Okanagan Rockets (19-12-3-2, 4th place) vs/@ Thompson Blazers (15-19-1-1, 7th place)
Last Weekend: The Rockets picked up a big weekend split at home against the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds, losing 4-1 and winning 6-5. The Blazers had a massive weekend, tying GVC 1-1 and then beating them 3-2
Head-to-Head: Back in November, the Blazers edged out the Rockets 2-1 in overtime up in Kamloops, before the Rockets took the rematch 4-1 at the Capital News Centre.
Historically Speaking: Dating back to the 2006/07 season, the Rockets have a dominant 37-2-3-2 all-time record against Thompson, though the Blazers have won three of the last six meetings.
Red Hot Blazers?: Don’t look now, but the Blazers have become one of the hottest teams in league. Thompson hasn’t lost back to back games since a weekend against Valley West in late January, and have won 7 of 10 games since then, with one of the other decisions coming as last week’s tie against the Canadians. With a big weekend against Cariboo on the Rockets schedule next weekend, Okanagan will have to avoid the urge to look back this weekend onto those games. And dating back over the last season and a half, the Blazers have been a tough opponent for the Rockets, especially up in Kamloops, where two of the last three games have resulted in Thompson victories. And with the wins, the Blazers still have something to play for in March, which hasn’t always been the case in past seasons. Wins this weekend coupled with NW Giants losses (they play GVC) would allow Thompson a shot at sixth place.
Blazers To Watch: 17-year-old Trent Thompson has been a huge part of this team, with 35 points in 34 games. Fellow returnee Tyson Gayfer has also emerged, and is tied with Thompson for the team lead in points, and is tied for the lead on the Blazers in assists with 25. A shout out as well to 15-year-old rookie Peyton Kelly, who’s emerged with 21 points in his 35 games. There’s also been production from the back end, as 16-year-olds Timber Lewis and Cole Nisse have lead the way. Fellow assist leader Nisse has 28 points so far, while Lewis trails him by just six points.
Between The Pipes: It’s no secret that a big part of Thompson’s recent success is goaltender Ethan Langenegger, who has a record of 12-14-0-1, and a 3.18 GAA. The 17-year-old Langenegger has already tripled his 4 wins from last season. His backup this season has been 15-year-old Bailey Monteith, who’s picked up three wins over his 12 appearances this season.
Lineup News: After seeing Mitchell Gove, Palmer Jenkins, and Nolan Corrado return to the lineup over the last few weeks, the Rockets are once again icing a full lineup this weekend…Mentioned on the broadcast last Sunday, but want to officially wish Chase Dafoe a Happy 16th birthday, celebrated last Sunday…Speaking of birthdays, a big upcoming Happy Birthday wish to Remy Aquilon, who turns 17 on Monday. After getting production from many parts of the lineup last week, here’s how the Rockets stats shake down currently…In goals, Mitchell Gove has 18, with Brendan Boyle’s 17 right behind him...Rayman Bassi had that sweet penalty shot goal last weekend, but has quietly taken over the team lead in assists with 23…Boyle’s 36 points lead the team, with Bassi right on his heels at 35…Gove sits at 33 points, and has also played a handful fewer games than the other two…last weekend also saw Ben King crack the 30 point plateau in his 27th game.