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Rockets out to equal 'Kelowna' record

Ryan Huska knows a thing or two about winning streaks, especially home ice winning streaks.

The Kelowna Rockets head coach has been involved, in one way or another, in some of the longest home ice winning streaks in Western Hockey league history.

Huska was a player with the Kamloops Blazers when they set the league record of 29 straight home wins in 1993-94.

He played against the Tacoma Rockets when they established the previous record of 24 the year before.

Huska was in his first year as an assistant coach with the Kelowna Rockets when they won 18 straight at what was then Skyreach Place in 2002-2003. Now his team has won 17 in a row (and counting) this season.

He says (the streak) is not something that gets talked about in the dressing room.

"It's more about us preparing to play the way we expect our guys to play and make sure we focus on being better than we were the night before," says Huska.

"That's been our message all year and we haven't really addressed our winning streak at home much at all."

Huska says many times streaks like this boils down to being proud of where you're playing.

"Once you start having some success at home I think players really are proud of what they've done and they really do want to put on a hard working effort at home," says Huska.

"I think that's what it comes down to. You have to continually believe in yourselves and continually work hard to give yourself the best opportunity to keep those things going."

The Rockets will get a chance to match the 18 game 'Kelowna' streak Wednesday night when they host the Spokane Chiefs, the last team visiting team to win a game at Prospera Place.

Ironically, the 6-4 setback at the hands of the Chiefs back on October 10 was a game in which Huska felt the team deserved a better fate.

"I thought we did play well that game. Some of their goals were funny bounce goals, but that's what good teams get," says Huska.

"If we had the same type of effort and capitalized on some of our opportunities and do a better job of limiting some of their chances then we'll give ourselves an opportunity."

The Rockets will have to face the Chiefs without leading scorer Myles Bell who was handed a two game suspension for a hit from behind in a 6-3 win over Tri-City last Friday.

Bell sat out the first game of the suspension Saturday during the Rockets 4-3 overtime loss in Vancouver.

Huska says Bell will be missed against the Chiefs, especially on the power-play.

"We missed Myles on the power-play in Vancouver but, in saying that, it gives other people that opportunity to try and step up and contribute in the way we need for us to get a win," says Huska.

"It's not anybody doing anything extraordinary, it's just a matter of them being focused and very prepared for the game."

Bell will be eligible to return Friday when the Chiefs and Rockets hook up in Spokane.

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