THURSDAY'S WHL MATCH-UPS

Thu Jan 31

ROCKETS TAKE ON ROYALS – Ryan Olsen and the Kelowna Rockets (37-10-3-1) welcome Steven Hodges and the Victoria Royals (27-17-1-3) for a match-up between B.C. Division rivals in Western Hockey League action on Thursday.

The Rockets are coming off a 6-5 overtime loss to the Blazers in Kamloops on Saturday night for just their second loss in 16 games, and currently sit in first place in the B.C. Division.  The Rockets carry a remarkable 21-game winning streak on home ice into Thursday’s meeting with Victoria.  Kelowna needs just one point to clinch a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Royals are coming off a 6-5 shootout loss to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Tuesday night, snapping a seven-game winning streak, and remain in third place in the B.C. Division.  The Royals are 10-12-0-1 on the road this season.  Hodges got his 20th goal of the season in Tuesday’s loss to the visiting Raiders.

It’s the fifth meeting of the season between the Rockets and Royals.  Kelowna took three of the first four meetings, including both previous meetings in Kelowna.

Elsewhere on Thursday, Turner Elson and the Red Deer Rebels (26-20-4-2) take on Sam Reinhart and the Kootenay Ice (23-26-2-0) for a Central Division battle.

The Rebels snapped a three-game losing skid with a 3-2 shootout win over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes on Saturday, and remain in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.  Red Deer’s penalty killing unit is operating at 85.1% efficiency this season.

The Ice suffered a 4-2 loss to the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Wednesday afternoon for their second setback over their last three games, and currently sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.  Reinhart extended his point streak to 15 games with a goal in Wednesday’s loss to the Oil Kings.