Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze Tyler Benson and the Vancouver Giants battle Carsen Twarynski and the Kelowna Rockets Wednesday in WHL action at Prospera Place.

Key stretch for Rockets vs. B.C. Division rivals

Kelowna will host Vancouver in WHL action Wednesday, then face Victoria three times in four days

Four games in six days against B.C. Division rivals.

By next Monday night, the Kelowna Rockets will know what separation, if any, they have from the Victoria Royals and Vancouver Giants.

The Rockets (32-16-3-1) will host the Giants (28-15-5-3) on Wednesday night, before seeing the Royals (32-18-3-1) three times in a four-day span this weekend.

Kelowna and Victoria head into the week tied for top spot with 68 points—with the Rockets holding two games in hand—while the Giants are just four points back in third.

While Jason Smith tends to adhere to the one-game-at-a-time philosophy, the Rockets’ head coach concedes the next stretch of hockey will be key for his club.

“Obviously it’s a big week for us, we’ve got an opportunity to match up against a couple of division rivals that are both playing well, so it’s a good challenge for us,” Smith said Tuesday. “We had been playing well, too, but had a disappointing weekend that we’re looking to bounce back from, getting back to playing more complete games and regaining some confidence.”

The Rockets are coming off back-to-back losses to the U.S. Division-leading Everett Silvertips, including an 8-2 setback Saturday night in Washington.

Smith said the Rockets need to restore some of the good habits that escaped his team for a couple of games.

“Our lack of compete and execution at key times hurt us,” Smith said. “Whether it was a penalty or a mistake which led to sustained pressure or goals for (Everett), we need to clean that up.

“The guys had a day off, came back and worked hard at practise (Monday) and should be ready to take on the challenge.”

With rookie James Porter still on the sidelines with an upper body injury, Kelowna is expected to continue to go with veteran Brodan Salmond and rookie Cole Tisdale in goal.

Twenty-year-old defenceman James Hilsendager remains sidelined after taking a high hit during last Wednesday’s game against the Medicine Hat Tigers.

The Rockets will play the Royals Friday and Saturday nights at Save On Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, then again in a holiday Monday matinee at Prospera Place. Face off is 2:05 p.m.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@capnewsports

whenderson@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UBCO Heat teams unable to secure any wins against Mount Royal Cougars

The mens and womens volleyball and basketball teams went 0-4, but all have rematches Saturday night

Rockets held scoreless in loss against Red Deer

Rockets will look for some points in final game of road trip against Edmonton

New maintenance crew to look after Okanagan Connector

Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance Inc. will replace Argo Road Maintenance Inc. in 2019

Kelowna’s definitive Christmas market list

We’ve prepared a list of every market in the Central Okanagan

Your guide to winter light ups around the Okanagan

From Vernon to Summerland, with a stop in Kelowna, we’ve found some activities for you to enjoy

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

Hodge: The long road to recovery

Kelowna - The first week of recovery I was too consumed in pain to notice the lack of fluid.

Letter: Teaching children to be compassionate is never a bad thing

Kelowna - Teaching Mandarin in schools? That gets my vote.

Letter: Homeless Kelowna citizens need help now, not later

Long term solutions are needed and government has a role to play there.

Most Read