After starting the Western Hockey League season with the majority of its games on the road, the Kelowna Rockets will return to Prospera Place this week for a pair of homes games to start a four game home-stand.
The Rockets are coming off a solid road trip to the WHL Central Division that saw them earn wins in Calgary and Red Deer along with a shootout loss in Medicine Hat and a regulation loss in Edmonton to pick up five out of a possible eight points along the way.
“We have a pretty good trip and played some good games,” said Rockets’ coach Ryan Huska. “We got off to a good start in (a shootout loss) in Medicine Hat. It was unfortunate we didn’t get two points there but we played really well and it carried on from there.”
The Rockets closed out their trip on Sunday afternoon in Calgary with a convincing 4-1 win over the Hitmen that sent the team back home on a winning note. Huska said the team dug deep in what was an afternoon start playing its third game in three days and fourth in five days on the road. It was the continuation of a tough schedule to start the WHL season that has seen the Rockets play 11 of its first 16 games on the road.
“When we looked at the schedule we knew it would be a challenging start with the travel and the number of games on the road,” said Huska. “It might have been kind of a blessing in disguise for our players because they spent a lot of time together and because of that we have become a tighter group.”
The Rockets head into November with a schedule that will bring them to Prospera Place more often than not. Beginning Thursday when they host Kamloops, the Rockets will play eight of 11 games in November at home.
Huska said the team now has to take advantage of the good results on the road which has the team sitting at 8-6-1-1.
“It’s about continuing to feel good about hat we’re trying to do and focussing on one game at a time,” he said. “We have a very good team coming in here on Thursday (Kamloops) and we want to make sure we are trying to improve ourselves everyday.”
After Thursday’s game against Kamloops, the Rockets will host Prince George on Saturday.
Saturday’s game against Prince George is the BMO Ultimate Fan contest where one lucky Rockets fan will be named the Ultimate Fan and will be entered into a draw for tickets to the 2013 Memorial Cup. Rockets fans are encouraged to dress up and show their support to be chosen for the chance to go to Saskatoon for the Memorial Cup.