The Okanagan Rockets hit the highway this weekend, with a pair of games in Trail against the Kootenay Ice.
Last Weekend: The Rockets are coming off a bye week, but are still riding a five game winning streak. Two weeks ago, the Okanagan squad swept the Vancouver Northwest Giants out of the Capital News Centre. Those same Giants were in Trail last weekend, where the Ice battled them to a weekend split.
Head-to-Head: The Rockets and Ice are meeting for the first time since last January, when the teams met at the Nelson Civic Arena. The Rockets opened up that weekend with a 3-1 win on Saturday afternoon, and followed that up with a 4-2 win in the Sunday matinee.
Historically Speaking: The Rockets have pretty much owned the Ice with a 36-3-1 record against them, since the 2006/07 season. Half those Rockets wins have come on the road, as well.
Scoring In Bunches: It’s the offence that’s been the story for the Rockets so far this season. With 25 goals scored in the last four games, the team’s 31 goals for ranks fifth in the league, but four of the teams ahead have already played two more games than the Okanagan squad. Another factor has been the team’s ability to spread the puck around, as Chase Stevenson and Jordan Robinson are the only two forwards who haven’t scored. Stevenson, of course, hasn’t played after getting injured during training camp, while Robinson was hurt midway through the team’s home opener against Fraser Valley.
Ice To Watch: 15-year-old rookie Ethan Jang has been a huge part of Kootenay’s offence so far, with five goals and seven points in the team’s first eight games. Also getting off to a good start is 17-year-old returnee Terrell Clarricoates, whose five points in eight games already match his point total from last season. Fellow returning forwards Aiden Jenner and Tommy McConnachie have also put up five points through eight games. 17-year-old DJ Horne is leading defencemen with four points, while fellow ’99 Jaysen MacLean has grabbed a league-leading six starts so far.
Between The Pipes: In the Rockets’ cage, Owen Partrick is making his presence felt. After getting called into action on Saturday (and getting the win in that game), he also won his start on Sunday. His 4-0 record and 2.70 GAA is among the best in the league. The Ice have MacLean and Jake Kemp in net, with the veteran MacLean playing the bulk of the minutes so far.
Lineup News: Some big news for the Rockets, who will have Chase Stevenson make his season debut this weekend. The 17-year-old finished third in team scoring last season. Also returning is Jordan Robinson, who sprained his ankle on opening weekend. It’s a good weekend to have the duo back, as leading scorer and team captain Eli Zummack will miss both games. He’s taking part in Hockey Canada’s World U17 Hockey Challenge in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, where he’ll be playing for Team Canada Black.