Okanagan Rockets back home after lengthy absence

Defending BCMML champs host Fraser Valley this weekend in first home games since Dec. 7

Finally able to close the books on two separate streaks, both of which the Okanagan Rockets would like to forget, the club hopes better days are ahead.

Twelve consecutive road games, also yielded a 5 game winless streak.  Both of which were put to bed with a 6-5 win over the Valley West Hawks on Sunday morning at the Langley Events Centre.

With all of that behind them, the Rockets are now squarely focused on this weekend’s set with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds at the Capital News Centre.

By the time the puck drops on Saturday at 3 p.m., it will have been 70 days since the Rockets suited up at home.

The Rockets are 11-3-1 this season on home ice, and are 2-0-0 against Fraser Valley after a pair of road wins in Abbotsford in the first half of the season.

Points are always at a premium this time of year, but all it takes is a quick glance at the BCMML standings to realize that things are even more crucial.

With just six games to go, it would be easy to try and put the puzzle together, but the Rockets are focused solely on this weekend.

“Hopefully our club gained some confidence and got the monkey off their back in Sunday’s win” said general manager David Michaud. “We needed that win, but now we need to turn the page and focus on the T-Birds. We had two tough games against them in Abbotsford earlier in the year, and they are playing good hockey right now.

“They earned a split with first place Cougars last weekend, and have some guys who are really dangerous with the puck. They will be a tough draw in the playoffs.”

One of the Rockets keys to success on Sunday against the Hawks was the production they received from some of their older players.  Michaud hopes for more of the same down the stretch drive.

“For me guys like Brandon Whistle and Brett Witala need to be big for us down the stretch. As 17 year-olds, they need to be the most dominant and confident players on the ice each shift.  They were both huge for in the win Sunday, and selfishly they need to keep that up. Those older players are showcasing themselves for junior jobs next season.”

After their set with the Thunderbirds, the Rockets will play a home and home set with the Thompson Blazers before wrapping things up at home against the first place Cariboo Cougars.


Kelowna Capital News