Joe Gatenby and the Kelowna Rockets will play their next four WHL games on home ice

Rockets open home stand vs Cougars

After eight of first 11 WHL games away from home, Kelowna will play next four at Prospera Place

Brad Ralph called last Saturday night’s 6-2 victory in Prince George his team’s best effort of the Western Hockey League season.

The Kelowna bench boss is hoping the momentum will carry over into the Rockets’ four-game home stand beginning Friday against the same Cougars.

Face off at Prospera Place is 7:05 p.m.

With a new coach, a number of new faces lineup and a young defensive corps still finding its rhythm, the Rockets (7-4-0-0) have had their share ups and downs through the first 11 games of the campaign.

But Ralph is seeing signs of a more consistent Kelowna team emerging.

“I thought we were motivated and worked hard to a man,” Ralph said of Saturday’s win. “We played with internal drive and if we keep doing that we’re going to have success.

“Our game is coming along, we’re getting there.”

After spending much of the early part of the season travelling—with eight of their first 11 games were on the road—the Rockets will settle into Prospera Place now until the end of the month.

Ralph said being at home for a long stretch comes with a number of perks.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to take advantage of the schedule and make good use of this time we have at home,” he said. “You’ve got the conveniences of video at home, the resources at your own rink, and some valuable practise time.

“At the end of the day, you still have to make sure you’re playing the right way and win your games at home. Our game has been transitioning to a better place, so hopefully we can keep it going.”

Following Friday’s meeting with the Cougars, Kelowna will host the Calgary Hitmen on Saturday, Prince George again on Oct. 30 and the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Halloween night.

Meanwhile, Rockets centre Rourke Chartier remains sidelined on a day-to-day basis with an upper body injury.

Both Charter and Nick Merkley were named this week to Team WHL for the CHL Canada Russia Series. The first game of the series is Monday, Nov. 9 in Kelowna.


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