The Kelowna Rockets held off the Victoria Royals in a 1-0 win on Oct. 30. (Photo: Victoria Royals)

Rockets look to retain crown with Royals rematch

Kelowna hosts Victoria Wednesday night

The Kelowna Rockets will be ready for another royal battle when Victoria comes to visit this week.

Kelowna starts their week with a Wednesday night matchup against the Royals for the first home-game against the B.C. division rivals. Kelowna visited Victoria last week for a two-games series and returned home with three points.

With a 6-2 win over Prince George on Nov. 1, the Rockets will look to build on the energy to continue the point streak against the Royals.

“Our two games in Victoria last week were very heated,” said Rockets’ captain Nolan Foote.

“We’re ready to go tomorrow, we’re looking forward to it and I’m sure it’s going to be heated again, it always is with a rival.”

It’s been a good start to the season for Kelowna who sit tied for first place in the division with 20 points. Kelowna went 6-3-1 in October and will look to stay atop the division with four divisional games in the month.

A bight spot for the Rockets this year has been the defence and goaltending. Kelowna has the fourth best goals-against in the entire WHL so far this season with 37. In 15 games, Kelowna’s goalie duo of Roman Basran and Cole Schwebius have recorded a combined 0.922 save percentage, a 2.26 goals-against-average and one shut-out.

Schwebius has carved out a solid back-up role behind Basran since being acquired via trade in the off-season. Rockets’ third string goalie, James Porter, has since been reassigned to the BCHL where he will get valuable playing time with the Vernon Vipers.

“We feel there’s an opportunity in Vernon for James to get some games in,” said Rockets general manager Bruce Hamilton.

“It’s critical right now as he hasn’t had any playing time here, the most important thing for James is to get him playing.”

READ MORE: Novak’s hat-trick leads Rockets to lopsided win

READ MORE: Okanagan College Coyotes start basketball season with history-making 4-win weekend

Porter has suited up for 73 games in the last two seasons with the Rockets, posting a 30-22-7-2 record.

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