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Rockets deal Vasko to Red Deer

It was only a matter of time before the Kelowna Rockets unclogged the logjam up front.

With 16 healthy forwards on the roster, someone had to go.

The odd man out was import Filip Vasko.

Rockets President and General Manager, Bruce Hamilton, pulled the trigger on a trade Thursday morning, sending the 19-year-old Slovakian to the Red Deer Rebels in exchange for a conditional sixth round bantam draft choice in 2013.

Vasko was arguably the Rockets most improved player early in the season scoring three times and adding seven assists in 19 games. He collected 12 assists in 51 games in his first season in the league.

Hamilton says the toughest part about moving an import player is finding a team that has a spot available and he found that team in Red Deer.

"He's going to get an opportunity to play which he deserves. He added great depth for us but in order to get (Cole) Linaker and (Austin) Glover the minutes they need, we had to move a forward.

The move leaves the Rockets with 15 forwards and a 24-player roster.

The roster will increase to 25 once over age defenceman Mitchell Chapman returns, likely sometime after Christmas.

His return will mean another decision for Hamilton and the Rockets brain trust - which three 20-year-olds to keep.

The Rockets are utilizing three over age forwards at the moment in Cody Fowlie, JT Barnett and Dylan McKinley.

"All three need to have real solid finishes here in December and into January."

For the Rockets, the right ingredients have certainly been added to the pot this season as the club finds itself fourth in the Western Conference and suddenly within striking distance of the BC Division leading Kamloops Blazers.

Despite the team's recent success, Hamilton cautions it's still November.

"We've beat a lot of average teams in the last little while. We've beat some of the best teams too but I think we need to play them again to find out where we're at," added Hamilton.

"I think our trip to Alberta will help with that."

The Rockets will try to extend their home winning streak to double digits Friday when they host the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Kelowna has won nine in a row on home ice and are a stout 8-2 in the month of November.

Moose Jaw, third in the Eastern Conference, has won two in a row including a 2-1 victory in Vancouver Wednesday.



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