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Preview: Rockets set to welcome Blazers

Photo Credit: Marissa Baecker

In what can only be described as one of the most anticipated games of the Rockets schedule, Kelowna will host the Kamloops for their first of six matchups this season.

The last time these two teams met was a heated affair, the Kelowna dropped a 7-2 decision that was filled with plenty of rough stuff in the final few minutes of the game. Had the 2019-20 season not been cancelled due to Covid-19, the Rockets next game on the schedule would’ve been the rematch.

The Rivalry: 

The intensity of the rivalry might not be there as several players have moved on since that game last season.

The Rockets said goodbye to Nolan Foote, Matthew Wedman, Michael Farren, Kyle Topping, Michael Farren and others. Zane Franklin, Ryley Appelt, Brodi Stuart, Jerzy Orchard, Luke Zazula, and a handful of others have departed the Blazers.

With a younger crop of players on both sides, it might be a tamer to start out. But with six matchups on the docket, there’s a good chance the rivalry will be alive and well later into the shortened season.

Kelowna looking to bounce back:

The Rockets opened the season with a commanding 5-0 win over the Victoria Royals on Friday night at Prospera Place but were on the opposite end of it on Sunday when the Vancouver Giants blanked Kelowna 6-0.

The Rockets racked up 29 of the 70 penalty minutes in the game against the Giants.

After two games, the Rockets power play is one-for-ten on the season, they were shut down all five times on Sunday in Kamloops.

Cole Schwebius made 19 saves to pick up his second career WHL shutout on Friday, while Roman Basran stopped 31 of 37 shots on Sunday.

Blazers carrying undefeated momentum:

The Blazers are the lone undefeated team in the REMAX Hub, they’re 2-0 on the season, outscoring their opponents 12-7.

Prince George couldn’t hold on to their lead over the Blazers on Saturday. Down 3-1 after one period of play, the Blazers stormed back to take the game 5-4 thanks to Logan Stankoven’s goal midway through the final period.

New York Rangers prospect and Team Canada World Junior goaltender Dylan Garand has started both games for Kamloops this season.

Online 50/50

The Kelowna Rockets online 50/50 is back for the 2020-21 season for all home games.

The online 50/50 will give fans in Rockets fans located in British Columbia with the chance to win during every Rockets home game this season. The 50/50 will also raise important dollars for the Kelowna Minor Hockey Association and the Rockets Education Fund.

Tickets will go on sale at 9 a.m. PT Friday morning. To learn more about the online 50/50 please click here.

TRUE Hockey Game Day Guide and JDS Projected Lineup

The TRUE Hockey Game Day Media Guide will be available with team notes, stats and rosters for all games. Feel free to print this at home.

The Rockets will post the JDS Mining Projected Lineup complete with line combos at least half an hour prior to puck drop for all games this season. You will be able to find the graphic on our TwitterFacebook and Instagram stories.

2020-201 B.C. Division Standings

 # Team GP  W L OTL SOL PTS
1  Kamloops Blazers 2 2 0 0 0 4
2 Vancouver Giants 2 1 1 0 0 2
3 Kelowna Rockets 2 1 1 0 0 2
4 Prince George Cougars 1 0 1 0 0 0
5 Victoria Royals 1 0 1 0 0 0

2019-2020 Season Series vs. Kamloops Blazers: 1-6-1-0

Sept. 27, 2019: Kelowna 2 at Kamloops 3 OT

Oct. 12, 2019: Kamloops 5 at Kelowna 2

Oct. 19, 2019: Kelowna 1 at Kamloops 2

Nov. 11, 2019: Kelowna 2 at Kamloops 5

Nov. 16, 2019: Kamloops 3 at Kelowna 4

Dec. 27, 2o19: Kamloops 4 at Kelowna 0

Jan. 10, 2020: Kelowna 1 at Kamloops 4

Jan. 11, 2020: Kamloops 7 at Kelowna 2

Mar. 13, 2020: Kelowna at Kamloops cancelled

Mar. 14, 2020: Kamloops at Kelowna cancelled

Players to watch*:

*These players are not guaranteed to be in the lineup for the games

Kelowna

  • Alex Swetlikoff didn’t miss a beat in the season opener, netting both shots on goal he had. He was held to one shot on net during the game on Sunday against the Giants. He leads the Rockets in faceoff attempts with 37, he’s been successful on 16 of those draws,
  • Seventeen-year-old defenceman Elias Carmichael is looking comfortable on the blueline in his second season with the Rockets. He picked up a goal and assist in Friday night’s game, and leads Kelowna’s defenceman in shots on goal with four.

Kamloops

  • Calgary Flames 2020 first-round pick Connor Zary was named the Blazers captain prior to the start of the shortened season. He’s tied for the team lead in points with four through two games.
  • Highly touted 2021 NHL Draft prospect Logan Stankoven is off to a hot start, he leads the team in goals with three and is tied for the team lead in points.

Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. PT. You can watch online at watch.chl.ca or listen to AM1150, Regan Bartel’s play by play will be available on both broadcasts.

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