Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze Kole Lind and the Kelowna Rockets will visit Jake Leschyshyn and the Regina Pats Friday as the Rockets open a six-game road trip through Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Rockets launch Prairie tour in Regina

Kelowna to play six games in nine days against Eastern Division opponents, prior to Xmas

Ten consecutive wins on home ice.

Perhaps the Kelowna Rockets could be excused for being somewhat dubious about leaving Prospera Place behind for the next three weeks.

To the contrary, head coach Jason Smith said the WHL club is embracing the challenge of hopping on the bus this week for a demanding pre-Christmas tour against Prairie opponents.

“There’s no worry from our group,” Smith said of leaving home ice until Dec. 27. “You look at the schedule at the start of the season and you know there are going to be stretches like this. It’s a chance for the guys to get out on the road and be together as a team.

“We went on a similar trip last year before Christmas and we did pretty well (5-2-0-0),” he said. “It was a good test for us and it will be again this year.”

The Rockets (17-8-2-1) will play six games in nine days against Eastern Division opponents, beginning Friday night in Regina against the 2018 Memorial Cup host Pats.

Smith said the Rockets hope their recent success at home will translate into some positive results over the next week-and-a-half on the road.

“It’s an opportunity to see if we can play some complete games on the road,” said Smith, whose Rockets are 11-3-0-1 at home and 6-5-2-0 on the road. “We’ve made some progress in that regard, particularly at home, and now we’ve got six games in nine days to work on that away from home.”

With four games in six days to kick off the trip—including two sets of back-to-backs—Smith said the Rockets’ mental and physical stamina will be challenged.

“The guys will have to manage their time the best they can, try to get the proper rest, manage their recovery and just be prepared to play every night the best way possible,” he said.

On Wednesday morning, three Rockets will be candidates to be named to the Canadian junior team’s selection camp beginning next week in St. Catharines—Dillon Dube, Kole Lind and Cal Foote.

Regardless of whether one or all three make the grade, Smith said the Rockets must adjust accordingly.

“That’s all part of it, you can have several guys gone at one time like we did last year, and you just have to deal with it day by day,” said Smith.

“The more guys who are away, the more opportunities it gives the other players to step up and contribute.”

Following Friday’s game, the Rockets will visit Brandon on Saturday, Moose Jaw next Tuesday and Swift Current on Wednesday, Dec. 13. After playing in Prince Albert Friday, Dec. 15, Kelowna will close out the trip the next night in Saskatoon.

The Rockets’ next home action is Wednesday, Dec. 27 against the Kamloops Blazers.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@capnewsports

whenderson@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Lakestone community unveiled in Lake Country

Mayor Baker, MLA Norm Letnick and MP Stephen Fuhr joined in the ceremonial opening

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Summer sun for Sunday

The forecast for the week ahead shows some rain but plenty of sun and warm tempertures.

Update: Structure fire reported in Kelowna industrial area put out

A structure fire was reported just after 3:30 p.m. off Sexsmith Road

Kelowna e-scooter company foils downtown robberies

OGO Scooters staff helped return stolen property three times in 1st week of operations

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

Water quality makes swimming unsafe at three beaches near Salmon Arm

The Adams Lake Indian Band has issued a water qulity notice affecting beaches at three campgrounds.

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Second osprey chick dies, Okanagan web cam off

The second chick in an osprey nest featured on the Town of Osoyoos website has died

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

Fire department helps with body recovery in Okanagan Lake

Penticton fire department assisted the RCMP with the recovery of a body Saturday

Police on scene at Penticton beach

RCMP were at a what is believed to be a crime scene near Skaha Beach Sunday

Most Read