play this weekend.
2018-2019 Season Series vs. Vancouver Giants: 2-7-0-0
Oct. 3, 2018: Vancouver 5 at Kelowna 0
Oct. 21, 2018: Kelowna 1 at Vancouver 3
Nov. 28, 2018: Vancouver 2 at Kelowna 1
Jan. 26, 2019: Vancouver 2 at Kelowna 1
Jan. 27, 2019: Kelowna 4 at Vancouver 3 SO
Feb. 16, 2019: Vancouver 2 at Kelowna 0
Mar. 1, 2019: Kelowna 4 at Vancouver 7
Mar. 15, 2019: Kelowna 1 at Vancouver 2
Mar. 16, 2019: Vancouver 2 at Kelowna 3 OT
Players to watch:
- Dillon Hamaliuk (SJ ’19) made an impression with 4 points (2G, 2A) in his debut with the Rockets including the game-winner in overtime.
- Nolan Foote (TBL ’19) the Tampa Bay Lightning’s first-round pick will make his regular-season debut this weekend. Goalin’ Nolan led the Rockets in goals last season with 36, 17 of them came on the power play
- Logan Stankoven hasn’t slowed down at all since the start of the preseason and carried that production over last weekend. The 16-year-old rookie lead all WHL players in scoring with 15 points (8G, 7A) in six exhibition games. After three regular-season games he continues to lead the Blazers in scoring with two goals and one assist.
- Defenceman Quinn Schmimann (TBL ’19) roomed with Nolan Foote at the Lightning’s development camp during the summer. The sixth-round pick had 28 points (5G, 23A) in 58 games with the Blazers last season.
- Silvertips captain Bryce Kindopp was rewarded with WHL On the Run Player of the Week honours and named to the CHL Team of the Week after leading all league scorers with six points counting three goals and three assists through the first weekend of play.
- Goaltender Dustin Wolf (CGY ’19) was named the western conference goaltender of the year last season after a career year, posting a record of 41-15-2-2 with a 1.69 goals-against average, .936 save percentage and seven shutouts in 61 appearances.
- Colorado Avalanche fourth overall pick Bowen Byram has rejoined the team just in time for this weekend. The defenceman was a force during the postseason last year, picking up a WHL-best 26 points (8G-18A) as he led the Giants to the 2019 Rogers WHL Championship Series.
- Defenceman Seth Bafaro stepped up while Byram was away, he produced five points (2G,3A) in the Giants first two regular-season games
Tickets are on sale for Saturday night’s contest at selectyourtickets.com, at the Prospera Place box office or by phone at 250-762-5050.