Rockets forward Rourke Chartier had seven points in four games during the WHL pre-season.

Abbreviated pre-season productive for Rockets

Unlike past years, Kelowna plays just four WHL exhibition games, goes 3-1

With the exhibition schedule now in the books, the Kelowna Rockets will spend the next two weeks fine tuning for the start of the WHL’s 2013-14 regular campaign.

Unlike past years when six games was the standard, the Rockets cut back to just four pre-season contests this September.

Because eight players are still away at NHL camps, head coach Ryan Huska says fewer games and more time to prepare for the new season was simply a better scenario for his club.

“We talked about it last year and thought maybe playing six games was a little too much,” said Huska. “With shorter numbers like we have, you don’t want to play too many games.

“So the next couple of weeks we’re going to work on team building and more detailed-type things at practise. It’s hard to deal with structure with this many guys away, so we’ll work on that when we start getting guys back.”

The Rockets concluded the pre-season with a 3-1 record, finishing up with a convincing 6-1 victory over the Vanouver Giants Saturday night at Prospera Place.

Coupled with a 4-0 shutout of the Blazers a night earlier in Kamloops, Huska was pleased with the way his club played throughout the weekend.

“I thought the guys played hard,” Huska. “I liked the way we skated and the way we played. Most of the guys were focused and did a good job.”

For the third straight pre-season, forward Tyson Baillie led the Rockets in scoring with four goals and eight points.

Second-year forward Rourke Chartier was next in line with two goals and seven points.

“We kind of expected that from Tyson, he’s been good in all of our pre-seasons,” Huska said. “As for Rourke, he’s coming off the U18s (worlds) and is playing with confidence. We liked both of their games.”

Playing a few men short, Huska said the club’s young defensive corps handled itself well during the four exhibition tests.

And with four veterans still to return from NHL camps, Huska is excited his club’s potential on the blue line.

“We’ve kept them together for three years, as 16- and 17-year-old guys and we took a beating at times. This is the season we see them coming into their own as a group and we’re excited about it.”

Jordon Cooke, with two wins and a .944 save percentage in pre-season, and Jackson Whistle (2.67 GAA) once again give the Rockets a solid 1-2 combo in the Rockets net.

The Rockets will open the WHL regular season with a home-and-home set against the Kamloops Blazers—Friday, Sept. 20 in Kamloops and Saturday, Sept. 21 in Kelowna.



Just Posted

Kelowna golf course ready and open for spring business

Two Eagles Golf Course opened Saturday, more to come

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA hopes annual climb will promote peace

MLA Norm Letnick’s 5th Annual Spring Climb for Health & World Peace is April 6

Possible assault to bus driver in Kelowna

A minor bus crash was reported just after 8 p.m. Friday night

Car crash nearly sends car over embankment in West Kelowna

RCMP search for driver of alleged stolen vehicle that caused crash

Update: Highway 3 reopened following rockslide near Keremeos

The slide occurred Friday March 22, at about 8 p.m. between Red Bridge and Standing Rock

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Okanagan woman launches sewing studio

“I know there’s a lot of people up and down the valley that would love to sew.”

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Letter: Stop raising the minimum wage

To the editor: The government is looking for ways to put more… Continue reading

Letter: Immigration will not help other countries, or our own

To the editor: Firearms are not the culprit in all those massive… Continue reading

Letter: Sprawl destroying natural landscape

To the editor: I agree with the assessment by Ian Pooley in… Continue reading

Former Okanagan teen found safe after disappearing from YVR airport

Ethan Burnett, 14, was found safe in Kelowna on March 22

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Most Read