Rockets finish off solid January
As Januarys go, it was a pretty decent one for the Kelowna Rockets.
Despite an occasional hiccup here and there, the Western Hockey League club closed out the month with an 8-5-0-1 record, their best stretch of hockey since late November.
The Rockets downed the hometown Seattle Thunderbirds 4-3 Sunday night to move to within a game of .500 (22-23-2-4) on the season.
"I think when you look at the big picture, we had a lot more positives than negatives," Rockets head coach Ryan Huska said of his team's play in January. "We were able to get ourselves a few wins and some points, and I thought we got better as the month went along."
The recent stretch of prosperity has helped the Rockets solidify their hold on sixth place overall in the Western Conference, 12 points ahead of the Thunderbirds.
As for pursuing teams above them, the Rockets are 11 points back of the Spokane Chiefs and Vancouver Giants for the fourth and fifth spots.
"We just have to focus on what we're doing, our next game, and try to continue to improve and get better," Huska said. "The challenge in catching the teams in front of is that you have to rely on other teams for help. We just need to take care of what we can control."
On Sunday in Seattle, the Rockets erupted for four second-period goals, then hung on for their third win in the last four games.
Colton Sissons, who will play in this week's Top Prospects Game in Kelowna along with Rockets teammate Damon Severson, scored his league-leading 26th goal in the victory.
"I thought we worked hard and were committed to playing intense," Huska said of Sunday's effort.
The Rockets hit the road this weekend for games in Prince George, Friday and Saturday.
Kelowna returns to home ice Wednesday, Feb. 8 to take on the Thunderbirds for the third time in a 12-day span.