Rockets welcome Chiefs for Friday Night Hockey on Sportsnet

Larry Brunt


Spokane Chiefs (24-24-6-3)
at Kelowna Rockets (33-20-4-0)

Friday, Feb. 17 – 7 p.m. (Pacific) / 8 p.m. (Mountain) – Prospera Place
Channels: SN East; SN Ontario; SN West; SN Pacific


Winners of three straight, the Kelowna Rockets will look to continue soaring Friday night as they host the Spokane Chiefs on CHL Friday Night Hockey on Sportsnet.

With the B.C. Division battle hotter than ever, the third-place Rockets have won three games in row, knocking off the Seattle Thunderbirds and Vancouver Giants (twice) as they try to keep pace with the second place Kamloops Blazers. As it stands, the Blazers are four points up on the Rockets, but Kelowna owns two games in hand heading into the weekend.

As for the Chiefs, they remain alive in the Western Conference playoff race, sitting eight points back of the Portland Winterhawks for the conference’s second wild card position. After scoring back-to-back victories – one over the Tri-City Americans and the other over the Prince George Cougars – the Chiefs suffered a 7-2 defeat at the hands of those same Cougars Tuesday evening. Without a doubt, bounce-back will be at the forefront of the plan for Spokane.

Right winger Kole Lind, eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft, is leading the offensive charge for the Rockets this season. The 18-year-old product of Shaunavon, Sask., has already collected a career-high 26 goals, 44 assists and 70 points, far surpassing his 2015-16 totals (14-27—41).

Another highly-touted forward for the upcoming NHL Draft – Kailer Yamamoto – is running at a very similar clip as he guides the Chiefs. The 18-year-old product of Spokane, Wash., has posted a career-high 32 goals and 73 points through 50 games. The 2015-16 campaign saw the 5-foot-9 playmaker pot 19 goals, 52 assists and 71 points.

Both Lind and Yamamoto suited up for Team Orr at the 2017 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Quebec City, with Yamamoto tallying a goal and an assist in defeat.

In net, 21-year-old veteran Michael Herringer has seen action in 43 games for the Rockets, going 24-13-3-0 with a 2.93 goals-against average, .901 save percentage and one shutout. Meanwhile, Brodan Salmond was named the WHL and CHL Goaltender of the Week this past week after going 2-0-0-0 with a pair of shutout victories over the Vancouver Giants.

In Spokane, 21-year-old veteran Jayden Sittler and 17-year-old rookie Dawson Weatherill have all but split duties down the middle to this point in the campaign. Weatherill has appeared in 35 contests, going 11-13-4-2 with a 3.54 GAA and .887 SV%. Meanwhile, Sittler has seen action in 31 outings, going 13-11-2-1 with a 3.40 GAA and .878 SV%.

Friday marks the third of four regular season contests between the Chiefs and Rockets this season. Last time out, the Chiefs handed the Rockets a 3-2 overtime defeat on Jan. 4 as Riley Woods scored with 1:41 to go in the extra period. Sittler made 33 stops in the game to claim the win.

The two teams will wrap up their season series Feb. 26 in Spokane.

Kelowna Rockets

Record: 33-20-4-0
Head coach: Jason Smith
Leading scorers: RW Kole Lind (26-44—70); LW Calvin Thurkauf (27-24—51); C Nick Merkley (17-28—45)
Leading goaltender: Michael Herringer (43GP, 24-13-3-0, 2.93 GAA, .901 SV%, 1 SO)
Power play: Sixth – 23.9 per cent
Penalty kill: 10th – 79.9 per cent
Injuries/unavailable: N/A

Spokane Chiefs

Record: 24-24-6-3
Head coach: Don Nachbaur
Leading scorers: RW Kailer Yamamoto (32-41—73); C Jaret Anderson-Dolan (32-28—60); RW Keanu Yamamoto (22-26—58)
Leading goaltender: Dawson Weatherill (35GP, 11-13-4-2, 3.54 GAA, .887 SV%)
Power play: Seventh – 22.6 per cent
Penalty kill: 17th – 76.6 per cent
Injuries/unavailable: F Rykr Cole (lower body, day to day)

Season series

Dec. 2 – Kelowna (1) at Spokane (2) – OT
Jan. 4 – Spokane (3) at Kelowna (2) – OT
Feb. 17 – Spokane at Kelowna
Feb. 26 – Kelowna at Spokane

CHL on Sportsnet

Tuesday, Feb. 21 – Edmonton Oil Kings at Kamloops Blazers
Friday, Feb. 24 – Victoria Royals at Vancouver Giants
Tuesday, March 14 – Victoria Royals at Vancouver Giants

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