Records: Vees 54-4-0-2 / Slammers (MHL) 45-6-0-1
Playoffs: Vees 12-2-0-1 / Slammers (MHL) 12-2-0-1
Vees RBC Cup Schedule
Saturday, May 5th vs. Soo Thunderbirds (2-1 L) 3pm MT/2PM PST
Sunday, May 6th vs. Humboldt Broncos (3-2 OTL) 7:30pm MT/6:30PM PST
Tuesday, May 8th vs. Woodstock Slammers 7:30pm MT/6:30pm PST
Wednesday, May 9th vs. Portage Terriers 7:30pm MT/6:30pm PST
The Set-Up: The Penticton Vees are looking for their first win of the 2012 RBC Cup and tonight is an opportunity they can’t pass up. The Vees enter Day 4 of the tournament with a 0-2 record and a loss tonight all but guarantees them from not advancing to the Semi-Finals on Saturday. A win puts the Vees back in the thick of things when it comes to the race for the top four, as a 2-2 record looks like it will get you one of four spots for the playoff round.
The Vees have never lost three games in a row all season and can ill afford another defeat tonight as their season is on the line. This team never lost back-to-back games neither until their overtime setback to the Humboldt Broncos on Sunday; how do they respond to an unfamiliar situation?
The Woodstock Slammers found the win column for the first time Monday evening, with a 4-1 triumph over the Portage Terriers. The Slammers sit at 1-1 and their goals for and against are dead even at five. Woodstock is on solid ground ahead of their game against the Vees but know things can change in a hurry in tournaments such as this one. The Slammers are playing back-to-back games for the first time this tournament but will have a full twenty-four hours between games; an afternoon start could have been trouble.
The Skinny: Vees
As mentioned above, tonight is very simple for the Vees, win and keep your hopes of playing on the weekend alive; lose and your tournament likely ends in the preliminary round. In order to manufacture a victory, the Vees will need to find their offensive touch once again. Through two games, the Vees have put seventy-six shots on goal but have only three goals to their name. Remember, this is a team that averaged 5.57 goals per game in the regular season and scored another fifty-two goals in the BCHL playoffs.
In order to manufacture some goals the Vees will need to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. Getting into the “greasy” or “dirty” areas is how you’re going to score goals at this point of the season. The teams at this tournament are darn good, four champions in their own right, and to think scoring is going to come easy is foolish. The Vees will have to muscle some pucks to the net and look for the second and even third opportunities. This team can score off the rush, no question but to solely rely on that component of your game can land you in hot water. This team has been guilty of trying to force plays; trying to make a play when there isn’t one to be made. If the pass isn’t there, it isn’t there. This has maybe cost them a chance at a good scoring opportunity; the Vees might benefit from a simpler approach to their offensive game.
The same approach could be used for the teams’ power-play. The Vees are without a power-play goal through two games on nine opportunities. However, they’ve generated plenty of chances on the man-advantage, with Mike Reilly leading the way with numerous attempts on goal. Others can follow Reilly’s lead, in that he doesn’t hesitate to shoot the puck. The skilled defenseman has been betrayed by a couple posts and a few errant shots when quarterbacking the Vees power-play. Others seem to second-guess themselves when with the puck; electing to force an extra pass rather than put it on net. It is a double-edge sword at the same time. If you don’t look for the shot first, you can run into trouble by trying to force a pass in where there isn’t one. Then when that does happen, you start to press and start to fire off shots in low-percentage areas where the shooting lane isn’t there. The Vees need to find that balance that made them such a dangerous team on the power-play throughout their season; quick puck movement to create open lanes, and not hesitating to shoot when they create those openings.
RBC / International Scouting Service Three Players to Watch:
very talented … dangerous offensively … good size … soft hands … speedy … competes at a high level … has natural ability … quick feet … good hands … unselfish … second-round pick of Minnesota in 2011 NHL draft
Has taken on a leadership role … excellent compete level … tremendous work ethic … good stick-handler … protects the puck well … knows how to get into scoring position … nice touch around the net … good skater
smooth skater … offensive defenceman … excellent mobility … plays in all situations … can rush the puck up ice … makes a good breakout pass … excellent point shot … fourth-round pick of Columbus in 2011 NHL draft.
RBC Cup Scoring
St. Denis 0-1-1
RBC Cup Goaltending
Garteig 0-2-0 / 2.43 GAA / .914 SV%
Doyle Cup Scoring
M. Reilly 1-7-8
St. Denis 1-6-7
R. Reilly 1-1-2
Garteig 3-1-0 / 1.76 GAA / .944 SV% / 1SO
Katunar 1-0-0 / 2.00 GAA / .923 SV%
St. Denis 4-9-13
M. Reilly 1-8-9
R. Reilly 3-4-7
Chad Katunar 12-2-0-1 1.74 GAA .938 SV% 2SO
The Skinny: Slammers
The Woodstock Slammers season has mirrored that of the Penticton Vees. They had strong start to the year that led to a lengthy winning streak, twenty-two games in fact, and were the top team in the MHL from start to finish. The Slammers held the top spot in the CJHL Weekly Top 20 national rankings for quite some time before they were overtaken by the Vees on January 9th, ending an eleven week reign. This team was billed as one of the best in the country and by looking at their results; they’ve lived up to the hype.
The Slammers, in their time in the MHL, have had short but successful run and it comes under Head Coach Jason Tartarnic. After their first two seasons, Tartarnic was brought in to guide the Slammers and he has had immediate success. In 2006, his first season behind the bench, the Slammers won their first league championship, the Kent Cup and have since won two more in the last six years. Despite all their league success, four Kent Cup appearances in seven years, this is their first RBC appearance. Twice prior to this season, the Slammers never advanced beyond the East Region qualifier, the Fred Page Cup. In their previous two appearances, the Slammers went 0-3 in the tournament, never advancing beyond the round-robin.
Like the Vees, the Slammers are a well balanced team, as they were the highest scoring team in the MHL, putting up 265 goals in fifty-two games. They were pretty darn good without the puck too, the best defensive team with only 121 goals against.
Like most teams in the MHL, this is a squad riddled with veterans of junior hockey; ten twenty year-old players on their roster. Another four have since turned twenty this season, essentially giving them fourteen twenty year-olds on their roster. Their veterans are their leaders as well, with the top seven in team scoring in the regular season being twenty year-olds and the top six in team playoff scoring were overagers as well.
This team is not only an older squad but they are a big one too, with twelve players at or over six feet tall; seven standing six-two or taller. Most of their size is on the blue-line, as six of their eight defenders are over six feet, and four weigh in over two hundred pounds. The defense corps is led by Tim Campbell, an offensively gifted defenseman who put up seventy-two points in the regular season.
Upfront it’s a smaller group that has some speed and finish. Bradley Greene led the Slammers in scoring in the regular season with seventy-four points. Six players registered fifty or more points in the regular season. Their top two lines are their most dangerous, with two-time WJAC Team Canada East member, Nick Huard forming a dangerous twosome with Robert Visca. Greene is paired with Connor Tresham and Andrew Langan to provide a significant secondary scoring presence. However keep in mind these lines are not set in stone, as the top nine forwards move up and down the line-up through any game.
Road to the RBC CUP: Slammers
Maritime Hockey League
Quarter-Finals: defeated Campbellton Tigers 4-0 (4-1, 3-2, 2-1, 6-2)
Semi-Finals: defeated Summerside Capitals 4-0 (7-2, 5-1, 6-0, 5-2)
MHL Kent Cup: defeated Yarmouth Mariners 4-3 (2-1, 2-4, 1-0, 2-1, 3-4 OT, 2-4, 4-3 3OT)
Fred Page Cup
Preliminary Round: defeated 4-3 Kanata Stallions, defeated 5-3 Princeville Titan, defeated 3-2 Nepean Raiders
Fred Page Cup Championship: defeated Nepean Raiders 3-2
RBC / International Scouting Service Three Players to Watch:
offensive defenseman … very good point man on the power play … great instincts … makes quick passes … good gap control … smooth skater … heavy shot … moves the puck well up ice … makes very good decisions
excellent two-way centre … will chip in offensively … plays physical … loves to finish his checks … true competitor … versatile … does what it takes to win … wins a lot of puck battles … plays bigger than his size
smooth-skating centre … tremendous leadership skills … good offensive instincts … smooth stick-handler … excellent work ethic … fights through checks along the boards … finds quiet areas on the ice well … good shot
Slammers RBC Cup Scoring
Robert Visca 1-1-2
Connor Tresham 0-2-2
Nick Huard 0-2-2
Andrew Langan 1-0-1
Andrew Schriver 1-0-1
Ben MacSwain 1-0-1
Ryan Purvis 1-0-1
Bradley Greene 0-1-1
Tim Campbell 0-1-1
Slammers RBC Cup Goaltending
Matt Murphy 1-1-0 / 2.50 GAA / .924 SV%
Slammers Playoff Scoring
Slammers Playoff Goaltending
Murphy 16-3-0 / 1.95 GAA / 1S0
Renault 0-0 / 1.62 GAA
Slammers Playoff Team Leaders
Goals: (12) Visca
Assists: (17) Campbell
Points (22) Langan + Huard
PPG: (3) Campbell + Huard +Visca
SHG: (1) Langan + Tresham
Slammers Regular Season Team Leaders
Goals: (39) Greene
Assists: (55) Campbell
Points: (74) Greene
PPG: (8) Tresham
SHG: Greene + Huard + Tresham (2)
Broadcast: EZ ROCK AM 800 (Radio)
7:10pm MT/6:10pm PDT (Pre-Game) 7:30pm MT / 6:30pm PDT (Face-Off)