In Ryan Huska’s eyes, Saturday’s win over the Medicine Hat Tigers was far from a picture-perfect effort by his Kelowna Rockets.
Still, despite yielding a pair of third-period goals, it was good enough for two points as the Rockets’ skated to their eighth consecutive WHL victory.
With nine in a row on the line Tuesday night in Kent, Wash. against the Seattle Thunderbirds, the Rockets head coach said his club will simply need to be better than it was on Saturday.
“We’re going to need to play with more pace than we did, keep our feet moving and make sure we bring better energy against (Seattle),” said Huska. “We had that deer in the headlights look (against) Medicine Hat and I thought we were fortunate to get the win. At the end of the day, we got the two points that they can’t take away. But we have to get back to playing the right way.”
Still, the Rockets (15-2-2) are finding ways to win and currently possess the WHL’s best winning percentage (.842).
On the downside, Kelowna has played the fewest games in the WHL this season (19) and by the end of November, will have had layoffs of five days or more four times this season.
What it means is a gruelling schedule from December 6 on, with 27 games in 57 days, including 18 on the road.
“It’s a really a terrible schedule,” Huska said. “I know a lot of other teams are facing similar challenges to us. Hopefully they’ll revisit the way they draft up the schedule for next season.”
Meanwhile, Madison Bowey scored twice for the Rockets in Saturday’s 4-3 win, while goalie Jordon Cooke remained unbeaten (12-0-2) in regulation play this season.
The Rockets will host the Victoria Royals on Wednesday. Face off at Prospera Place is 7:05 p.m.
Rockets’ rookies F Nick Merkley and D Joe Gatenby have been named to Team Pacific for the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Dec. 29 to Jan. 4 in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia…Rockets’ assistant Dan Lambert will serve as the head coach of Team West.
Three members of the Rockets have been cited in NHL Central Scouting’s latest watch list. Forwards Justin Kirkland and Tyson Baillie, and defenceman Riley Stadel are named on the C list, players who are considered potential fourth to sixth-round picks in the 2014 entry draft.