OK Rockets get split, prep for Mac’s

Kelowna's B.C. Major Midget team goes 1-1 with Canadians, looks ahead to big annual tourney in Calgary

Okanagan Rockets forward Max Kryski (left) tries to escape the check of Greater Vancouver’s Henry Rybinski in B.C. Major Midget League action Saturday at CNC.

The Okanagan Rockets will find out how they stack up against some other elite competition next week at the Calgary Mac’s midget hockey tournament.

The Rockets will play their opener at the annual international tourney on Tuesday, Dec. 27 against the Calgary Royals.

Games will follow against the Saskatoon Contacts, the Austrian U18 national team, and Sherwood Park, Alta.

Head coach Eric Blais said Mac’s will provide his Rockets with a glimpse of their true potential.

“Those teams will all be good, that’s what you can always expect from Mac’s,” said Blais. “Playing other teams from across Canada and international teams, it’ll be a challenge and a great experience for us.

“That’s the kind of competition we would have to go through to get to the Telus Cup, so this is a really good measuring stick for us.”

It’s the start of a busy stretch of hockey for the Rockets who will play a minimum of four games in Calgary, two the following weekend against the Vancouver Northwest Giants, then no fewer than five games from Jan. 11 to 14 at KIMMT, Kelowna’s annual midget tourney.

Blais sees the onslaught of games as a good opportunity for his Rockets to find their groove.

“We haven’t been playing our best lately, and hopefully with a lot of hockey over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be able to find our stride,” he said.

“I really like the tournament-style formats, you just focus game to game, there isn’t a lot of downtime and you can really, as coaches, get your message across. It’ll be good for us.”

Rockets split with GV…

The Rockets and Greater Vancouver Canadians finished out their pre-Christmas B.C. Major Midget League schedule with a a split of two games at the Capital News Centre.

On Saturday, Coleton Bilodeau scored twice in a 7-4 Rockets’ victory.

Jeff Karpowich, Jordan Robinson, Tanner Bahm, Rayman Bassi and Seth Barton also scored, while James Johnston earned his first BCMML win, stopping 25 shots in the Rockets net.

On Sunday, the Canadians turned the tables with a 7-4 win of their own. Max Kryski, Bilodeau, Hayden Courtney and Robinson scored for the Rockets.

Okanagan (17-5-0-2) remains in second spot in the MML, seven points back of first-place Cariboo.

The Rockets next league action is Jan. 7 and 8 in Squamish against the Vancouver Northwest Giants.