Kelowna Rockets AT Red Deer RebelsGood morning Rebels fans! It's another Rebels game day as the team will host the defending WHL Champion Kelowna Rockets.
Kelowna comes to Red Deer following a come from behind 5-3 victory over the Oil Kings. Down 3-1 with just over 3 minutes to go in the 2nd, the Rockets stormed back with 4 unanswered goals. They improved to 3-1-0-0 on the season and 2-1-0-0 on the road.
Red Deer is fresh off a convincing 5-1 win over the Swift Current Broncos. The team looked dominant throughout the contest after establishing an early 2-0 lead. Red Deer is now undefeated in their first 3 games and will look to make it number four tonight.
Red Deer has not beaten Kelowna since November 9, 2011. They have since gone 0-6-0-2 in the 8 games since and the last home win against the Rockets came on February 27, 2009!
The Rebels will be without the services of Josh Mahura for the long term. It was revealed by Brent Sutter after the game that he had suffered a lower body injury and did not determine the length of time he would be unavailable. This is a difficult blow for a team awaiting the return of Haydn Fleury from Carolina Hurricanes camp. *update* Haydn has been sent back to the Rebels this morning from Carolina. It is unlikely he will make it back to Red Deer for tonight's action.
Rebels to Watch
|Photo Devon Harknett|
Ivan Nikolishin was brought to Red Deer in a trade with the Everett Silvertips on May 7th at the Bantam Draft. It was anticipated he would bring a different level of skill to the Rebels. He played last night on a line with Conner Bleackley and Presten Kopeck. He has 3 goals and 3 assists in his 3 games in a Rebels uniform, which includes at least a point in each of those games.
In net should be our number one goaltender, Rylan Toth. He has won all 3 games for the Rebels this season. His goals against average is a sparkling 1.36 as well as his .942 save percentage. Rylan has been given the torch to run with for the team in this Memorial Cup season.
Rockets to Watch
Returning a large portion of their Memorial Cup team, the Rockets could basically just be listed as a team to watch for the entire WHL season. It was hard to select just a couple of players to watch for the game this evening.
Tomas Soustal, another player from the Czech Republic, comes into tonight's game on a 4 game point scoring streak. He is tied for the team lead with 7 points and has the league leading plus/minus with a +6.
Nick Merkley has only seen action in one of the Rockets games. He was drafted by the Arizona Coyotes and was 6th in WHL scoring last season with 90 points. Watch for him to continue his scoring prowess while building chemistry again with his linemates.
It is unclear if Jackson Whistle will be available for tonight's game, he has suffered an injury and was not in net for the team last night in Edmonton. Defensemen Daniel Gatenby and Jonathan Smart were also out of the lineup last night and are not expected to play.
Tonight's game is live at the Enmax Centrium, puck drop goes at 7PM. Of course all the action can be heard on 106.7 the Drive, with the pre-game show beginning at 6:30. Josh Hall will be live in place of Troy Gillard with the legend himself Cam Moon. Let's get down to the Centrium to cheer on the boys as they look to extend their win streak to 4.