Rockets Look for Another Friday Night Win against the T-Birds, Return
The Kelowna Rockets get set to take on the Seattle Thunderbirds in another Friday night match-up in Kent, WA. before heading home to host a B.C. divisional rival in the Victoria Royals. Friday night will be the third Friday in a row the Rockets will face the T-Birds.
The previous two Friday meetings between the Rockets and T-Birds left each team with one regulation win. On January 5th, the Thunderbirds took the first game in Kelowna beating the Rockets 6-4. Kelowna evened the score last Friday with multi-point evenings from several players resulting in a 6-2 win in Kent. The Rockets had multi-point contributions from Leif Mattson(1G, 2A), Cal Foote(3A), Carsen Twarynski(2G), and Kyle Topping(2A) that night. Rockets Assistant Coach Travis Crickard says to ensure another win the team will have to use similar tactics.
"Whenever we play Seattle special teams play a huge factor," said Crickard. "Last week we were able to shut them down on the penalty kill and score a couple of early goals on the power play. That forced Seattle to have to chase the game for the remainder of the evening."
Friday's game is the third of four meetings this season for the two clubs. Crickard says with three games in three weeks against the Seattle Thunderbirds rivalries begin to grow especially in younger players.
"A rivalry gets instilled in our younger players who haven't played here the past two seasons. The more regularly you play an opponent the better you get to know them and you want to out compete them," said Crickard. "For our older guys, Seattle has ousted us from the playoff in each of the past two seasons so there will always be a chip on their shoulders when playing them."
The Rockets are coming off of a 4-3 OT win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Wednesday night. Kelowna goes into Friday night's match-up against the Thunderbirds with a record of 28-13-2-1 giving them 59 points. They currently sit atop the B.C division, three points ahead of the Vancouver Giants and the Victoria Royals who are both tied with 56 points. The Rockets have a game in hand on the Giants and two on the Royals.
The Seattle Thunderbirds enter Friday night with a record of 22-16-4-2 giving them 50 points. Thats good enough for third place in the U.S. Division, tied with the Tri-City Americans, and has them sitting eight points behind the first place Everett Silvertips. The Birds have two games in hand on the Tips. Seattle is six points behind the second place Portland Winterhawks, and they sit one point ahead of last place Spokane Chiefs with one game in hand.
Puck drop on Friday night is at 7:35PM.
The Rockets will be back on home ice on Saturday to take on one of their biggest rivals, the Victoria Royals. The Rockets and Royals have met four times already this season with each team winning twice. On October 4th the Rockets fell 8-3 on home ice to the Royals. The next meeting showed the Rockets winning 4-2 in Victoria, but the Royals got 4-2 redemption the very next night. The most recent matchup between these two was the last game of 2017 for Kelowna. On December 30th the Rockets edged past the Royals 3-2 in a shootout. Including Saturday the Rockets and Royals will meet four more times before seasons end.
The Royals enter their game on Friday night with the Vancouver Giants with a 26-16-3-1 record tying them for second place in the B.C. Division with the Giants with 56 points. The Prince George Cougars are 15 points back of the Royals for the third spot in the division.
Puck drop on Saturday night at Prospera Place is 7:00pm.
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Rockets Look for Another Friday Night Win against the T-Birds, Return Home to Face Royals
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