Dakota Krebs (left) and the Tri-City Americans will battle James Hilsendager and the Kelowna Rockets Wednesday night in WHL action at Prospera Place. -Image: Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze

Rockets pursue 13th straight on home ice

Rockets have won 12 straight games at Prospera Place heading into Wednesday’s game vs Tri City

The Kelowna Rockets couldn’t have asked for a much better conclusion to 2017.

Five straight wins—and 12 consecutive victories on home ice—have Jason Smith’s club heading into the new year atop the Western Hockey League’s B.C. Division.

On Wednesday night, in their first action of 2018, the Rockets (23-11-2-1) will look to extend both streaks when the Tri-City Americans pay a visit to Prospera Place. Face off is 7:05 p.m.

While Kelowna is among the league’s hottest teams, the Americans aren’t far behind with five victories and a pair of overtime losses in their last seven games.

“We try not to think about the streak too much, we just need to go out there and play our game,” said Rockets assistant captain Gordie Ballhorn. “Tri-City is a good team, we’ve had a couple of good battles with them this season, so we’ll need to be ready to play and bring our best game against them.”

What’s most encouraging for the Rockets is the success they’ve had without the services of Dillon Dube and captain Cal Foote, both of whom are playing with Team Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo.

“We wanted to get as many wins as we could with Dillon and Cal away, and the guys have really stepped up,” Ballhorn said. “Some guys have had their roles expanded and have really excelled and contributed. It’s made us better as a team.”

In addition to some timely scoring in recent games, the Rockets have been getting exceptional goaltending from their two rookie netminders.

In three games since Christmas, James Porter and Roman Basran have combined for three wins, a shutout, a 0.95 goals against average and a save percentage of .982.

“It’s been huge for us,” Ballhorn said of the goaltending of Porter and Basran. “They give us a chance to win pretty much every night. They’re young guys, they’re learning, and they’re doing a great job for us.”

Porter, the WHL’s goaltender of the week, earned his second shutout of the season and his career in a 3-0 win Dec. 29 in Kamloops.

Rockets forward Kole Lind has been red hot since being returned from Canada’s junior team evaluation camp last month.

In his last seven games, the 19-year-old Vancouver Canucks’ draft choice has eight goals—including two hat tricks—and 14 points.

The Rockets will be home again Friday to host the Seattle Thunderbirds, then will travel to Calgary to face the Hitmen on Sunday afternoon.

Porter goaltender of the week

With a pair of victories and just one goal allowed, James Porter has been named the WHL’s goaltender of the week.

In two starts, the 5-foot-11, 157-pound product of Bonners Ferry, Idaho posted a 0.48 goals against average, a .987 save ratio and one shutout

Last Wednesday, Porter stopped 46 of 47 shots in a 2-1 shootout win over the visiting Kamloops Blazers. Two nights later, he stopped all 28 shots in Kamloops for his second career shutout in a 3-0 win.

Porter, 17, is 15-5-2-0 this season with a 3.22 goals against average and .904 save percentage.

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


@capnewsports

whenderson@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Central Green project gets the green light

Kelowna city council approved a permit on the building which includes a large urban park

Kelowna artist creates fundraiser for a friend

Artist Laurie Koss was inspired by her friend’s cancer battle to help her keep fighting

Kelowna driver’s actions endangered police and public

Man fled in truck, then abandoned vehicle, after cops flagged him down

Update: One injured in Lake Country bus crash

A Central Okanagan School District bus was in an accident Monday morning

Robbery suspect charged

A 32-year-old man faces three charges in connection with robbery attempt at Vernon convenience store

Dragoons showcase “unique” recruiting tool

If you see an armoured vehicle rumbling along Hwy 97 in Vernon, the BC Dragoons say don’t worry..

Senior randomly stabbed in B.C. mall food court

Woman arrested after victim, 71, suffers serious injuries

Penticton bookkeeper may face jail time for embezzlement

Sentencing stances ranged from three years of probation to six months in jail for $60k embezzlement

B.C. Liberal hopefuls begin final leadership push

Five MLAs, one outsider pitch policies to party members

Vancouver Island marijuana producer bought by Aphria in $230M deal

Aphria’s annual production forecast increases to 230,000 kgs

Penticton Lakers lose to Kelowna Owls in basketball provincial qualifier

Junior girls basketball provincial qualifier held in Penticton

Lawyer says RCMP cleared in car wash shooting

Independent report into shooting of Kayman Winter not yet released to the public.

UPDATED: ‘Young, innocent’ teen hit during Vancouver shootout dies

15-year-old Coquitlam boy was in a car driving by the scene

Ontario man charged with selling Canadian’s usernames and passwords

Ontario man ran site that peddled billions of pieces of personal data: RCMP

Most Read