Rockets back in Kelowna to host Kamloops Tuesday

Kelowna and Kamloops renew their WHL rivalry Tuesday night at Prospera Place with Kelowna having won six straight

Former Kamloops Blazer Jake Kryski and the rest of the Kelowna Rockets take on the Blazers Tuesday night in Kelowna.

The Kelowna Rockets are back in action on Tuesday night when they host their next door neighbours, the Kamloops Blazers.

The Rockets are riding a win streak that extended from four to six games over the weekend.

The club faced Portland in the Moda Center on back to back nights this weekend coming out with a victory on both occasions.

Saturday was the Devante Stephens show as he collected his first career hat-trick in the Rockets 5-3 win.

On Sunday Kelowna erased a two goal deficit to defeat the Winterhawks 3-2 scoring two third period goals that propelled them past the U.S. division squad.

Obviously the Rockets want to keep the good times rolling and to stay away from bad habits. To Head Coach Jason Smith, that starts as soon as the puck drops.

“It’s important that we come out and start the game well. Their team [Kamloops] is playing well right now,” said Smith. “We need to make sure we’re focused on the detail and our game plan so that we can execute at a high level.”

Although the team is on a hot streak, Smith says you have to keep the players in check.

“Any time you put a good stretch together it’s important that you stay on an even keel and don’t let your highs get too high,” Smith said. “But in saying that there’s good energy and guys are confident in how we’re playing and the results we’re getting.”

Improving your record from 3-7-0-0 to 9-7-0-0 is a drastic change. So what exactly did change? Smith believes the team beginning to play games hard from start to finish was the biggest factor.

“I think we finally played complete games, and we have been more attentive to the structure. We’ve just been doing the things that allow our team to have success,” Smith said. “We’ve been getting the puck to the net a lot more along with getting bodies to the net, and we’ve also been defending our zone a lot better as well.”

Smith believes in order to maintain success when the Rockets take on Kamloops tomorrow night they just have to continue playing full throttle.

“We have to keep things going ahead. We’re progressing but it’s about not becoming complacent or taking our foot off the gas pedal,” said Smith. “I think that’s something young teams need learn. We have to continue to push and work at getting better every day so that’s what I’ll be looking for us to do tomorrow.”

Sunday night’s victory was a come-from-behind win. The Rockets were trailing at one point 2-0. There was also a point early in the game that the Rockets were being outshot 11-0. Brodan Salmond collected the win for the Rockets during a strong outing in net. Smith said when you can escape from games like that with a win it builds character.

“Anytime you can come from behind it’s a good sign for your team. Obviously we didn’t let the game get out of hand first of all, and then we gave ourselves an opportunity to win the game late,” Smith said. “I think most of the time in games like that your goaltender is the one giving you the opportunity to stay in the game until your team gets going at a really high level. Sammy [Brodan Salmond] gave us an opportunity through the first two periods to be in the game and be close enough that in the third we came out and did well and did all the things that we wanted to do.”

The Rockets head into Tuesday night with a 9-7-0-0 record that puts them in second place in the B.C. division.

The Blazers come into Tuesday with an 8-8-0-0 record that has them sitting in fourth in the B.C. division.

The Rockets play again on Friday when they head to Vancouver for a 7:05PM matchup VS. the Giants.

The Rockets next home game following Tuesday will be Saturday, November 5th when they take on Medicine Hat at Prospera Place.

Tickets for upcoming home games are available through www.selectyourtickets.com, at the Prospera Place box office or by phone at 250-762-5050.