Before the puck dropped on the 2012-13 season, Colton Sissons fully expected his team to be a factor in the WHL’s B.C. Division.
However, the Kelowna Rockets’ utter dominance on home ice extends well beyond even what the club’s captain ever fathomed.
The Rockets are on a team-record 19-game winning streak at Prospera Place, as the Seattle Thunderbirds come calling on Thursday night.
“We knew we were going to be better this season,” said Sissons, 19, “but to do what we’ve done at home is in one word, unbelievable. You never, ever expect something like this.
“The way the guys have come together, I’m so proud of them. It’s been a really nice run.”
The Rockets eclipsed the Kelowna club record of 18 straight home ice wins—set by the 2002-03 team—with a 5-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants on Saturday night.
The Rockets from a decade ago featured, among others, former assistant coach and then-captain Ryan Cuthbert, along with current NHLers Josh Gorges, Shea Weber and Duncan Keith.
“It’s pretty special to be mentioned with that team,” said Sissons, whose team is 20-2 on home ice this season. “They were a lot great players on that team, so our guys should feel really good about what they’ve accomplished.”
The all-time franchise record of 24 consecutive home ice victories was set by the 1992-93 Rockets when the team was based in Tacoma, Wash.
No one is more proud of the Rockets’ exploits this season than their head coach. Still, Ryan Huska said his club’s hardest work is yet to come.
Beginning Thursday, Kelowna will play seven games in a 10-day span.
“It’s pretty special what the guys have accomplished, it’s not easy to do what they’ve done, they’re a very good, mature group and should be very proud,” said Huska. “Having said that, we’re going be challenged here, we have a lot of travel and a lot hockey to play in a short time. Our older guys are going to be challenged to lead us through this stretch.”
The Rockets (34-10-2-1) and Thunderbirds will meet again Friday in Seattle, before Kelowna returns home to face the Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday night.
Then on Monday, the Rockets will travel to Kamloops for their fourth game in five days.