VEES: GP 32 21-8-0-3 (1st in Interior Division)
CLIPPERS: GP 29 15-12-0-2 (3rd in Island Division)
VEES HOME: 11-4-0-1 CLIPPERS AWAY: 7-5-0-1
Oct 14th: 4-2 Nanaimo (Frank Crane Arena)
Vees Scoring vs Nanaimo Nanaimo Scoring vs. Vees
Michael Rebry (1-0-1) Kevin Miller (1-1-2)
Ryan Gropp (0-1-1) Trevor Fitzgerald (1-0-1)
Brad McClure (0-1-1) Kyle Kramer (0-1-1)
Josh Bryan (0-1-)
Colton Dahlen (0-1-1)
Reid Sturos (0-1-1)
Vees power-play vs. Nanaimo 0-3
Vees penalty-kill vs. Nanaimo 4-6
Last Meeting: The Nanaimo Clippers took the first of two meetings over two months ago on Vancouver Island. The Clippers got goals from four different players, two on the power-play, in a 4-2 win on a Sunday afternoon.
The Vees were playing their third game in two and a half days and it showed in the contest as they looked to wear down as the game wore on. It was the second and third period, when fatigue usually sets in, and that’s where they Vees had the most trouble, as they were outscored 3-1 in the final forty-minutes. Nanaimo scored two power-play goals to go up 2-1 and 3-2 and then finished things off with an empty-net goal late in the game.
Last Night: The Vees scored a big 3-1 road win in Vernon last night, getting goals from Travis Blanleil (4), Sean Flanagan (4) and Wade Murphy (15). Chad Katunar made 30 saves for his 17th win and was sharp through all three periods, especially in the final 20 minutes.
Nanaimo had a frustrating experience in Chilliwack one night ago, peppering Mitch Gillam with 40 shots but no goals to show for it, as the Chiefs goose-egged the Clippers 3-0. By all accounts the Clippers were the better team through 40 minutes, out-shooting the Chiefs 31-17 but were trailing 1-0.The Clippers only have 19 regulars on their roster and had one AP on D last night. Trying to play catch up hockey can take a toll, and it likely did in Chilliwack.
Roster Overhaul: Both teams have had their rosters change significantly since they played in mid October. Gone from the Vees are four players that were in the line-up on that Sunday afternoon; Nanaimo has also moved four.
The Vees have added as you know Sean Flanagan, Brock Balson and Jedd Soleway. Departed are Evan Anderson, Alex Jewell, Dexter Dancs, Mitch Ferguson and Noah Henry.
The Clippers have shipped out David Iacono, Greg Trichilo, Luke Gordon and Jesse Neher. New to the black & orange is Matt Grant who came over from Cowichan Valley, which saw Gordon and Neher go the other way.
Hard Road Ahead: This is the middle game of a three-in-three for the Shipmen. After tonight, it’s an early wake up call tomorrow for the Clippers as they have an afternoon game tomorrow in Trail.
Tonight will be interesting, as mentioned the Clippers don’t have a full line-up, filled by three AP’s and I will be watching closely how much of the bench is used. The Clippers need to get out in front first, and have a lead to work with so they don’t have to shorten the bench early and tax certain players with extra minutes, and once again play from behind.
Empty the Tank: It’s quite simply for the Vees, as they player their last game before the Christmas break, and won’t be back in action until December 28th. Tonight is a night that they need to push hard off the start, go after their opponent and lean on a team that might be licking their wounds after Friday’s setback.
Energy and emotion was an issue at the start of the Vees last home game on Wednesday and that can’t happen again tonight. There are a lot of distractions this time of year, as players are thinking of home and holiday plans, but tonight it’s focusing on 60 minutes, three periods and then you can go have your fun.