Defenceman Joe Gatenby and the Kelowna Rockets will battle Brett Clayton and the Portland Winterhawks in WHL action Friday night at Prospera Place.

Demanding weekend to test Rockets

Kelowna rested and healthy heading into three WHL games in three nights

The Kelowna Rockets are thankful to be relatively healthy and well-rested as they head into their most demanding stretch of hockey in 2016.

The defending WHL will play three games in as many nights—and four in the next five days— beginning Friday night at home against the Portland Winterhawks.

Having played just five times over the last two weeks, head coach Brad Ralph said his team is as well equipped as can be expected for the impending challenge.

“It’s been a while since we’ve had a 3-in-3 with a full roster, and we’re close to that this weekend,” said Ralph. “We’ve had some nice breaks here over the last while but having said that, it’s never easy playing that much hockey in such a short span.

“By the time you get to that third game, it can get difficult physically,” he added. “It’ll be important to keep our shifts short and play smart.”

The only Rockets’ skater sidelined heading into the weekend is forward Tanner Wishnowski who is considered day-to-day (lower body).

Goaltender Jackson Whistle (hips, day-to-day) was removed from the WHL’s injury list this week and has resumed skating, but Ralph said the club remains uncertain about date of his return.

“We don’t really know,” Ralph said of Whistle’s status as of Thursday. “We’re just taking it day by day.”

Michael Herringer has been carrying the load in goal during Whistle’s absence and, should he get the call again Friday, would be making his 10th consecutive start.

“I think he’s progressing very well,” Ralph said of Herringer, who is 6-2-1-0 since taking over the reins on Jan. 1. “It’s an adjustment when you become the No. 1 guy and he’s handled it well.”

The Rockets (33-11-3-0) are riding a four-game winning streak heading into Friday’s tilt with Portland.

And while perhaps not as formidable as those Winterhawk teams of the recent past, Ralph said Portland is still a very capable hockey club.

“They’ve got a well-balanced team, right from their forwards to the back end,” he said of the ‘Hawks. “One thing they do well is have their defence jump up in the rush, so we’ll need to do a good job of managing pucks.”

Forward Rodney Southam will make his debut as the team’s captain on Friday night.

The 19-year-old from Saskatoon was appointed the Rockets’ official leader on Monday.

The Rockets will wrap up a five-game homestand Saturday against the Victoria Royals.

Due to the live broadcast of the game by Sportsnet, face off has been moved to 7:35 p.m.

On Sunday, Kelowna will travel south to visit the Seattle Thunderbirds, before returning home Tuesday to face the league-leading Lethbridge Hurricanes.

 

Just Posted

JoeAnna’s House fundraising campaign reaches $4.5 million

Offering ‘home away from home’ for families of KGH patients

2014 murder case finally goes to trial

Steven Randy Pirko was charged with second-degree murder in 2016

Flood recovery work set to begin in Kelowna

The first phase of $5 million dollar flood recovery plan for Upper Vernon Creek will begin on Monday

Kelowna exhibition showcases nature of Haida Gwaii

The Kelowna Art Gallery is holding a reception for Gwaii Haanas – Islands and Sacred Sites Friday

Accused in Kelowna murder heads to court

Chad Alphonse is accused of killing Waylon Percy Junior Jackson, back in 2016

Canadian junior captain returns to Rockets lineup

Dillon Dube will be back in Kelowna’s lineup Wednesday night after world juniors and bout of flu

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

Public asked to report bat sightings

White nose syndrome leads to bats flying in winter or death.

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Song penned for Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton

Curling Time released to celebrate Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Most Read