The Okanagan Rockets return home to the Capital News Centre on Thanksgiving weekend for a couple tilts against the Vancouver Northwest Giants.
Last Weekend: The Rockets scored back-to-back victories (6-3, 6-2) against the GV Canadians at the Showcase in Richmond. Meanwhile, the Giants are coming into their first action since opening weekend, when they picked up a win and a tie against the same Canadians squad.
Head-to-Head: The Rockets and Giants are meeting for the first time since last December, when the teams met at the North Shore Winter Club in Vancouver. The Rockets opened up that weekend with a 3-1 win on Saturday night, before getting shut out 5-0 in the Sunday matinee.
Historically Speaking: The Giants have had the Rockets’ number in head-to-head matchups over the years, and have a record of 25-7-8 against the Okanagan squad, dating back to 06/07. In regular season action at the Capital News Centre, the Rockets have a 5-12-3 record in that span.
Red Hot Rockets: This past weekend was kind to the Rockets, as multiple players broke out offensively. Captain Eli Zummack had two goals and five assists at the Showcase, pushing him into a tie for the league lead in scoring with Justyn Gurney of the Valley West Hawks – each with 10 points in four games. Max Kryski had a monster weekend, with four goals and an assist to get up to six points on the year. Also at six points is Coleton Bilodeau – those two are tied for sixth in league scoring with Cariboo Cougars teammates Mason Richey and Daine Dubois. And along with that trio, Dylan Prpich has been solid, putting up three goals and two assists over four games. Also with five points in that span are Rockets’ defencemen Wyatt Head and Seth Barton, with one goal and four helpers apiece.
Giants To Watch: Though the team has only two games under its belt, they’ve been led so far up front by 16-year-old Marcus Van Der Made, who’s in his first season with the team. Van Der Made has four points spread over the two games. Returnee Liam Kindree has three points so far, after a 28 point campaign last season. Helping anchor the blueline are veterans Trevor Longo and Mackenzie Gray. Longo was a sixth round pick of the Medicine Hat Tigers in last year’s bantam draft.
Between The Pipes: Nik Bregeda will get the start for the Rockets on Saturday afternoon, his first since the opening weekend split against Fraser Valley. Owen Partrick had the win in both games last weekend, and is expected to get the nod on Sunday morning. As for the Giants, both Jesse Makaj and Donovan Buskey grabbed starts on opening weekend, with the latter scoring the win.
Lineup News: Chase Stevenson (collarbone) is still close, but still unable to return to the lineup. Same goes for Jordan Robinson, who sprained his ankle on opening weekend. The Rockets are hoping to get them back after next week’s bye, when OK heads to Trail to take on the Kootenay Ice. Back in the lineup will be forward Hayden Courtney, who missed last week with a chest infection. It’ll also be a weekend with five defencemen for the Rockets, as defenceman Riley Lambert has parted ways with the team.