Kelowna Rock­ets play host to Cal­gary Hit­men tonight

Kelowna heads to Port­land for twin­bill af­ter en­ter­tain­ing Cal­gary tonight

The Daily Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By KEVIN BAIN

The Kelowna Rock­ets host the Cal­gary Hit­men tonight at Pros­pera Place (puck drop is 7:05 p.m.) for their first Cen­tral Di­vi­sion meet­ing of the sea­son be­fore hit­ting the high­way for three road games in four nights.

“We talked to the guys ear­lier this week to make sure they’re catch­ing up on rest as well as mak­ing sure they’re eat­ing and keep­ing hy­drated,” Rock­ets head coach Ja­son Smith said on pre­par­ing his team for a tough five-night sched­ule. “When you go through a stretch of four games in five nights, it’s phys­i­cally wear­ing but, more im­por­tantly, you have to stay sharp men­tally. Tak­ing care of your­self away from the rink is the most im­por­tant part of that.”

The Rock­ets are com­ing off of back-to-back over­time wins on the road in Prince Ge­orge last week­end. On Fri­day, the Rock­ets came back from a 5-3 deficit to win 7-6, and on Satur­day the club tied the game 3-3 with just over a minute and a half to go, and went on to pre­vail 4-3.

“On Fri­day, I thought we played re­ally well, and on Satur­day we had lots of room for im­prove­ment,” Smith said. “We showed good bat­tle and com­pete to come back af­ter be­ing down, but it comes down to play­ing within our sys­tems to get us the re­sults we want within 60 min­utes.”

Fol­low­ing tonight’s game, the Rock­ets will head to Port­land for back-to-back meet­ings with the Win­ter­hawks on Satur­day (6 p.m.) and Sun­day (5 p.m.).

The Rock­ets will then make the short trip to Ken­newick, Wash., to visit the Tri-City Amer­i­cans on Tues­day (7:05 p.m.) to close out the three-game road trip.

Kelowna en­ters tonight with a record of 4-1-0-1, good for sec­ond place in the B.C. Di­vi­sion with nine points — one ahead of the Prince Ge­orge Cougars, who sit third.

The Hit­men come to Kelowna with a record of 2-5-1-0 for five points — ty­ing them for fifth in the Cen­tral Di­vi­sion.

As of to­day, the Win­ter­hawks hold a record of 6-1-0-0, plac­ing them atop the U.S. Di­vi­sion with 12 points. The Amer­i­cans sit tied for third in that di­vi­sion with a record of 4-4-0-0 for eight points head­ing into the week­end.

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