With a four-game Western Hockey League losing skid on the books, life doesn’t get a whole lot easier this week for the Kelowna Rockets as two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams come calling.
The Red Deer Rebels (11-4-0-1) pay a visit to Prospera Place on Wednesday, while the Edmonton Oil Kings (10-5-1-1) make a stop in Kelowna on Friday.
Then on Saturday, the Rockets (5-10-1-1) hit the road for a date with the B.C. Division rival Vancouver Giants.
Paced by the goaltending of Patrick Bartosek (1.90 goals against average), the Rebels have yielded just 38 goals this season, the third least in the WHL.
Swedish winger John Persson (19 points) leads the Red Deer offense, while veteran Alex Petrovic (11 assists) and top draft-eligible prospect Mathew Dumba (6g, 7a) anchor the blueline.
Edmonton is led by 19-year-old defenceman Mark Pysyk, and veteran forwards T.J. Foster and Michael St. Croix (17 points each).
Meanwhile, the Rockets were swept at home over the weekend by the Portland Winterhawks.
On Friday, forward Brett Bulmer—back from the NHL’s Minnesota Wild—had four points in his WHL season debut but the Rockets managed just a single point in a 6-5 shootout loss.
Jordon Cooke was solid in goal for Kelowna facing 49 shots.
On Saturday, Derrick Pouliot scored twice in a 3-1 Winterhawks win, sending Kelowna to its 12th loss in the last 14 games.
The Rockets continue to battle the injury bug as D Kevin Smith, F Spencer Main, D Jesse Lees and F Carter Rigby remained sidelined on the weekend.