Rockets near finish line on Prairie trip

Despite illness and player shortage, Kelowna is 3-1 on WHL eastern swing

Jackson Whistle stopped 27 shots in Kelowna's 1-0 shutout of Moose Jaw in WHL action Wednesday.

With an abbreviated roster and a dose of winter maladies taking their toll, the Kelowna Rockets will happily welcome some time off over the Christmas break.

But the Western Hockey League’s overall leaders still have some work to do on their Prairie swing before they can relax.

Following tonight’s meeting with the Raiders in Prince Albert, the Rockets will close out their six-game eastern road trip Saturday night in Saskatoon.

With four key players out of the lineup due to world junior camps, and cold and flu bugs making the rounds, Rockets’ head coach Brad Ralph said his club is on survival mode.

“There are only a few days left here and it’s been a grind,” Ralph said. “We’ve been short some players and a lot of the guys are sick, so we’re just hanging on right now. The guys have done a good job the last couple of games, so hopefully we can carry that through to the end here.”

Despite a slow start to the trip—including a 5-1 loss Saturday in Brandon—the Rockets have rebounded with strong back-to-back efforts.

A 6-3 win on Tuesday in Swift Current was followed up by a 1-0 shutout of the Warriors on Wednesday in Moose Jaw, as Jackson Whistle stopped 27 shots.

“We didn’t play the away we can in the first two games, but we certainly picked it up the last two games,” said Ralph. “I thought (in Moose Jaw) we executed the game plan well and we worked hard. We were good defensively and we were good on special teams. I was happy with the effort. Overall, I’m happy to be 3-1 on this trip.”

Adding to the challenge over the last two games will be the likely absence of 19-year-old forward Rodney Southam who was injured after blocking a shot on Wednesday night.

The Rockets are already without forwards Rourke Chartier (Canada), Nick Merkley (Canada), Tomas Soustal (Czech Republic) and Clavin Thurkauf (Switzerland) who are in Europe with their respective national junior teams.

The Rockets next home action is Monday, Dec. 28 against the Kamloops Broncos.

 

Just Posted

Kelowna mayoral candidate’s sign set aflame

Bobby Kennedy’s sign was set on fire on Saturday morning

TEDxKelowna looks to inspire Kelowna

The event will showcase ideas that transcend sectors and generations

Long awaited second power line in West Kelowna postponed

The power line was set to be completed in 2020 and will now be installed in 2025

Cops for Kids cyclists return home

After cycling 1,000 kilometres they have completed their 10 day journey

Sunshine ahead for Kelowna

Your weekly forecast shows that the sun will shine again on Tuesday

Meet the Chef: Kai Koroll, executive chef at Block One restaurant

Koroll honours the terroir of the Okanagan in every dish he serves

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

Trans Canada now open west of Chase, ‘heavy delays’

Few details available about crash that closed Trans Canada Highway west of Chase Sunday, Sept. 23

Oliver to get new sheriff from graduating class

Oliver will be one of a number of B.C. communities to get a member of the recent graduating class

Trump drains oxygen from Trudeau foreign policy with PM, Freeland bound for UN

A lot has changed since the Liberals came to power in Canada in 2015

B.C. man fined $15,000, barred from trading securities for fraud

Larry Keith Davis used money from an investor to pay personal bills

Emergency crews investigate small sulphuric acid spill in Kootenays

IRM states a small volume of less than one cup and three dime-sized drips were leaked from carrier

Family, friends of B.C murder victim want killer sent back to max security facility

Group wants convicted murderer Walter Ramsay sent back to a maximum security facility

Most Read