Kelowna Rockets facing back-to-back games after week-long hiatus

The Kelowna Rockets have two powerhouse teams visiting Prospera Place this weekend.

Tonight, the Rockets square up against the Western Conference leaders, the Everett Silvertips.

On Saturday, the Rockets will then host the B.C. Division-leading Vancouver Giants.

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The Rockets, who are coming off a 4-1 victory in Kamloops on Feb. 9, are 5-4-1-0 in their past 10 games. The Silvertips are 5-4-0-1 while the Giants are an impressive 8-1-0-1.

Rockets defenceman Cayde Augustine says Kelowna needs to play to its size this weekend.

“We need to stick to our structure,” said Augustine. “We need to play physical and we need to get on them fast. They’re both fast and skillful teams. If we play physical and our structure early on, we will be set.”

This will be the fourth meeting of the season between Kelowna (23-26-4-1) and Everett (38-13-1-2).

The Silvertips are 2-1 against the Rockets, having won 2-1 at home on Nov. 24 and 4-2 on Jan. 9 in Kelowna. In their last meeting, though, the Rockets blanked Everett 2-0, with James Porter earning the shutout and first-star honours. The Silvertips outshot Kelowna 40-20.

The Silvertips were scheduled to play Red Deer (29-19-4-1) on Wednesday, but the game was postponed due to weather. The game was rescheduled for Thursday, with the Rebels skating to a 2-1 shootout win.

In Western Conference standings, Everett is out front with 79 points, just two ahead of second-place Vancouver (37-13-2-1, 77 points). The Giants, however, have a game in hand.

Both the Silvertips and Giants have clinched playoff berths.

On Saturday, Kelowna and Vancouver will play for the sixth time this season. The Giants are 4-1 against the Rockets so far. The two sides met recently for back-to-back games: a 2-1 Giants win in Kelowna on Jan. 26, and a 4-3 Rockets shootout win in Langley on Jan. 27.

In that Jan. 26 contest, the Giants outshot the Rockets 39-19. The next night, the shots were 33-25 for Vancouver.

The Giants are also in action on Friday as they host the surging Spokane Chiefs (30-17-2-4), who are 6-3-0-1 in their past 10 games. The Giants’ last game was a 4-1 win over visiting Prince George on Sunday, Feb. 10.

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