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Rockets open Prairie tour Tuesday in Swift Current
Over the next eight days, the Western Hockey League's hottest team will try to withstand both the frigid Prairie weather and a rather demanding road trip.
With 15 wins in their last 16 games, the Kelowna Rockets will open a six-game tour of the Eastern Division Tuesday night in Swift Current against the Broncos.
After a successful four-game home stand, head coach Ryan Huska is urging his players to embrace the challenge that awaits the Rockets over the next week.
"I think the whole idea is to enjoy this," Huska said. "We do have six games in eight nights, it's a big challenge, there's always adversity on these trips, but it's something to look forward to. It's a chance to get out on the road, grow tighter as a team and continue to make progress together."
The Rockets (22-3-0-2) are on a six-game winning streak and trail the Portland Winterhawks by just two points for the WHL's overall lead, with Kelowna holding five games in hand.
With 46 of a possible 54 points earned so far this season, Huska couldn't have asked for much more of his club in 2013-14.
"We've set ourselves up well," Huska said. "If we can get some wins on this trip and continue to play well, I think we're going to be pretty happy going into Christmas."
The Rockets will welcome defenceman Mitchell Wheaton back to the lineup on Tuesday night. The 6-foot-5 native of Sherwood Park has missed the last seven games with an upper body injury.
"Mitchell is a big body that we can use against other team's top lines," said Huska. "It's good to have him back."
Following Tuesday night's game in Swift Current, the Rockets will visit Moose Jaw Wednesday, Brandon on Friday, and Regina on Sunday. The pre-Christmas trip will conclude with a games in Prince Albert next Sunday and Saskatoon on Tuesday, Dec. 17.