Rockets target B.C. Division title as Giants visit for Friday Night Hockey on Sportsnet

Marissa Baecker


Vancouver Giants (20-43-3-3)
at Kelowna Rockets (43-22-5-0)

Friday, March 17 – 7:30 p.m. (Pacific) – Prospera Place

Channels: SN East, SN Ontario, SN Pacific, SN Now


If the Kelowna Rockets plan on sniping a B.C. Division title, they must find a way past the Vancouver Giants, beginning on CHL on Sportsnet Friday night.

In hot pursuit of the Prince George Cougars for the division crown, the Rockets sit two points back of the current division leaders, with both teams having two games left to play. The Cougars face the Blazers twice, while the Rockets hope to overcome the Giants on two occasions.

Friday marks the seventh of eight meetings this season between the Rockets and Giants. Kelowna has won five of the previous outings, with Vancouver’s lone victory coming Jan. 20. The two clubs will close out their regular season Saturday night back at the Langley Events Centre.

The Rockets will look to get back in the win column Friday after the Everett Silvertips put a pin in Kelowna’s seven -game win streak Wednesday night. As for the Giants, they knocked off the Victoria Royals Wednesday evening and will aim to finish the season strong, while shooting to spoil the Rockets division title aspirations.

Kole Lind, who was ranked 21st among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting in its midterm rankings, has shown why scouts are so high on him. The product of Shaunavon, Sask., leads the Rockets in scoring with 81 points (28G-53A) in 68 games.

For the Giants, it’s New York Rangers prospect Ty Ronning providing the punch with 53 points (25G-28A) in 65 games. Hot on his heels is James Malm, who is enjoying a breakout campaign with 50 points (20G-30A) of his own through 66 contests.

Michael Herringer claimed his second WHL Goaltender of the Week honour in recent weeks and has posted a record of 31-15-3-0 with a 2.86 goals-against average, .902 save percentage and one shutout in 53 appearances this season.

Ryan Kubic has been an equally busy man in the Giants crease, appearing in 54 contests and accruing a 15-31-3-3 record with a 3.64 GAA, .896 SV% and one shutout. The veteran puck-stopper has faced the third most shots in the entire WHL, having seen 1,844 pucks sent his way. His 1,652 saves also rank third in the league.

Kelowna Rockets

Record: 43-22-5-0
Head coach: Jason Smith
Leading scorers: RW Kole Lind (28-53—81); LW Calvin Thurkauf (33-35—68); Nick Merkley (23-37—60)
Leading goaltender: Michael Herringer (53 GP, 31-15-3-0, 2.86 GAA, .902 SV%, 1 SO)
Power play: T-3rd – 24.9 per cent
Penalty kill: Ninth – 80.1 per cent
Injuries/unavailable: F Tomas Soustal (lower body, one week)

Vancouver Giants

Record: 20-43-3-3
Head coach: Jason McKee
Leading scorers: RW Ty Ronning (25-28—53); C James Malm (20-30—50); LW Tyler Benson (11-31—42)
Leading goaltender: Ryan Kubic (54 GP, 15-31-3-3, 3.64 GAA, .896 SV%, 1 SO)
Power play: 22nd – 13.4 per cent
Penalty kill: 22nd – 72.6 per cent
Injuries/unavailable: F Tyler Benson (lower body, indefinite); D Bailey Dhaliwal (upper body, indefinite); F Dawson Holt (upper body, indefinite); D Ryely McKinstry (upper body, indefinite); F Taden Rattie (upper body, day to day); F Brendan Semchuk (upper body, day to day); D Darian Skeoch (lower body, indefinite)

Season series

Nov. 4 – Kelowna (6) at Vancouver (4)
Nov. 18 – Vancouver (3) at Kelowna (5)
Jan. 20 – Kelowna (4) at Vancouver (5)
Feb. 10 – Vancouver (0) at Kelowna (6)
Feb. 11 – Kelowna (5) at Vancouver (0)
March 10 – Vancouver (1) at Kelowna (8)
March 17 – Vancouver at Kelowna
March 18 – Kelowna at Vancouver

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