Rockets reload for defending champs

Kelowna hosts Edmonton Oil Kings Wednesday in WHL action

Forward Tyrell Goulbourne and the Kelowna Rockets will host the defending WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings Wednesday at Prospera Place.

The Kelowna Rockets didn’t have to wait long for a chance to return the favour.

Just 10 days after losing to the Oil Kings in Edmonton, the Rockets will get reacquainted with the defending WHL champs when the teams meet for the second and final time this season.

Face off Wednesday at Prospera Place is 7 p.m.

Since that 5-3 setback in Edmonton, the Rockets have won three straight, including an impressive 3-0 shutout of the Canadian Hockey League’s No. 1 team last Thursday.

Veteran forward Zach Franko said the club’s last defeat is still fresh on the Rockets’ minds.

“It’s what you want, you want a chance to play (the Oil Kings) again as soon as possible and prove you can play with them,” said Franko who has 17 points in 16 games this season. “I think we showed everyone with the way we played Kamloops that we’re up with the top teams. Edmonton is just as good or maybe even better (than Kamloops) so we’re excited to see how we measure up against them.”

Rockets head coach Ryan Huska said his Rockets didn’t play poorly in Edmonton, but will need to be better on Wednesday.

“(Edmonton) carried a lot of tempo and the play in that game, and they capitalized on their chances,” said Huska. “We’ll need to bring our tempo up to a higher level.”

The Rockets (10-6-1-1) are coming off back-to-back shutouts of their opponents for the first time since March 2010.

On Thursday, Kelowna rubbed out the Blazers 3-0 as Jordon Cooke posted his third clean sheet of the season.

On Saturday, Jackson Whistle registered his second career shutout as Kelowna blanked Prince George 5-0.

“Our goaltenders played well in both games, and you don’t get shutouts unless you have team commitment,” said Huska. “You don’t see a lot of individual play, the guys are playing responsible two-way hockey and it’s paying off.”

Meanwhile, forward Tyrell Goulbourne’s first two goals of the season were the game winners against both Kamloops and Prince George.

After a slow start, Huska said the 18-year-old forward’s game is rounding into form.

“Early in the season Tyrell struggled, he was a healthy scratch a few times and he wasn’t moving his feet,” said Huska. “Now he’s working and skating, and he’s feeling good about his game. He’s playing well.”

The Rockets will close out a four-game home stand Friday against the Red Deer Rebels.

Rocket Shots…Centre Nick Merkley, the Rockets first-round pick in the 2012 WHL bantam draft, was named to the tournament all-star team at the Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup in Calgary. Merkley tied for the tournament lead in scoring with a goal and six assists…Rockets’ prospect D Joe Gatenby helped Team B.C. to the gold medal at the U1-6 Challenge Cup. B.C. defeated Alberta 9-3 in the final.


Just Posted

Need to catch up on news? You’re covered

Every Saturday the Capital News will highlight stories from the week

Big White board school among best

Director of snow sports, Josh Foster, is one of the top instructors in Canada

Seniors prefer funeral to lifestyle planning

Survey finds 73% of seniors have a will, only 13% have long-term care plan

Okanagan College business students soar

Medal winners at Western Canadian Business Competition

UBCO civil engineer touts cohousing option

Gord Lovegrove says cohousing is sustainable social and economic lifestyle

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

Canadian research vessel to explore 19th Century shipwrecks

Commissioned this week in Victoria, the RV David Thompson is Parks Canada’s newest vessel

VIDEO: ‘New wave’ of anti-pipeline protests return to Trans Mountain facility

About 100 demonstrators with Protect the Inlet marched to the Burnaby terminal Saturday

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. man to plead guilty in connection with hit-and-run that killed teen

Jason Gourlay charged with failure to stop at the scene of accident, attempting to obstruct justice

Rescue boat theft marks third in 3 years for B.C. SAR team

Eight-metre Spirit of Harrison rescue vessel was stolen Friday night, found Saturday morning

Most Read