|Cougars Host Surging Rockets|
|Thursday, 02 February 2012 23:23|
The Cariboo Cougars are back in their own barn hosting the fifth-place Okanagan Rockets this weekend.
The Cats are coming off a three-point weekend in Nanaimo while the Rockets are playing some of their best hockey of the season going 5-0-1 in their last six games.
Now into the home stretch of the BCMML regular season schedule, the Cougars are looking toward the playoffs. The team knows the value of a pair of wins this weekend and what that could mean down the road.
"We need to get these two wins. If we do, we have a bye week in a couple weeks and then we're to going to fall a couple points back then, so if we don't get the three of four points this weekend there's a chance we don't finish in the top two and get that bye in week one of playoffs," said defenceman Josh Connolly. "They're a really quick team so we can't give them too much space, or they'll make us pay."
Head Coach Trevor Sprague has been happy with his team's effort the last couple weekends and is wanting more of the same against the Rockets to finetune into playoff form. "It defines if we're going to be a second place team in the league this year or if we're going to be playing in the first round of playoffs is what it comes down to. Our guys are ready to go," said Sprague.
The two teams last met in November in Kelowna when the Rockets took three of four points with a 4-4 tie followed by a 5-4 win. It's a weekend that hasn't been forgotten by the Cougars.
"When we went down to the Okanagan and played them last time I was really shocked with how much speed they were able to bring," said forward Hayden-James Berra. "I always know with the Okanagan boys, they're a quick breed, but they brought it to us really hard last time and we definitely took it for granted, we definitely underestimated them."
The Cats see the return of team goal-scoring leader Nathan Craft after missing three games. Tyler Povelofskie also returns up front for the Cats after missing the last four games with an upper body injury. Defenceman Colton Manning is expected to miss Saturday's contest with AP Stephen Penner once again filling in on the blueline. Saturday's puckdrop at Kin 1 is set for 7:15pm with Sunday's rematch at 10:00am.