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Rockets, Royals prepare to battle for playoff positioning on TSN+

Tij Iginla Kelowna Rockets Tij Iginla - Kelowna Rockets

The Victoria Royals are set to do battle with the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday's edition of the CHL on TSN with both teams fighting for positioning for the Western Hockey League playoffs.

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Kelowna enters Wednesday's matchup with a 22-14-3 record and are tied for sixth place in the Western Conference with the Vancouver Giants.

The Rockets are coming off back-to-back losses to the Portland Winterhawks on Friday and the Spokane Chiefs on Sunday.

They are led by Washington Capitals prospect Andrew Cristall, who is tied for sixth in WHL scoring with 28 goals and 78 points in 43 games. The 5-foot-10 forward has 22 multipoint games this season and registered a WHL-high 23-game point streak that saw him record 17 goals and 45 points in that span.

Fans will also get a look at 2024 NHL top prospect Tij Iginla, son of Calgary Flames legend Jarome Iginla. The 6-foot forward was acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds in the offseason in exchange for forward Grady Lenton and two draft picks.

Iginla is having a career season in Kelowna, registering 34 goals and 60 points in 45 games this season.

The Lake Country, B.C., native is listed 16th on TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie's mid-season draft ranking and 16th on TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button's January draft list.

Kelowna is backstopped by Jari Kykkanen who has a 17-11-1 record with a .886 save percentage and 3.73 goals-against average this season. He last appeared during the Portland Winterhawks' 11-1 drubbing of the Rockets on Friday, allowing seven goals on 25 shots before being pulled in the second period.

The Royals have a 25-17-8 record and are tied for fourth place in the Western Conference with the Wenatchee Wild.

They are coming off back-to-back losses to the Thunderbirds and are 2-4-4 in their last 10 games.

Overage forward Dawson Pasternak leads all Royals in scoring this season with 20 goals and 52 points in 44 games. The 20-year-old has not gone back-to-back games without a point this season and has six goals and 12 points in his last 10 games.

Also making waves is rookie centre Cole Reschny who has 16 goals and 43 points in 45 games this season. The 5-foot-9 forward is eligible for the 2025 NHL draft and had a 14-game point streak earlier in the season that saw him record six goals and 21 points during that stretch.

Braden Holt has patrolled the crease for Victoria for most of the season and has a 17-9-6 record with a .903 save percentage and 3.11 goals-against average. He last appeared in the Royals' 5-3 loss to the Thunderbirds on Sunday, allowing four goals on 32 shots.

The Royals have a 3-1-0 advantage over the Rockets in the season series and will play them two more times after Wednesday's game.