High-flying B.C. rivals visit Rockets
By Warren Henderson - Kelowna Capital News
Published: January 23, 2012 12:00 PM
Updated: January 23, 2012 12:58 PM
Sometimes the best teams bring out the best in their opponents.
Kelowna Rockets head coach Ryan Huska hopes that very scenario unfolds on Wednesday night when the Kamloops Blazers pay a visit to Prospera Place.
The Blazers (34-10-1-2) have won nine straight games and lead the Western Hockey League's overall standings.
"Kamloops has been playing very well, they've had a good season and they've been pretty consistent all year long," said Huska. "Having a rival come in is a good challenge for us, it's similar to Vancouver in that we see them a lot during the season. They're always spirited games, and good games. We need to make sure we bring a good effort."
A good effort isn't something Huska and Co. have been able to count on from their Rockets on a regular basis in 2011-12.
Unlike Kamloops, the Rockets (20-23-2-3) have struggled mightily with consistency.
On one hand, Kelowna has shown on they can compete with the league's elite teams—one example was a 6-2 win over the Western Conference leading Tri-City Americans on Nov. 30.
Then there are nights, such as home ice losses to last-place teams Everett and Lethbridge last week, where the coaching staff is left scratching its collective head.
"That's been the trouble the last while for us," said Huska. "You look at our year and our issue has been a lack of consistency, no doubt about it. Some nights we look very good, then other nights we just aren't willing to work and we just come out flat. It's hard to figure out.
"We played well against Vancouver," Huska said of Saturday's 4-3 shootout win at home. "Our challenge is to do the same against Kamloops, play hard and play 60 minutes."
Wednesday's game marks the fourth meeting of the season between the teams and the first since Oct. 29. The Blazers have won the first three, 3-2, 5-2 and 4-3.
The Rockets close out their five-game home stand Friday night against the Seattle Thunderbirds.