Kelowna Rockets off to worst start in franchise history
Fifteen goals. That was the total tally from last night’s barn burner at Prospera Place.
Mathematically speaking, it’s the sum of one, plus two, plus three, plus four, plus five. Fifteen.
The Rockets scored six in 60 minutes, which tied their total goals for, in their first four games at home.
That’s usually enough to come out on top in a hockey game.
The trouble was the Thunderbirds flipped that six upside down on the scoreboard and spanked the Rockets in the end, 9-6.
“With the effort and compete from the majority of our group that we got tonight, we’re lucky the score is what it was,” said Rockets head coach Jason Smith.
The Rockets now have one win and eight loses this season, their worst start in franchise history.
“It’s frustrating, yes. You’d hope it’s more embarrassing for the players,” Smith said.
James Porter managed to stop seven of the 11 shots he faced before getting the hook. Roman Basran then let in five more on the 26 shots he saw in relief.
“I think in the games, we have either hesitation or a lack of compete or a fear of making mistakes, which makes it really hard to go out and play,” Smith said.
So where do the Rockets go from here? The easy answer is Tri-City on Friday to face the Americans. The hopefully answer is up in the standings.
But the honest answer is nobody knows for sure. However, one thing that is for sure . . . Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton hates to lose and so a shake up of one sort or another is eminent.
And speaking of Hamilton, Kelowna’s president and GM made his second trade in as many days on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Kelowna acquired defenceman Dalton Gally from the Medicine Hat Tigers in exchange for a 10th-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. Gally, 20, had no points in five games with the Tigers this season. Last season, the 6-foot-5 and 227-pound blue-liner had 2 goals and 10 assists for 12 points in 72 regular-season games.
From Eagle River, Alaska, Gally is an over-age player, meaning Kelowna now has four 20-year-old players (born in 1998), one over the league limit. The other three over-age players are right wingers Ryan Bowen and Lane Zablocki plus defenceman Braydyn Chizen.
On Thursday, Kelowna acquired forward Michael Farren, 18, for the Saskatoon Blades in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft.
A right-handed centre, Farren is from Richmond and tilts the scale at 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds.
In eight games this season with Saskatoon, Farren had 1 goal and 4 assists for 5 points. Last season, his second in the WHL, he had 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points in 62 games. In his rookie campaign in 2016-17, Farren had 8 goals and 22 assists for 30 points in 63 games.
“He’s a skilled guy who we are hoping can come in and put up some good offensive numbers,” said Rockets assistant GM Lorne Frey. “He’s a younger guy, hopefully a two-to-three year guy, and we think he can help us move ahead offensively. We’re trying to get more offence injected into the team and we’re hoping that he can help as he’s a young, talented kid. We’re looking ahead to the future.”
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