Happy New Year!!
The Calgary Hitmen (18-16-2-1) play game three of a five-game BC Division road trip today in Kelowna against the Rockets (14-18-2-3). The Hitmen are 1-1 on the swing so far, dropping a 3-1 decision in Prince George on Wednesday before posting a 6-3 win in Kamloops Friday night. Internet Broadcast on http://www.sportsnet960.ca/ starts at 3:00 p.m. MST. The Rockets are coming off Thursday's 5-1 loss in Kennewick to the WHL leading Tri-City Americans. The Hitmen are 10-9-2-0 in enemy rinks this season, including a 1-2 record in their last three visits to Kelowna. The Rockets are 9-9-0-1 on home ice but have dropped three of their last four at Prospera Place.
VS. KELOWNA: Today is the first of three meetings with the Rockets. Last season they met twice at Scotiabank Saddledome with Kelowna posting wins of 5-1 and 4-3 in OT. The two clubs will square off again this season February 17th in Kelowna and February 26th in Calgary.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN: Collin Bowman returns to Kelowna today where he started his WHL career. He broke into the WHL with the Rockets playing his first regular season game on February 20th, 2007 against the Chilliwack Bruins. Bowman played parts of four seasons with the Rockets (2006-07 to 2009-10) helping Kelowna beat the Calgary Hitmen in the 2009 Western Hockey League Final.
Pictured, Collin Bowman who played his first 206 regular season games with the Rockets
WORLD JUNIORS: Rookie Victor Rask is playing for Team Sweden at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Calgary and Edmonton. This is the 13th straight year a Hitmen player has been part of this prestigious tournament. Sweden won their group and receives a bye advancing straight to Tuesday’s semi-final against the winner of Finland and Slovakia. Rask has an assist to go along with 10 shots on goal thus far.
TEAM PACIFIC: Greg Chase, the only 16-year-old rookie on the team this season, is on Team Pacific at 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Windsor, Ontario. Team Pacific is 3-0 in the preliminary round after a 4-3 win over Russia yesterday. Chase had a pair of assists in the victory to give him four points (4a) in the tournament thus far. Team Pacific gets today off but will face Team U-S-A tomorrow in their final game before the playoff round. Two current Calgary Hitmen, Chase Clayton and Rob Trzonkowski, represented Team Pacific at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Winnipeg, Manitoba one year ago.
STREAKS: Victor Rask (1g, 4a) is on a four-game point streak. Jimmy Bubnick (1g 1a) has points in back-to-back games.
REGULAR SEASON CAREER WATCH: Brooks Macek hit the 50 goal mark Friday in Kamloops. Collin Bowman needs three helpers for 100 career assists. Cody Sylvester is three goals away from 50 in his career.
HITMEN ALUMNUS: Kyle Bortis, who played parts of two seasons with the Hitmen (2007-08 to 2008-09), is in the CIS with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies where he leads the Canada West Scoring race with 28 points (13g 15a) in 16 games.
UP NEXT: The Hitmen are in Victoria on Tuesday before wrapping up their road trip Wednesday in Vancouver. Calgary returns to the Scotiabank Saddledome on Sunday, January 8th to host the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Puck drop is 2:00 p.m. for the Tim Hortons Minor Hockey Day game.
Cody Sylvester 14g 24a 38pts
Jimmy Bubnick 14g 16a 30pts
Victor Rask 16g 13a 29pts
Shane McColgan 10g 26a 36pts
Colton Sissons 21g 7a 28pts
Brett Bulmer 14g 14a 28pts