Last weekend: The Rockets hit the road in Trail, and picked up back-to-back one goal wins over the Kootenay Ice, taking it 4-3 on Saturday, and 3-2 on Sunday. On the Giants side, it was a pair of games against the Valley Hawks. Vancouver lost 6-4 in the rare Thursday night opener, before winning the Sunday finale 3-2.
Head-to-Head: These two teams last met in Kelowna on October, with the Giants earning back-to-back wins of 6-4 and 5-1. Jimmy Darby, Christian Buono, and Tyler Cristall all had two goal weekends, while Nik Hoem rattled off consecutive wins in goal.
Historically Speaking: Dating back to the 06/07 campaign, the Giants have an all-time record of 29-11-8 against Okanagan.
Let the Good Times Roll: Since the Rockets slid into 2018, the team has simply had a different look and feel, winning all four games so far, and outscoring opponents 23-10. This weekend’s matchup represents a tough one, against a Giants team that looked a full step above four months ago. With matchups against GVC, Valley West, and Fraser Valley over the next three weeks, this will be a great measuring stick for the Rockets against a team who’s skated with the league’s very best at multiple points this year.
Hot Hands: Take note of Rayman Bassi. The 17-year-old has ten points in the four games out of the break, and looks much like the player who was third in team scoring a year ago. Nolan Corrado also has points in all four of those games, and could be somewhat of a second half dark horse for the Rockets, who lost big #21 to injury for most of the first half of the year. Brendan Boyle also has points in four straight, while Tanner Brown has four goals and five points since Christmas.
Notable Giants: Former Chief Christian Buono has been the key offensive cog for the Giants, with 30 points in 23 games. A balanced attack is also a weapon for the giants, as rookies Cooper Connell and Tyler Cristall, along with veterans Matteo Pecchia, Dom Davis, Jacob Fournier, and d-man Jason Chu all have more than 20 points on the year. Captain Logan Doust is also a huge threat – he’s got better offensive skills than his 15 points in 18 games would suggest.
Between the Pipes: Back in October, Nik Hoem got both starts against the Rockets in Kelowna, and picked up two wins. Rookie Jack Ford looked good against North Island in the latest showcase, and has three wins in nine appearances. On the Rockets side, Cole Schwebius has all four starts since Christmas, and is expected to get the vast majority going forward.
Lineup News: The Rockets will continue to reap the rewards of a fully healthy roster, with a full slate of players heading to Vancouver…While most Rockets celebrate birthdays during the offseason, Happy 17th to Jordan Lowry, who celebrated last Sunday, on January 28th.