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

Updated: Highway 97 reopens to traffic, Peachland fire crews monitor fires this morning

Crews continue to battle the 1,000 hectare Mount Eneas blaze south of Peachland

West Kelowna residents remain on alert due to wildfire

Evacuation alerts are in effect for properties in the Glenrosa area

Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire burns at 400 hectares

An evacuation alert remains in effect for those on Lakeshore Road

Smoky skies bulletin remains for Okanagan Valley

Still, a smoky skies bulletin was issued for the Okanagan

Updated: Complete list of B.C. Interior wildfire coverage

Up-to-date information on blazes happening the Kamloops Wildfire Centre

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Friday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Trump slams Federal Reserve rate hikes

Fed raised benchmark rate for a second time this year in June, and projects two more hikes to come

New wildfire burning in the Naramata area

Wildfire ignited at Paradise Ranch, near Naramata

Police to provide update on case against alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur

McArthur worked as a landscaper, allegedly concealed the remains of seven men in planters

Premiers to wrap up 2 days of meetings at New Brunswick seaside resort

Meetings held in the scenic seaside town of St. Andrews on Thursday focused on trade

B.C. city wants pot banned from ALR

Mayor and council are concerned about conversion from growing food to making marijuana

On the street: Kelowna reacts to 2018 wildfires

BC Wildfire is working with local departments to battle multiple blazes near Kelowna.

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

No decision on B.C. school stabbing suspect’s mental fitness for trial

The BC Review Board could not determine whether Gabriel Klein, 21, is fit to stand trial

Most Read