The Kelowna Rockets will get a full dose of American opposition this weekend as they play three games in as many nights south of the border.
The Rockets will be in Kent, Wash. Friday to battle the Seattle Thunderbirds, in Spokane Saturday to take on the Chiefs, before closing out the weekend Sunday in Kennewick against the Tri-City Americans.
The Thunderbirds have struggled of late with just two wins in their last 10 starts, but Kelowna head coach Ryan Huska cautions not to be deceived by their record.
“Seattle’s a very good team, they have very good goaltending (Calvin Pickard),” said Huska.
The Chiefs are the WHL’s hottest team with 10 wins in their last 11 games and share the Western Conference lead with Portland. Tri-City is just two points back and has won eight of the last 10.
“Every one of the games this weekend is a tough one,” said Huska. “That’s why it’s important for us not to look beyond Seattle, be ready to play the first game, then move on from there.”
The Rockets (24-20-0-0) are second in the B.C. Division, just a point back of the first-place Vancouver Giants. Kelowna has two games in hand.
The Rockets are looking to build on a 6-2 win Wednesday over the visiting Prince George Cougars. Cody Chikie scored twice and Spencer Main had a career-high four assists as the Rockets beat P.G. for the fifth time in six meetings this season.
Still, Huska wasn’t entirely pleased with his team’s effort.
“It wasn’t a great game for us, I thought Prince George was the better team in the first period and it was a closer game that the score showed,” said Huska. “It’s all part of the learning process, there are still mistakes being made and the key is to try and limit those.”
The Rockets’ next home action is Friday, Jan. 28 against the Cougars.