The Kelowna Rockets push for another 50-win season and a second straight WHL overall title took a significant hit on the weekend with a pair of losses to the Kamloops Blazers.
Still, with seven games remaining in the regular season, head coach Brad Ralph assures both goals are still very much on the table.
But most importantly, Ralph stressed the Rockets need to be playing solid, consistent hockey heading into the postseason.
“We’re still pushing for 50 wins and first place, those are still very real goals for us,” Ralph said. “But more than anything we’re stressing being ready for the playoffs, so we want to be at our best right now, no question about it.”
The Rockets, who host the Prince George Cougars tonight, need six victories in their last seven games to reach 50 wins for a CHL-record fourth straight season.
Kelowna (44-18-3-0) is also five points back of Victoria (45-16-3-3) for first overall, but the Rockets have two games in hand.
If the Rockets can remain in close pursuit until then, next Wednesday’s game at home to the Royals could have serious implications for the No. 1 spot.
With just four goals scored in the two losses to Kamloops, Ralph said the Rockets need to play with “more passion to get to the crease” and pay the price to generate more offense.
As for yielding 25 goals in their last six games, the head coach said that’s simply too many.
“We’ve got to get our goals against down below three. Come playoff time, you’re going to have to win some 2-1 games to be successful. We’ve got to eliminate some of the defensive mistakes we’ve been making.”
This weekend, the Rockets will play three games in as many nights, starting with a home date on Friday against Kamloops.
Kelowna will then head south to visit the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday and Tri-City on Sunday.