The Kelowna Rockets are back in action tonight (Jan. 25) after another COVID-19 related pause.
Last week, the Western Hockey League (WHL) paused the Rockets from all team-related activities after multiple players and staff had to be placed on the league’s COVID-19 protocol list. Some tested positive and some others showed symptoms. The pause effected two games on the team’s schedule: Friday, Jan. 21 at Everett has been rescheduled for Sunday, Feb. 6 while the Jan. 22 game at Vancouver has yet to be rescheduled.
After passing all the necessary tests, the Rockets finally hit the ice again tonight in the first of back-to-back games against the Victoria Royals.
The last time the team played was on Jan. 14 and 15. when the hosted and beat Victoria twice by the scores of 6-4 and 9-1. On Oct. 9, the Royals beat the Rockets 6-3 but since then Kelowna has won six straight games against Victoria. Over the first seven games played, the Rockets have outscored the Royals 39-22.
Over the weekend (Jan. 21 and 22), Victoria hosted both Vancouver and Everett over the weekend and lost both, 4-2 and 5-3. The Royals haven’t won a game in 2022 yet as they’ve lost seven games in a row.
Forward Jake Poole has been the hot hand for Kelowna of late as he has 12 points (6 G, 6 A), over his last six games. For the Royals, Bailey Peach has 48 points in 36 games this season, good enough for ninth highest in the league.
The Rockets are getting a boost to their lineup for tonight’s game. It’s expected that both defensemen John Babcock and Jake Lee will be back in the line up after spending the last two games on the COVID protocol list. Forward Mark Liwiski will also be back after serving a two-game suspension.
Going into tonight’s action, the Rockets are currently second in the B.C. division standings with a record of 18-10-1-3 while the Royals are fifth (12-20-4-0).