The Okanagan Rockets (21-10-3) return home for a Valentine’s Day weekend matchup against the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds (14-14-6).
Last Weekend: The Rockets spent the weekend on the lower mainland playing the 1st place Valley West Hawks. OK dropped the opening game by a 4-1 score in Delta, BC at Sungod Arena before falling once more to the Hawks on Sunday in Langley by a 5-2 score line. The T-Birds also are coming off of being swept as they were in Prince George over the weekend, dropping 5-2 and 4-2 decisions to the Cariboo Cougars.
When We Saw You Last: The Rockets and T-Birds haven’t met up for a while, as it’s been a total of 139 days since these two teams clashed in the 2nd weekend of the BCMML season, that was at the 1st Showcase of the year from Richmond on September 26th/27th where the Rockets earned 3 of 4 possible points with a 4-4 tie on Saturday before earning at the time their 2nd win of the season, that being a 6-3 victory over Fraser Valley.
Looking To Rebound: Both teams come into this weekend set looking to rebound from tough gams over the last weekend. The Rockets have been very good in 2016, however, with those two losses a small speed bump in their strong 2nd half of the year that sees them with a 6-2-1 record in the New Year. The T-Birds have not been as fortunate as Fraser Valley has lost their last five games dating back to January 23rd when they beat the North Island Silvertips by a 4-2 score.
Another Injury: It’s been a tough season for the Rockets when it comes to the injury bug and it continued on this week. Okanagan learned that goaltender Liam Hughes will miss the remainder of the 2015/16 regular season and playoffs with a lower back injury. Hughes had been out of action since November 26th versus the Cariboo Cougars, a span of 16 games.
The Home Stretch: The Rockets are heading into the final stretch of their 40 game regular season, with each game holding a lot of weight. Okanagan plays two of their last three series’ of the year at home and the other in Kamloops, so no more long trips before the playoffs and sits in 4th in the BCMML standings, just one point behind the North West Giants for 3rd.
Lineup News: The Rockets practiced with all 20 players on their roster on Thursday night but will not have all in for the weekend. Chase Stevenson and Lucas Cullen remain out of the Rockets lineup while Zach Erhardt will also miss this weekend’s set of action against the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds. Okanagan will go with 10 forwards and six defensemen for the two games.
Historically Speaking: The Rockets are 21-10-6 since the 2006/07 season vs. Fraser Valley while holding a 13-3-1 record against the T-Birds on home ice in that span.