Feb 8, 2013 / 5:00 am
You would expect nothing less from Ryan Huska.
The head coach of the Kelowna Rockets never gets too high after a win, never gets too low after a loss and never seems to look at one regular season game as any bigger than the last one or the next one.
This weekend has to be different - after all, it's the Portland Winterhawks coming to town.
The Winterhawks - the number one team in the Western Hockey League - the top ranked team in Canadian Junior Hockey - the one team everyone measures themselves against.
There's also the matter of that 23 game home ice winning streak, one shy of a franchise record set 20 years ago when the team still resided in Tacoma.
These are arguably the two biggest games at Prospera Place since games four and six of the 2009 Western Hockey League final between the Rockets and the Calgary Hitmen.
"That's I guess where we're a little different from the media and the fans. This is two games of our 72 games schedule," says Huska.
"It's being made out to be I think a lot more than it really is at this time of the year. We want to make sure we're focused on playing our way and not really worry about anything else that's going on it."
Huska agrees the Winterhawks have been the best team in the league over the last two or three seasons but says this two game series will not necessarily serve as a measuring stick to where the team is.
"I think over the course of the season we have shown to teams and people we can compete with the best teams. Whatever happens this week, I don't think it's the greatest measuring stick. That typically happens when playoffs start."
The Rockets come into these games Friday and Saturday 17-1-2-0 since Christmas while the Winterhawks are 13-3-0-2 over that same span.
Both teams coming into Friday's game off a loss.
The Rockets were spanked 5-0 in Spokane Wednesday night while the Winterhawks squandered a 3-1 third period lead in losing 4-3 at home to the Calgary Hitmen also on Wednesday.
The Rockets and Winterhawks met twice at the end of September in Portland.
The Winterhawks were 1-0 winners on a third period power-play goal from Derrick Poulliot while the Rockets bounced back the next night to win 4-3.
Zach Franko scored the game winner in that one with 59 seconds left in regulation time after Portland had battled back from a 3-1 deficit.
Huska says both teams have changed somewhat since those game and shouldn't have a bearing on this weekend.
"The game we lost I thought we outplayed them and the game we won I thought they were the better team so I don't know how much we can take from that weekend."
Both teams are fairly similar in the way they are made up, however, Huska says the key to stopping the Winterhawks is containing their defence led by top NHL draft prospect Seth Jones.
"They have a very good group of defencemen. they are by far the best in our league is getting them to join the play and pushing the pace from behind," says Huska.
He says that's done in part with a hard forecheck.
"And also being responsible in regards to not falling asleep and letting their D-men beat you back up the ice towards our zone. I think it's crucial that we're sharp when we're on the ice."
The teams play Friday and Saturday at Prospera Place.
Tickets for both games are still available.
Following Saturday's game the Rockets will hit the road once again for a Saturday tilt in Everett.
Read more Sports News
- Kelowna Rockets
- West Kelowna Warriors
- Penticton Vees
- Vernon Vipers
- Kelowna Chiefs
- Penticton Lakers
- Okanagan College Coyotes
- Kelowna Minor Hockey
- Westside Minor Hockey
- Penticton Minor Hockey
- Vernon Minor Hockey
- Winfield Minor Hockey
- Pepsi Premier Hockey League
- Kelowna Ball Hockey
- Okanagan Ball Hockey
- Penticton Ball Hockey
- Sunplex Ball Hockey
- Field Hockey Okanagan
- Okanagan Rockets
- Lake Country Old-Timers Hockey Association
- Orchard City Hockey League
- Kelowna Heat Spring Hockey
- Okanagan All Stars Hockey Club
- BCHL | KIJHL | WHL | NHL
- Kelowna Women's Soccer
- Kelowna Men's Soccer
- Okanagan Challenge
- Kelowna United FC
- Central Okanagan Youth
- Kelowna Youth Soccer
- Westside Youth Soccer
- Rutland Youth Soccer
- Lake Country Youth Soccer
- Penticton Soccer Club
- South Okanagan Similkameen Youth Soccer
- Thompson Okanagan Football Club
- Sunplex Futsal League
- Pepsi Premier Soccer League
- CSA | FIFA | MLS
- Kelowna AquaJets
- Liquid Lightning Swim Club
- Ogopogo Summer Swim Club
- Okanagan Masters Swim Club
- Kelowna Masters Swim Club
- Kelowna Badminton Club
- The Penticton Yacht & Tennis
- OK Mission Tennis
- Lakeview Heights Tennis
- Vernon Tennis Association
- Squash BC Okanagan League
- ESPN Tennis
Does your local team have a website?
Email us to add your community sports link.
Cover your team's games! Write up a story and email us firstname.lastname@example.org for publication here.
- What's in store for Patrick Roy, NHL coach?
- Inter Milan hires Walter Mazzarri as head coach
- Raptors trying to woo top GM Masai Ujiri away from Nuggets
- Ex-Stampeder Joffrey Reynolds gets 90 days for assault
- Bayern players know how to approach biggest Champions League spotlight
- Sens reunite Alfredsson, Spezza, Michalek for Game 5
- B.C. Lions sign quarterback Joey Elliott
- Groves: Don't train harder, train smarter
- Veteran Blue Jays reliever Darren Oliver goes on DL
- Blackhawks stars Kane, Toews struggling
- Canada's Eugenie Bouchard falls just short in Strasbourg semifinals
- 2013 NBA Conference Finals
(Click for RSS instructions.)