March 8, 2018
by Kevin Bain
The Kelowna Rocket get set to take on the Kamloops Blazers on Friday night in Kamloops before coming home to face the Blazers when the WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to promote Organ Donation.
Falling last night to the Giants 4-3 in overtime marked the fifth consecutive loss for the Rockets, matching a season high from back in October.
Assistant Coach Kris Mallette says in order to get back on track, his team needs to play a complete 60 minute game.
“Our message hasn’t changed over this last stretch that we’ve gone through. When we don’t compete for a full 60 minutes, we let things slide and go off on our own page,” said Mallette.
“It seems when teams are going through this kind of stretch, it’s little details that cause pucks to end up in the back of your net. Very similar to the game against Spokane, we played fairly solid, we made a few bad reads, and the puck wound up in our net. Last night was no different, a few ill-advised plays and we put ourselves into overtime. We had a good start yesterday against Vancouver, but we dropped off from there.”
This will be the seventh and eighth meetings of the season between these two clubs. Saturday will be their final meeting of the 2017-18 regular season.
The first two match-ups of the season between the two clubs came on September 22nd and 23rd to open the season. Kelowna hosted the Blazers on September 22nd when Brodan Salmond stood tall, stopping 33 of 35 shots to help the Rockets on their way to a 6-2 win.
The teams were in Kamloops the following night, but this time Jack Cowell was the games first star, notching a pair of goals, including the game winner. The rivals didn’t meet again until after the holidays on December 27th.
Liam Kindree was the hero in that one, scoring the shootout winner to give the Rockets a 2-1 win at home.
They met again on December 29th. Kole Lind scored three times and James Porter stopped all 28 shots he faced in a 3-0 Rockets win in Kamloops.
The fifth time these two teams faced each other was on February 16th in Kamloops. Dillon Dube scored twice and Cal Foote recorded two assists to lead the Rockets to a 2-1 win.
In their most recent matchup on February 24th, Dillon Dube notched two goals and an assist while Leif Mattson scored two of his own en route to a 6-5 Rockets win at Prospera Place.
Friday night puck drop is at 7:00pm at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops. Puck drop on Saturday night is at 7:05pm at Prospera Place.
With only five games remaining in the regular season for Kelowna, they enter Friday night with a 38-22-5-2 record that has them sitting in first place in the B.C. Division with 83 points, three ahead of the second place Victoria Royals.
The Vancouver Giants sit third in the division with 77 points ahead of the fourth place Kamloops Blazers. The Blazers enter Friday with a 29-33-1-4 record that gives them 63 points, nine ahead of the fifth place Prince George Cougars.
The Rockets are currently tied for third place in the Western Conference with the Spokane Chiefs, but the Chiefs have a game in hand on Kelowna.
The Everett Silvertips hold the first spot in the division with 93 points, ahead of the Portland Winterhawks who have 89.
The Rockets will wear Don Cherry themed special edition jerseys that are available for Auction at https://auctions.kelownanow.com/products/index/auction:12/ starting on Tuesday, March 6th – Sunday, March 11th.
1000 Don Cherry Bobbleheads will be given away, and every fan will get a special Don Cherry hockey card.
Kelowna is back in action again following Saturday night when they host the Prince George Cougars on Wednesday night. Puck drop for that one is at 7:05pm.