LISTEN: EZ ROCK AM 800
Salmon Arm Silverbacks: GP 29 12-13-1-3 Penticton Vees: GP 30 20-7-0-3
Silverbacks Road: GP 12 6-5-1-0 Vees Home: GP 15 11-3-0-1
September 21st: 5-0 Vees
October 19th: 3-2 Vees
November 16th: 3-2 Vees
November 28th: 3-0 Vees
December 1st: 3-2 OT Silverbacks
December 12th: @ SOEC
February 15th: @ SOEC
Power-Play: Vees 23-133 (17.29%) Silverbacks 25-113 (22.12%)
Penalty-Kill: Vees 17 PPGA (82.83%) Silverbacks 25 PPGA (79.67%)
Power-Play: Vees 7-22 (31.82%) Silverbacks 1-20 (5%)
Penalty-Kill: Vees 19-20 (95%) Silverbacks 15-22 (68.18%)
Sam Mellor 1-7-8 Troy Stecher 2-5-7
Brad McClure 3-2-5 Wade Murphy 3-1-4
Ryan Gropp 2-0-2 Cam Amantea 1-1-2
Brock Balson 0-2-2 James De Haas 0-1-1
Evan Anderson 2-1-3 Shane Hanna 0-2-2
Steven Iacobellis 0-2-2 Alex Jewell 0-2-2
Jeff Kennedy 1-0-1 Bryden Marsh 1-0-1
Brandon Mistal 1-0-1 Harlan Orr 1-0-1
Brayden Sherbinin 10-1 Blake Box 0-1-1
Last Meeting: Evan Anderson stung his old team in overtime, as the Silverbacks snapped an 11 game win-less skid against the Vees with a 3-2 win on December 1st. The last Silverbacks win was in the Spring of 2011 when they ousted the Vees from the playoffs in five games; it had been awhile.
The Vees did lead through forty-minutes, holding leads of 2-0 and 2-1 but couldn’t hang on. Brayden Sherbinin tied the game in the third period with a power-play goal, which setup Anderson’s heroics in the three-on-three period.
Chad Katunar was the tough-luck loser, making 38 saves, a handful of the spectacular variety. Dustin Nikkel, not Adam Clark, was the winner in-goal for Salmon Arm, making 34 saves in just his second career start.
Vees Beat: The Vees are looking to continue their winning ways at home, as they’re coming off a weekend sweep over Merritt (7-1) and Langley (5-1). After an up-and-down November, the Vees have put together a run of sorts, as they have won four of their last five games and seven of their last 10.
It was a big weekend for the newest Vee, as Jedd Soleway picked up four points in the two wins. On Friday, Soleway had an assist in the 7-1 romp over the Centennials, and followed that up with a goal and three points and named first start in Saturday’s 5-1 victory over the Rivermen. However, Soleway won’t be in the line-up tonight, as he is on a school visit in the United States; the recruit visit was arranged before his trade to Penticton last week.
No doubt the Vees will feel the loss of Soleway, as he, Louie Nanne and Wade Murphy were something esle on a new look line over the weekend. Nanne had four goals in two games and the three combined for six goals and 12 points in two games. Sam Mellor will jump up to centre Murphy and Nanne and Brock Balson moves between Ryan Gropp and Brad McClure, who returns to action after missing both games last weekend with an illness. Before entering sick bay, McClure was on a tear, scoring in three straight games and had 10 points in his previous eight games.
The Vees will have an AP in the line-up and it’s a good one. 16 year-old Josh Blanchard will make his BCHL debut tonight and will be wearing number nine. Blanchard is playing for the Okanagan Rockets of the BC Major Midget League (BCMML), and leads the BCMML in goals (22) and sits second in points (41).
The Opposition: The Silverbacks are a well-rested group, as they haven’t played since Friday, when they downed the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 3-2 on home ice. Like the Vees, tonight starts a stretch of three games in four days for the Silverbacks, and play five games over the next 11 days leading into the holiday break.
Alex Gillies is one of the ‘Backs will have to look out for tonight. The 17 year-old has put together a three game point streak, with two goals and five points over that span. Steven Iacobellis has been a nice addition for Salmon Arm, collecting points in all but two games since his trade last month. In nine games with the Apes, Iacobellis has three goals and 11 points.
Key Match Up: Can the Vees dynamite checking-line of Cam Amantea, Cody DePourcq and Travis Blanleil shutdown the Silverbacks big guns? The three have been so good at negating the opposition’s top-lines in recent weeks and it will need to continue tonight. Alex Gillies, Steven Iacobellis and Brandon Mistal are a deadly trio and the Vees checkers will have their hands full.
In the Crease: Another story-line to closely follow is Adam Clark in-goal for Salmon Arm. the Sherwood Park, Alberta native is yet to beat the Vees and was pulled in his last start at the SOEC on November 28th.
Chad Katunar will be back between the pipes and is playing some of his best hockey in the last three weeks. Katunar was simply brilliant on Friday and will be well-rested for tonight’s battle.