The Okanagan Rockets (18-11-3-2) have a chance for a little bit of redemption, along with the opportunity to take third place away from the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds (21-11-1-1).
Last Weekend: The Rockets lost a weekend doubleheader at the hands of the Valley West Hawks, while the TBirds also lost consecutive games to the Cariboo Cougars.
Head-to-Head: The Rockets and Thunderbirds are meeting for the first time since November. That weekend in Abbotsford was unkind to the Rockets, who lost back to back games by scores of 2-1 and 5-3.
Historically Speaking: The Rockets are 23-14-8 against the Thunderbirds over the last decade, though 14 of those wins have come on home ice
That playoff seeding though: As far as the BCMML playoff picture goes, this could well be a weekend that will paint a much clearer picture of the postseason, by the time Sunday evening rolls around. The Thunderbirds sit in third place, with a three point cushion on the Rockets, and undoubtedly know that even if they split, Okanagan's chances of catching them in the standings dramatically decrease. If that's not enough pressure for the Rockets, they've also got GVC nipping at their heels, sitting two points behind them in fifth. While the 4-5 battle in the standings may seem inconsequential, consider that home ice advantage could well be the deciding factor in a series. Phil Alalouf's squad has beaten the Rockets three of the four times they've played them this year, and it's a first round matchup the Rockets would ideally like to avoid. Following this weekend, schedule strength is also a factor for both the TBirds and Rockets. Fraser Valley plays Kootenay twice, before wrapping up against South Island. The Rockets have another home and home with Thompson, before finishing at home to Cariboo. We could be in for a wild finish.
T-Birds To Watch: The Rockets will get the pleasure of playing against the league's top scorer for the second weekend in a row, after 16-year-old Gage Goncalves leapfrogged Nolan Krogfoss last week. Goncalves has been dynamic this season, with 27 goals and 37 assists through 34 games. Key returnee Justin Plett (’00), has 30 goals and 48 points through 32 games, which is good for eighth in league scoring. Fellow veteran Jake Mulder has cracked 30 points through 33 games, and is a point ahead of Matthew Konrad. On the blueline, 17-year-old Will Dow-Kenny has put up 24 points in 28 games.
Between The Pipes: In the battle of 16-year-olds, Dawson Pelletier has emerged as the team's started over Alex Rolfe. Pelletier has made 24 appearances, carrying a record of 15-8 with a 3.05 GAA. Rolfe was a ninth round draft pick of the Calgary Hitmen in last year’s WHL Bantam draft, and has a 6-4 split through 11 appearances, with a 3.65 GAA. On the Rockets side of things, Cole Schwebius will almost undoubtedly start both games this weekend, after finding action for Darby Tipton a week ago.