With the exception of a minor speed bump on a Saturday night in Kamloops, November has been one smooth month of hockey for the Kelowna Rockets.
Heading into Wednesday night’s home date with the Regina Pats, the Rockets (12-11-0-0) had won eight of their last nine games to move within five points of top spot in the WHL’s B.C. Division.
It’s a position that seemed out of reach just three weeks ago when Kelowna was floundering from an unexpected 4-10 start.
Head coach Ryan Huska said the dramatic turnaround can be credited, in large part, to the elevated play of the Rockets older veterans—such as Geordie Wudrick, Evan Bloodoff and Brett Bulmer.
“We’re getting a lot more out of our key guys, our older guys than we were early in the season,” said Huska, “Those three guys were likely our best forwards in our games over the weekend in Prince George. When we were struggling, those guys were pretty much non-existent.”
Bulmer scored twice and Wudrick tallied the game winner in Friday’s 4-2 victory over the Cougars. Bloodoff netted the decisive goal in overtime in a 2-1 victory on Saturday.
Huska also points to 19-year-old goaltender Adam Brown as a key figure in the club’s march back to respectability.
The Yorba Linda, California native has been nothing short of spectacular in November, posting a 7-1 record, a 2.08 goals against average and a 93.2 save percentage. Brown stopped 38 shots in Saturday’s win.
“Adam has been very good when he’s been in the net for us,” Huska said. “He was the reason we won Saturday’s game in Prince George.”
Still, as much success as the Rockets have enjoyed this month, Huska said the team can’t afford to let its foot off the pedal for one moment in the superlatively competitive Western Conference where nine out of 10 teams are separated by a mere six points.
“The way this conference is, you know it’s going to be tight right down to the end,” said Huska. “Every night, every period, and every shift is important from here on in. We want to continue to improve and build on the success we’ve had.”
Rocket Shots…The Rockets will close out the month on Saturday night in Spokane with their first meeting of the season against the Chiefs…Rockets F Max Adolph (concussion) is set to return this week after missing the team’s last nine games. D Colton Jobke (shoulder) and F Colton Sissons (concussion) are both considered day-to-day, while F Gal Koren remains sidelined indefinitely.