Vees vs. Silverbacks & Familiar Faces

VEES: GP 21 14-5-0-2 SILVERBACKS: GP 20 6-10-1-3

VEES HOME: 6-2-0-1 SILVERBACKS AWAY: 5-3-1-0

LAST GAME

VEES: 3-2 W @ CENTS SILVERBACKS:2-2 T @ WARRIORS

NEXT GAME

VEES: NOV 17th @ SMOKE EATERS SILVERBACKS: NOV 17TH vs. CENTS

SEASON SERIES

Sep 21st: 5-0 Vees / Oct 19th: 3-2 Vees / Nov 28th @ SOEC / Dec 1st @ Shaw Centre / Dec 12th @ SOEC / Feb 15th @ SOEC

The Setup: The Vees and Silverbacks meet for the third time this season, the first at the SOEC. The Vees are looking to get on a roll after snapping their four game losing streak in Merritt on Wednesday. The Silverbacks haven’t played since last Saturday, a 2-2 tie in West Kelowna.

The biggest story line heading into tonight is the familiarity between these two teams, as six seven players will be playing their former team; five for the first time. Newest Vees Sean Flanagan and Brock Balson play their former mates for the first time since coming over to Penticton in the last two weeks; same story of Evan Anderson, Mitch Ferguson and Alex Jewell. Jewell is also making his Silverbacks debut, and it so happens to be against his former team, and at the SOEC, Drama. No doubt it will be an electric atmosphere on the ice, as there will be some emotions on both sides, as there will be a handful of motivated players.

The Vees Beat: The Vees are once again feeling good and feeling good about their game after a crucial 3-2 win in Merritt.The Vees nearly have a full line-up, nearly, as Mike Rebry is week-to-week with a lower-body injury. The Vees looked like a much more confident team with the likes of Troy Stecher, James de Haas and Wade Murphy back in the fold. However, those three weren’t the biggest factors in the win, as the Vees depth played a big part in the victory. Goals from Louie Nanne, Brad McClure and Sam Mellor were huge; Mellor busting a 12 game goal-less drought. Also the Vees received strong performances from Cody DePourcq and Dexter Dancs upfront and the back-end came up with a strong outing as well. Depth is the key for this team moving forward and for any team for that matter.

Tonight as mentioned will be a game that won’t lack any energy or emotion as both sides with have highly motivated personnel. As Fred Harbinson said in today’s Penticton Herald, “There are a lot of guys on both teams who want to prove their current staffs did the right thing in those deals.”  Brock Balson and Sean Flanagan will be facing their old team and will want to get the better of their former teammates as there is bragging rights up for grabs I’m sure.

The Vees as a whole can’t let distractions creep in,as they will need to put aside their friendships and channel their emotions properly to have any success. A highly motivated player can be a very effective player, IF they channel their emotions properly. The Vees can’t fall victim of being over-zealous and get side-tracked by the events leading up to tonight’s tilt.

May I remind you the Vees have also lost back-to-back-to-back games at home, which doesn’t sit well with a team that takes a lot of pride in their home record. The Vees will want to get on a streak of their own and prove once again the SOEC is one of the hardest rinks to pick up points in. This building was a nightmare for most last season and in the early parts of this season; the Vees want to make sure the Silverbacks don’t get too comfortable.

Some Thoughts ahead of the Game:

  • The power-play scored a HUGE goal on Wednesday; the game-winner late in the game. Is that the tipping point?
  • Speaking of the power-play, it’s had its been red-hot against the Silverbacks this season, 4/10 in two games.
  • Sam Mellor scored Wedesday, his first in 12 games. Better news? Sammie has had two great games against the ‘Backs; one goal and three points in two games.
  • Starts have been an issue for the Vees during their four-game slide; scoring first most notably. The Vees have outscored the ‘Backs 3-0 in the 1st period in two games. Good news, as the ‘Backs are the lowest scoring team in the BCHL; 16 less goals than the second-lowest scoring team.
  • The new second-line of Brad McClure-Louie Nanne-Ryan Gropp combined for two goals and six points in the second period Wednesday. Does the GMN line heat-up again tonight?

The Other Guys: The Silverbacks are a team that I would say isn’t rebuilding but retooling. Many would see there moves recently as a team looking to “blow it up” and build for the future. However, The Silverbacks would tell you they still have a shot at the top four and that isn’t lip service either.

After the top three, the Interior Division is pretty much wide open at this point. Salmon Arm is only four points back of Vernon for the final playoff spot. The Vipers,  Smokies and Silverbacks are sit at 20, 19 and 16 points respectively, with Vernon and Salmon having three games in hand on Trail. It’s November, the majority of teams have 36 more games on their schedule and this race is nowhere near close to be decided.

I look at the ‘backs roster and I see a team that can certainly make the push for fourth place or better. They have strong goaltending in Adam Clark, more than a capable defensive score and a youthful forward group with some offensive bite. Remember,the ‘Backs added proven point-getter Steven Iacobellis, who had a 40 season in Cowichan Valley last season. Iacobellis has only played four games this season and once he gets back into game shape, the Silverbacks will have a player that can help them score goals; something desperately needed in the Shuswap.

As talked about above, Alex Jewell, Evan Anderson and Mitch Ferguson get their first crack at their former team and will be chomping at the bit to do so. The ‘Backs want to use this game as a measuring stick but also want to prove to the Vees and the rest of the BCHL that they can be a threat moving into the new year.

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About CBeauchemin

Director of Broadcasting & Communication for the Penticton Vees
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