Rockets ready for a pair of B.C. division tilts in pursuit of 1st place

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KELOWNA, CANADA - FEBRUARY 10: Ryan Jones #21 of the Vancouver Giants stick checks Dillon Dube #19 of the Kelowna Rockets during first period on February 10, 2017 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze) *** Local Caption ***

The Kelowna Rockets are set to face the Vancouver Giants on Friday night, before taking on the Victoria Royals for the second time this week on Saturday.

Heading into Friday night Rockets Head Coach Jason Smith says it doesn’t matter the opponent, his club will take the same mindset into every game.

“I think we have to go into each game with the mindset that we have to be ready to go out and play and compete. We realize that they’re a team that is going to come out and play hard,” said Smith. “We had a game earlier this year against Vancouver and we didn’t take that mindset into that game and we ended up leaving not getting the results we wanted. The last couple times we played them we played the right way from start to finish and we ended up being able to leave each game with two points.”

The Rockets and Giants have met five times already this season, with the Rockets winning four of those. In their most recent meetings, Vancouver and Kelowna played back-to-back games on the February 10th and 11th. The Rockets won both of those games by scores of 6-0 and 5-0 respectively. Brodan Salmond collected back-to-back shutouts that weekend and was named the CHL goaltender of the week for his efforts.

Saturday night will be the eighth and final meeting of the regular season between Victoria and Kelowna. The Rockets and Royals met earlier this week and the Rockets edged the Royals 4-3. The Rockets lead the season series with a record of 5-2-0-0 against the Royals.

With the Prince George Cougars losing last night the chance to catch them is a very real possibility. Smith says his club doesn’t necessarily focus on that, but instead on what they can control.

“We’re just worried about the game at hand. You can’t control who’s winning those other games we can only control what we do as a team,” Smith said. “If we worry about our compete level and get the results we want we feel we’ll be in a good spot at the end of the year no matter what.”

The Rockets currently boast a record of 41-21-5-0 which currently has them sitting in second place in the B.C. division with 87 points. Kelowna is only two points back of Prince George for first place in the division, and the Rockets hold a game in a hand.

The Giants have a record of 19-41-3-3 and have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

The Royals hold a record of 37-25-4-1 giving them 79 points. They currently sit in the top wild card position, five points back of the Kamloops Blazers for third in the division.

The Rockets are back in action following this weekend on Wednesday March 15th when they host the Everett Silvertips one last time.

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