The Kelowna Rockets will return to action tomorrow on the road against their biggest rival, the Kamloops Blazers. They’ll play at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops on Friday night before returning to Kelowna on Saturday to wrap up the home-and-home series.
Newly signed Rocket, Alex Swetlikoff is expected to make his Western Hockey League debut Friday. Kelowna acquired Swetlikoff’s rights from the Lethbridge Hurricanes on December 6th, the Kelowna product inked a standard WHL Player Agreement on December 18th. Swetlikoff has practised with the team the last couple days, he says he is excited to play in his first WHL game against the Blazers.
“I just need to keep it simple and stick to the game plan,” said Swetlikoff. “Obviously Kamloops is one of the biggest rivalries for the Rockets, so it’s going to be a hard battle out there. We just have to keep it simple and shoot pucks on net and get to them.”
Kelowna has only faced the Blazers twice so far this season, Kamloops has taken both of those games. They opened the regular season against each other with a home-and-home series; the Blazers were victorious on home ice with a 4-1 win over Kelowna on September 21st, the next night they defeated the Rockets 3-1 at Prospera Place.
The Rockets and Blazers will see each other another six times after Saturday. Kelowna will travel to Kamloops for a game on Saturday, January 5th. They won’t play again until February when the Rockets host the Blazers on Saturday, February 2nd. A week later, they’ll play in Kamloops on Saturday, February 9th. They’ll get reacquainted on Saturday, February 23rd right here at Prospera Place. The two teams will wrap up their season series with another home-and-home series starting in Kamloops on Friday, March 8th before heading back to Kelowna the next night.
Kelowna will head into Friday nights matchup sitting in second place in the B.C. Division, they have a record of 16-17-2-0 and 34 points. The Rockets are nine points ahead of the fifth-place Prince George Cougars; they’re seven points in front of the Blazers who sit in fourth place with a record of 12-16-2-1 and 27 points. The Rockets are one point ahead of the third place Victoria Royals and trail the division-leading Vancouver Giants by 12 points.
Come cheer on the Rockets after a long break and help welcome Swetlikoff to the WHL, tickets are on sale at selectyourtickets.com, at the Prospera Place box office or by phone at 250-762-5050.
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