Rockets host Tips as both teams hunt for first in their divisions

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KELOWNA, CANADA - FEBRUARY 10: Nolan Foote #29 of the Kelowna Rockets celebrates his second goal of the night against the Vancouver Giants on February 10, 2017 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze) *** Local Caption ***

The Kelowna Rockets host the Everett Silvertips on Wednesday night in Prospera Place as each team looks to catch first place in their respective divisions.

The last time these two teams met was on March 3rd when Kelowna visited Everett and stole two points with a 3-2 shootout victory over Carter Hart and the Tips. Michael Herringer stopped 34 of 36 shots he faced that night as well as all six shootout attempts.

When asked if Kelowna needed another big performance out of Herringer like they got last time, Head Coach Jason Smith said he just needs his goalie to keep doing what he’s doing.
“Goaltending is key. When you’re getting good goaltending you’ve got a chance in every game. If he gives us a chance to win the game that’s all you can ask and then it’s up to the players in front of him to defend and create offence,” said Smith. “But if your goalie is giving you that opportunity to be in the game, he’s doing his job.”

The Rockets have the most potent offense in the Western Conference scoring 270 goals so far this season. Everett on the other hand, has the stingiest defence in the entire league allowing just 158 goals thus far.

Smith says his club needs to make sure they get pucks deep and the offence will follow.

“It starts with getting the puck into the O-zone followed by a executing at a high level. We can’t turn down shots and we need to get pucks and bodies to the net,” Smith said.

Kelowna currently has a record of 43-21-5-0 giving them 91 points on the year. They sit in second in the B.C. division only two points back of the first place Prince George Cougars, and only three points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, but the Rockets hold a game in hand on both.

Everett has a record of 41-16-8-3  putting them in second place in the U.S. division with 93 points, only one point back of the first place Seattle Thunderbirds, but they’re 13 points ahead of the third place Portland Winterhawks.

The top five Western Conference teams are all jammed within six points of each other. Seattle leads the pack with 94 points, then Everett and Prince George each have 93, Kelowna has 91 and Kamloops has 88. The final week will be interesting.

The Rockets are back in action on Friday night, St. Patrick’s Day, to host the Vancouver Giants in the final regular season home game for Kelowna. It’s Jersey off the Back night so if you’ve entered in the draw this season you’ll have a chance at taking home a special edition Rockets jersey. There’s also a puck toss courtesy of BRP and Banner Recreation and Marine. The toss involves the first 6000 fans in the building getting a free puck to toss for the chance to win a 2016 Can-Am Outlander 450L DPS valued at over $7599. That game is being broadcast on Sportsnet so there will be a 7:35pm puck drop.

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