ROCKETS HOST AMERICANS LIVE ON SHAW AND ROOT SPORTS– Myles Bell and the Kelowna Rockets (30-10-1-1) host Justin Feser and the Tri-City Americans (23-15-1-2) in Western Hockey League action on Friday night.
Friday’s match-up between the Rockets and Ams can be seen live throughout western Canada on SHAW and SHAW Direct channel 299 and throughout five U.S. states on ROOT SPORTS (7:00pm PST).
The Rockets skated to a 6-1 win over the visiting Victoria Royals on Wednesday for their seventh straight victory, and moved into sole possession of first place in the B.C. Division standings. The Rockets boast a dominant 17-2-0 record on home ice this season, and have won 16 straight home games. Bell, a former defenceman now playing forward, leads the Rockets in scoring with 27 goals and 60 points this season.
The Americans managed a 3-1 win over the Blazers in Kamloops on Wednesday night for their third win over their last four games, and currently sit in third place in the U.S. Division. The Americans’ penalty killing unit is operating at an impressive 894% efficiency rating on the road. Feser got his team-leading 22nd goal of the season on Wednesday in Kamloops.
Friday’s clash marks the fourth and final meeting of the regular season between the Rockets and Americans. The Americans lead the season series 2-1, wining both of the games played in Kennewick. All three meetings have been decided by a 3-2 score line.
Elsewhere on Friday night, Curtis Lazar and the Edmonton Oil Kings (27-9-2-3) host Jaimen Yakubowski and the Lethbridge Hurricanes (21-18-1-5) for a match-up between Central Division Clubs.
The Oil Kings suffered a 2-1 defeat to the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook on Tuesday, snapping a four-game winning streak, and currently sit three points behind Calgary for first place in the division. The Oil Kings have given up just 16 power play goals all season.
The Hurricanes defeated the visiting Vancouver Giants 7-4 on Wednesday night for their second win in a row, and currently sit two points back of Red Deer for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Yakubowski boasts a team-leading 25 goals this season.
In Everett, WA, Mirco Mueller and the Everett Silvertips (16-24-0-2) host Jamie Crooks and the Victoria Royals (20-16-1-2) on Friday night.
The Silvertips have been off since dropping a 5-3 decision in Portland on Saturday night for their second defeat over their last three games, and currently hold down eighth place in the Western Conference. The ‘Tips are 8-9-0-2 on home ice this season.
The Royals are coming off a 6-1 loss to the Rockets in Kelowna on Wednesday night for their third defeat over their last four games, and remain in sixth place in the Western Conference. The Royals have lost their last four games on the road.
In Cranbrook, B.C., Sam Reinhart and the Kootenay Ice (16-24-1-0) take on Hunter Shinkaruk and the Medicine Hat Tigers (19-20-2-1) for another match-up between Central Division rivals on Friday.
The Ice edged the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings 2-1 on Tuesday to stretch their winning streak to six games, and have climbed to within eight points of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings. The Ice have allowed just nine goals over the course of their six-game winning streak.
The Tigers shut out the visiting Vancouver Giants 4-0 on Tuesday night for their second straight victory, and currently it in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Shinkaruk recorded his 100th career assist in Tuesday’s win over the Giants.
In Moose Jaw, SK, Sam Fioretti and the Moose Jaw Warriors (14-22-3-4) host Jayce Hawryluk and the Brandon Wheat Kings (14-25-2-2) for a battle between East Division opponents on Friday.
The Warriors dropped a 6-4 decision to the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Wednesday for their fifth consecutive setback, and currently sit in 10th place in the Eastern Conference. Fioretti has scored four goals and eight points in five games versus Brandon this season.
The Wheat Kings suffered a 7-2 loss to the visiting Hitmen on Tuesday night for their fifth straight defeat, and currently sit in 12th place in the Eastern Conference. The Wheat Kings sent leading scorer Alessio Bertaggia to Spokane and forward Michael Ferland to Saskatoon on the WHL trade deadline on Thursday.
In Portland, OR, Ty Rattie and the Portland Winterhawks (35-5-1-0) welcome Mitch Holmberg and the Spokane Chiefs (27-13-1-0) for a battle between the top two teams in the U.S. Division on Friday night.
The Winterhawks shut out the visiting Prince George Cougars 3-0 on Wednesday night for their 12th straight win, matching a season high for consecutive wins, and currently hold a commanding 16-point lead over Spokane for top spot in the U.S. Division. Hawks’ goaltender Mac Carruth collected his 106th career win on Wednesday, setting a new franchise record for career wins by a Hawks’ netminder.
The Chiefs are coming off three consecutive wins versus the Seattle Thunderbirds, outscoring the T-Birds 13-6 in the process, and currently sit in fourth place in the Western Conference standings. The Chiefs are 13-8-1 on the road this season. Holmberg netted his first goal in the New Year on Wednesday versus the Thunderbirds.
In Prince George, B.C., Troy Bourke and the Prince George Cougars (12-24-1-4) host Tim Bozon and the Kamloops Blazers (28-11-2-2) for the first of two weekend meetings between the B.C. Division foes.
The Cougars are coming off back-to-back losses to the Winterhawks in Portland on Tuesday and Wednesday, stretching their losing skid to seven games. The Cougars are 8-11-1-0 on home ice this season.
The Blazers fell 3-1 to the visiting Tri-City Americans on Wednesday night, putting a stop to a three-game win streak, and currently sit in second place in the B.C. Division. Bozon has scored eight goals over his last six games.
In Regina, SK, Morgan Klimchuk and the Regina Pats (18-22-2-2) welcome Brooks Macek and the Calgary Hitmen (29-10-1-3) on Friday night.
The Pats are coming off Wednesday’s 9-4 loss to the Raiders in Prince Albert, snapping their five-game winning streak, and currently sit one point behind Medicine Hat for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Klimchuk, a 17-year-old, leads the Pats in scoring with 52 points this season.
The Hitmen posted a 6-4 win in Moose Jaw on Wednesday night for their fifth straight triumph, and currently sit in first place in the Eastern Conference standings. Calgary owns the best road record in the WHL with a 15-2-0-1 mark away from home this season.
In Swift Current, SK, Adam Lowry and the Swift Current Broncos (19-20-3-2) take on Mark McNeill and the Prince Albert Raiders (25-14-0-3) for an East Division battle on Friday.
The Broncos downed the visiting Red Deer Rebels 5-2 on Wednesday night for their second win in a row, and currently sit tied with Saskatoon for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Lowry is riding an 18-game point streak, having recorded 18 goals and 14 assists over that span.
The Raiders blasted the visiting Regina Pats 9-4 on Wednesday night in Prince Albert, snapping a three-game losing skid, and remain in first place in the East Division. McNeill netted a goal and two assists in his return to the Raiders’ lineup on Wednesday after playing for Team Canada in the World Junior Championship.