GAME DAY: Rockets and Cougars go for round two
Rockets @ Cougars
Saturday October 7th, 2017
Game Time – 7:05 pm
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets are in their 27th year of existence since coming into the Western Hockey League as an expansion franchise in 1991. After four seasons in Tacoma, the team relocated to Kelowna in 1995-96, where the team has spent the last 22 years in the Okanagan. The team has four WHL championships (2003, 2005, 2009, 2015) and have missed the playoffs only once in their existence. The hockey club has made four straight appearances in the Western Conference final and has registered 40 or more wins in five consecutive seasons.
Rockets Recap: Kole Lind scored in overtime lifting the Kelowna Rockets to a 7-6 win last night over the Prince George Cougars. Lind took a feed from Dillon Dube on a two-on-one to score his team leading 6th goal of the season. Lind set the stage for overtime by scoring the tying goal with 3:33 remaining in regulation time. Erik Gardiner had 2+1=3 in the win while Nolan Foote, Dillon Dube and rookie Colum McGauley, with his first career WHL goal, also scored in the one goal victory.
Broadcasters Notebook: Erik Gardiner’s two goals against the Prince George Cougars last night were his first multiple goal game of his career…Kole Lind’s overtime winner last night was his 50th goal of his WHL career…Lind is riding a 5 game point streak…The Rockets have opened the scoring in every game this season…. The Rockets have held the lead in 4 of the 5 games after one period….. The team has also out-shot the opponent in 4 of the 5 games this season……The Rockets boast one first round NHL draft pick and two second rounders. Cal Foote was chosen 14th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in June while Kole Lind (2nd round (33RD) Canucks – 2017) and Dillon Dube (2nd round (56th) Flames – 2016) were picked in the second round….Nolan Foote, last season’s rookie of the year, is not eligible to be drafted until June 2019.
Milestones: Kole Lind is 8 assists shy of 100 for his career…Lind is played in his 150th career game Wednesday night.…Cal Foote is 3 games shy of 150 for his career…James Hilsendager has played a team high 186 WHL regular season games.
Rockets Review: The Rockets were 45-22-0-5 last season which was good for second place in the BC Division with 95 points, one fewer than division leading Prince George. The team had the 6th best winning percentage in the WHL while scoring the third most goals and allowing the fourth fewest goals against. The Rockets won 22 road games, the second most in the Western Conference behind only the Cougars (23). Kole Lind was the teams scoring champion (30+57=87) with Lind leading the team in assists (57) and MVP Calvin Thurkauf leading the charge with 33 goals. The hockey club made it all the way to the third round of the playoffs before eventually losing in 6 games to WHL champion Seattle.
Who’s Gone? The team lost seven significant players following the 2016-2017 season. Calvin Thurkauf (33 goals and 70 points) is playing pro hockey with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Nick Merkley (63 points in 63 games) is playing pro with the Arizona Coyotes. Captain Rodney Southam graduated and is playing with the Acadia Axemen. Lucas Johansen is with the Washington Capitals organization while Reid Gardiner, acquired at last year’s trade deadline for a first round bantam pick, signed an American Hockey League deal with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Overage goaltender Michael Herringer is playing with the Regina Cougars (U Sports) this season.
Player total: 25
Year by Year Breakdown:
20’s (1997) – 3 Ballhorn, Twarynski, Hilsendager
19’s (1998) – 4 Salmond, Lind, Dube, Cal Foote, Chizen
18’s (1999) – 7 Topping, Mattson, Gardiner, Bruggen-Cate, Cowell, Porter, Skvrne
17’s (2000) – 9 Nolan Foote, Belcourt, Zabransky, Kindree, Brennan, McGauley, Kushniryk, Pow, Hair
16’s (2001) – 1 Korczak
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