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Vees: GP 24 16-6-0-2 Vipers: GP 23 8-9-0-6
Vees Home: 8-2-0-1 Vipers Away: 3-6-0-3
Vees: 7-6 win November 23rd vs. Trail Vipers: 7-5 win Nov 18th vs. Express
September 8th: 3-2 (2OT) Vees (Showcase)
October 5th: 4-2 Vees (SOEC)
November 24th Vernon
December 14th Vernon
January 25th SOEC
March 8th Vernon
Last Meeting: The Vees took the first encounter at the SOEC 4-2 back on October 5th. Mike Rebry and Wade Murphy each had big nights, scoring two goals apiece; Rebry a short-handed marker that stood up as the game-winner. Sam Mellor also had a strong showing with three assists. The tide turned in the third period when Rebry scored short-handed. At that point the game was only 2-1 for the Vees and the Vipers were on the power-play. A potential two-goal swing, what could of been a 2-2 tie to a 3-1 Vees lead.
Adam Tambellini was dangerous early on, opening the scoring in the first period on a partial breakaway and set up the other Vipers goals for a two point night. It unraveled in third for the Vipers as their special teams let them down. Not only did the Vees score a “shortie” but Wade Murphy sealed the game with a power-play goal with just 1:40 left.
Then and Now: Since the two teams last met, neither side has gone on a tear. The Vees have a 8-5-0-2 record. The Vipers have fashioned together a 6-5-0-4 record; four of the six wins coming in overtime. The Vees dropped four in a row from Oct 27th-Nov 10th, and the Vipers lost six a row from Oct 12th-26th. Keep in mind both teams have been hampered by injuries or international commitments in the last 15 games.
Vees Beat: The Vees are coming off a 7-6 win over the Trail Smoke Eaters on Wednesday. It was an unusual contest to say the least. The Vees arguably played their best 20 minutes of the season in a second period which saw them score five goals, two each from Wade Murphy and Louie Nanne. They had a commanding 7-2 lead after the second, and out-shot the Smokies 19-7 in the middle stanza. However, things went sideways after that; well sorta.
The third period was peculiar, as the Smokies hung a four-spot on the Vees and cut the deficit to just one with two and change left in the third. Glancing at the stat line, one would conclude the Vees let their foot off the gas, as they were outscored 4-0 and out-shot 15-5. Not so fast. The coaches weren’t unhappy with the Vees play, as they did only surrender 9 scoring chances, it just so happens the Smokies made good on four of them. Even I myself was guilty of drawing the wrong conclusion. If you look back at the four goals against, they came off simple mistakes or miscues by the Vees themselves; a dropped stick here, a stick hazard there and, boom, it’s 7-6. Sometimes hockey is an odd game.
Where the Vees do have to be better is in their consistency. The Vees looked like a team with fire in their belly for the first forty-minutes of the Trail contest, and will need that fire to burn from start to finish tonight. Games like tonight, against heated rivals, tend to bring the best out of players and the Vees will need to be at their best against Vernon.
Some roster news as the Vees have filled the vacant roster spot upfront. Today the team officially announced the signing of 18 year-old Jordan Boultbee. Read more about the signing here. Boultbee will bring some grit and sandpaper to the Vees forward core. Boultbee is described as a hard-worker who doesn’t shy away from the corners, and I saw him throw his weight around a bit when he suited up against Salmon Arm last Friday. Boultbee will play alongside Jordan McCallum and Dexter Dancs; a line that will add a welcome physical presence upfront.
The bad news is defenseman Rob Mann will miss both games this weekend with a lower-body ailment. Mann did play through the injury on Wednesday but just wasn’t healthy enough to go this weekend. Mann won’t like missing any games, especially this weekend but this gives him a chance to rest and heal up; no sense risk aggravating an injury in November.
Chad Katunar does get the start in-goal and why not? He’s the Vees number one,. Yes, he’s had his ups and downs recently, but a win tonight would be the perfect tonic. Katunar hasn’t been sub-par but just not at the level I’ve seen him play at and be dominant. It’s not just the goaltender, it’s a team issue when it comes to playing on the other side of the puck. The Vees have been hampered by mental lapses in their own end that have resulted in goals against; everyone needs to be a tad bit sharper.
OP Office Products Three Keys to the Game
- No Go “Tambo”: The Vees will need to find a way to keep Vipers Adam Tambellini off the score-sheet Tambellini has two goals and three points against the Vees this season and is coming off a six point game against Coquitlam. It could be said Tambellini is the hottest player in the BCHL since the end of the Team Canada West Selection Camp. Tambellini was a surprising omission from that squad and it seems like he has a point to prove ever since. The North Dakota recruit has 15 goals and 30 points, which is third best in the BCHL.
- Wire-to-Wire: The Vees will need to be at their best and from minute one to minute 60. The Vipers are hungry-desperate to get on a roll and gain some ground in the Interior Division. The Vees can ill-afford to have a passive start, as they will find themselves in trouble. Wednesday’s second period will need to be copied and pasted for the entire game tonight. Speed and aggressiveness is what makes the Vees dangerous; go after Vernon, don’t let them come at you.
- Road Weary: The Vipers road struggles have been well documented but do bear worth repeating. Vernon is 3-6-0-3 on the road this season; 2-6-0-2 in their last 10 road games. Since the start of last season, the Vipers are 11-27-0-4 away from the Wesbild Centre. They’ve had their struggles at the SOEC within the last two seasons. The Vipers last win in Penticton was back on October 22nd, 2010, a 5-0 victory. Since then, the Vipers are 0-5-1-0 and have been out-scored 26-12 at the SOEC. The Vees have a very tidy home record (8-2-0-1) and will need to remind the Vipers of that home cooking.
The Other Guys:
(For a detailed Vipers perspective, visit the Vipers Blog Here)
The Vipers salvaged a three-game Coastal Conference road trip on Sunday with a 7-5 win. The trip through the first 48 hours was less than forgettable. The Vipers dropped the first two games, in Powell River and Alberni Valley, shutout in both, and experienced their fair share of travel hiccups. However a win can erase any bad memories and the Vipers got a big one Sunday Afternoon.
Adam Tambellini, Aaron Hadley and Pearce Eviston had massive games in the victory over the Express. The three combined for all seven of the Vipers goals; Tambellini and Eviston notching hat-tricks.
The Vipers have been dealt some bad news on the injury front. Craig Martin is out with a broken ankle and TJ Dumonceaux is out with a knee ailment. There is good news, as Brendan Persley is penciled to be in the line-up after missing a length of time with a broken leg; Persley skated yesterday for the first time.
Vernon yesterday did go out and get Liam Board from the Prince George Spruce Kings for Kevin Guiltinan. The move maybe was out of necessity more than anything, as the Vipers needed to fill some holes upfront with the latest injury setbacks. Board brings plenty of size to the Vipers forward corps and has a touch around the net; 14 points in 23 games with the Sprucies.