With thanks to Larry Fisher of the Kelowna Daily Courier, here are some facts and figures leading into tonight’s game that has the Portland Winterhawks in Kelowna to play the Rockets (they’ll also play there Saturday):
1. The Winterhawks (43-8-3) are atop the overall standings, but coming off a 4-3 loss to the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Wednesday. Portland also is atop the CHL’s weekly rankings.
2. The Rockets (40-11-4) are third in the overall standings. They dropped a 5-0 decision to the host Spokane Chiefs on Wednesday. The Rockets are fourth in the CHL rankings.
3. The Rockets have won 23 straight home games. The franchise record was set in 1992-93 when the team was based in Tacoma. . . . The 24-game streak is the second-longest in WHL history, behind only the 1993-94 Kamloops Blazers (29).
4. Portland has eliminated Kelowna from the playoffs in each of the last two seasons.
5. The Rockets have points in 19 of 20 games since the Christmas break. They have one regulation loss and two in OT over that span.
6. The Winterhawks have points in 17 of their last 19 games. They had an eight-game winning streak snapped Wednesday. They have two regulation losses and one in a shootout since Christmas.
7. The teams split two games played in Portland early in October, the Winterhawks winning 1-0 and the Rockets winning 4-3.
8. Portland has scored 245 goals this season; the Rockets are at 244.
Here’s what Kelowna head coach Ryan Huska told Fisher:
“I think it gets blown way out of proportion by the media. This is two of 72 (games in the regular-season schedule), and that's the reality of it.
"Over the course of the year, so far, I think we've proven ourselves to be a good hockey team and I don't necessarily think this is the be-all and end-all. But there are two very good hockey teams that are going to be playing a couple games here, and it should be entertaining to watch for the fans."
It seems that the CHL is on the verge of changing some rules regarding its annual import draft. For years now, the draft has been driven by agents and that is something to which the CHL wants to put a stop. Sunaya Sapurji of Yahoo! Sports has been on this story and her latest piece is right here.
Chris Clark, an assistant coach with the NAHL’s Wenatchee Wild, has been suspended until at least March 25 for his blind-man-on-the-ice routine on Jan. 26. Jon Frank of the Wenatchee World reports that Clark will be able to appy for reinstatement on March 25. . . . Bliss Littler, the Wild’s general manager and head coach, drew a five-game suspension. . . . Frank’s story is right here.
In Regina, G Tristan Jarry made 23 saves as the Edmonton Oil Kings scored a 7-0 victory over the Pats. . . . Jarry has six shutouts this season and is tied for the WHL lead with Portland’s Mac Carruth and Andrey Makarov of Saskatoon. . . . Jarry now has put up four shutouts in his last six starts. . . . Edmonton has put up a shutout in 10 of its 56 games. . . . The Oil Kings have won 10 in a row and now lead the Eastern Conference by 13 points over the Calgary Hitmen. Edmonton also is second in the overall standings, four points behind Portland, which holds two gams in hand. . . . Edmonton got goals from seven different players, including D Martin Gernat, who scored his first this season. . . . D Cody Corbett had three assists. . . . Edmonton F Michael St. Croix scored his 28th goal – it was his 18th PPG this season and that leads the WHL. It also allowed him to tie the franchise record he set last season. He also is on an 11-game points streak. . . . Edmonton was 4-for-7 on the PP; in two games against Regina, the Oil Kings were 9-for-14 with the man advantage. . . . Edmonton D Keegan Lowe scored his 13th goal of the season, establishing a single-season franchise record for goals by a defenceman. Griffin Reinhart scored 12 last season. . . . A note from Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post: “Prior to the game, the Pats and the Shooting Stars Foundation (Mike Sillinger and Jamie Heward) presented former captain Kyle Deck with a cheque for more than $20,000. The money was raised through the Pats’ alumni game/skills competition on Jan. 28. Deck is suffering from kidney disease and is in need of a transplant.” . . .
In Kamloops, G Cole Cheveldave stopped 20 shots as the Blazers beat the Everett Silvertips, 6-0. . . . Cheveldave has three shutouts this season and seven in his two-season career. . . . F Cole Ully had two goals and an assist, while D Marek Hrbas scored once and was plus-5. . . . The Blazers have won three in a row and are 7-2-1 in their last 10 outings. . . . Kamloops, which is third in the Western Conference, clinched a playoff spot with the victory.
F Curtis Lazar, Edmonton
F Lane Scheidl, Regina
D Martin Gernat, Edmonton
From Calgary Hitmen D Jaynen Rissling (@riznasty09): “went for a walk in Seattle today and couldn’t help but wonder, what if a vampire attacked me.”
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