Rockets face Cougars for final time of the regular season

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KELOWNA, CANADA - FEBRUARY 18: Nick Merkley #10 of the Kelowna Rockets celebrates a first period goal against the Prince George Cougars on February 18, 2017 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze) *** Local Caption ***

The Kelowna Rockets return home for tomorrow night’s match up against the Prince George Cougars after a three game road trip over the weekend. The Rockets went 2-1 on the trip, taking wins in Kamloops and Spokane while losing Saturday night in Seattle against the Thunderbirds.

With the Rockets getting healthy down the stretch, consistency and familiarity has been key to the teams recent success according to Head Coach Jason Smith.

“I think it helps, its nice to have a full line up. I think you have to expect to go through parts of the season where you deal with injuries, or players away at the World Juniors or at the start of the year, you got players at NHL training camps but it’s nice to have a group of guys right now playing and have the depth we have of guys who have been in and out of the line up,” Smith said.

“We’ve been able to get contributions from everybody in our line up. From our top line players to guys that play on the fourth line, and when you’re getting scoring from your depth and contributions from everybody, it really allows your team to have success.”

The Rockets finished the month of February with a 10-2-1-0 record and will look to continue their strong play into the month of March. Kelowna is coming off a 9-5 win over Spokane Sunday afternoon and improved their record to 37-21-5-0, good for 79 points, while also only sitting one point back of Kamloops for 2nd place in the B.C. division and six points back of 1st place Prince George. However, the Rockets do hold a game in hand over both the Blazers and Cougars. The Victoria Royals are currently four points back of the 3rd place Rockets with a record of 35-23-4-1, which translates into 75 points.

The Prince George Cougars punched their ticket to the 2017 WHL Playoffs over the weekend with a pair of wins over the Edmonton Oil Kings. The Cougars are 4-4-0-2 in their last 10 games, but have an overall record of 40-19-3-2 and sit atop the B.C. division, as well as 3rd in the Western Conference behind only Everett and Seattle.

This is the 8th and final meeting between these two clubs with Prince George holding a one game advantage in the season series. Kelowna has won the three most recent match-ups taking back-to-back wins in Prince George on February 3rd and 4th, and then winning 5-2 on February 18th. The Rockets will have eight games remaining after tomorrow’s contest with six of them being home games. The Rockets will face U.S. Division opponents three more times this season and will take on teams from the B.C. Division five more times including a home-and-home against the Vancouver Giants to finish off the season.

The Rockets will be in Everett to play the Silvertips on Friday March 3rd before returning home the following night to host the Tri-City Americans to kick off a six game home stand. Puck drop for that game will go at 7:05PM

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