The Kelowna Rockets have accomplished pretty much everything they set out to do during the 2013-14 Western Hockey League’s regular season.
Now, with the season winding down, the Canadian Hockey League’s top-ranked team will look to the set the stage for what the Rockets hope will be a long and prosperous playoff run.
“I think in general you want to make sure you have everybody comfortable with their roles and what they’re going to be required to do for us to be successful,” said Rockets’ head coach Ryan Huska. “Our team game has to be good, we need to be playing well as a group of five. In the playoffs, you see a lot of one or two goals games, so special teams are also going to be critical. You want to be on top of your game in those areas.”
The Rockets (54-10-0-4) have four games remaining, including a Tuesday night home date with the Victoria Royals.
One of the top teams in the WHL this season, the Royals are 3-3-0-1 against Kelowna this season.
“(The Royals) will be a good test for us,” Huska said. “They’re a very good hockey team, so it’s an opportunity for us to make sure we’re playing the right way. Victoria plays a good team game and they have a pretty deep skill set.”
Kelowna will visit Kamloops on Wednesday, then will wrap up the regular season with two games against Vancouver—Friday at Pacific Coliseum, followed by Saturday at Prospera Place.
The Rockets are on the verge of locking up first place overall in the WHL and need just one more victory to clinch the title.
Kelowna will likely see the Tri-City Americans in the opening round of the playoffs.
Rockets’ stopper Jordon Cooke has been nominated for the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week award. The 20-year-old Leduc, Alta. native posted a 2-0-0-0 record with a shutout in three appearances over the past week for the WHL-leading Rockets. Cooke previously win the award for the week Oct. 21 to 27.