Vees & Cents: Rd 5

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Vees Logo-2 Vees Record: 31-11-0-3 65 points (1st Interior)

Home Record: 16-5-0-1

Vees vs. Interior Division: 19-6-0-1 (Home: 9-4-0) 

Last Meeting: January 4th @ Merritt (4-2 Cents)

Last 10 Games: 8-2-0

cents Centennials Record: 25-13-2-3 55 points (2nd Interior)

Road Record: 11-7-1-2

Centennials vs. Interior: 19-6-1-2

Last Game: 2-2 tie vs. Vernon February 5th

Last 10 Games: 5-2-1-2

FT_TheNumb3rs-shdwV2 Vees power-play vs. Cents: 3-16 (Home: 2-9) (1 SHGA)

Vees penalty-kill vs. Cents: 13-14  (Home: 10-11)

Vees Scoring vs. Cents

Troy Stecher

0

6

6

Louie Nanne

4

1

5

Cody DePourcq

2

2

4

Brad McClure

2

2

4

Sam Mellor

1

3

4

Brock Balson

2

0

2

Cam Amantea

0

2

2

James de Haas

0

2

2

Sean Flanagan

0

1

1

Wade Murphy

0

1

1

Mike Rebry

0

1

1

Jedd Soleway

0

1

1

FT_OnDeck-shdwV2 Two Interior foes renew a heated rivalry tonight at the SOEC, as the Penticton Vees  host the Merritt Centennials at 7pm. The two teams meet for the first time since January 4th which was in Merritt; the Cents’ skating away with a 4-2 victory. The two have split the first four games in the season series, as each team has won once at home and once on the road.

The Vees are coming off a 11-0 whitewash of the Coquitlam Express on Saturday, a game in which Wade Murphy scored a career-high seven points. 13 of the 18 Vees dressed that game picked up at least a single point and eight recorded multiple-point games. Tonight is the Vees first game since the thrashing and their fourth of a six game home stand.

The Vees are red-hot, winners of seven straight games which is a BCHL best and looking to push their home winning streak to four. The last time the Centennials were at the SOEC was back on December 7th; the Vees cruising to a 7-1 victory.

The Cents’ are coming off a 2-2 tie with the Vernon Vipers at home on Tuesday. The Cents’ had a 2-0 lead early in the second period, only to see the Vipers score two of their own in the same period, as the two teams split the two points. The tie comes after a 5-3 loss at home on Saturday to the Nanaimo Clippers. That was another game where the Cents built up a 2-0 lead, this time it was in the first period. Nanaimo scored three straight into the second period to go ahead. The Cents did tie it early in the third but Nanaimo scored two more to take it 5-3.

FT_VeesBeat-shdwV2

When the teams last met the Vees weren’t playing with a full deck of cards, as they had six regulars out of the line-up due to injury and suspension. That’s been a bit of a theme for the Vees since late October, as the Vees haven’t played with a full line-up since October 27th. Tonight the Vees are nearing a “healthy” roster, as both Rob Mann and Ryan Gropp will suit up. Mann hasn`t played in what seems like forever, well November 21st to be exact; a run of 21 games. Gropp has been sidelined since going down with an upper-body injury in the third period of the Vees 3-1 over Vernon back on January 25th.

The Vees still have a couple absentees, as Mike Rebry (suspension) and Brayden Park (injury) will once again be on the sidelines. Rebry is serving his second game of a five-game ban for his involvement in a dust-up with the West Kelowna Warriors back on January 26th. Park sustained a lower-body injury during that game and is listed as day-to-day.

Despite the revolving door that is their line-up, the Vees have rattled off seven straight wins, a BCHL best and look to push that streak to eight tonight. The Vees are coming off a 11-0 romp over the Coquitlam Express, a game highlighted by Wade Murphy`s seven point performance; a personal best.  13 Vees recorded at least a single point in the win and eight players had multiple points. The Vees have won their last three home games, outscoring their opponent by a 19-4 margin.

Cody DePourcq enters tonight`s contest with a five game goal streak dating back to January 20th. The Penticton product has six goals during his streak and 11 on the season. Back to Wade Murphy, who seems to be finding his scoring touch once again. Murphy has four goals and 11 points in his last five games, that after going pointless in five straight.

Chad Katunar gets the nod in goal and will make his fourth straight start. Against the Interior Division, Katunar is 18-5-0-1 with a 2.16 goals-against average and .929 save-percentage and has two shutouts. More specifically Katunar has had good numbers against the Cents, posting a 2-1 record with a 2.16 goals-against average and .932 save-percentage.

Also, tonight is a big night for the Vees and the SOEC, with the Hogs vs. Hosers Charity Fundraising night presented by Valley First. The details on the event are on the teams website and Facebook page. The on-ice product will have to deal with an extended first intermission of 30 minutes, compared to the regular 17. I will closely be following how the Vees and both teams for that matter start the second period. That can be a long layoff and players will have to fight cramping and heavy legs. If the Vees have a strong push at the end of the first, they will be challenged to carry that into the second. That’s the key is how the Vees come out in the second after a long intermission after the opening frame.

Finally, can the Vees power-play carry the momentum from Saturday into tonight? The Vees and Cents haven’t been overly undisciplined in their season series, as the Vees have had only 16 power-plays in four games; just one in the last encounter. That makes any power-play attempt tonight that much more crucial. The Cents do like to play an in-your-face brand of hockey that can lead to penalties. So far the Cents have walked the fine line, but there in the past there have been games where the Vees force the Cents into penalty trouble at a crucial junction. The man-advantage needs to cash in once again tonight.

FT_TheOtherGuys-shdwV2The Cents had some momentum heading into a mini two-game home stand going back to last Saturday and this past Tuesday. The previous weekend the Cents swept their Island Division road trip, beating Victoria (5-4 OT), Cowichan Valley (5-3) and Nanaimo (5-2). That is no small feat as teams do struggle on that road trip, the Vees went 1-1-0-1 back in October against the three same teams. Silvan Harper was named the Player of the Week after that weekend, as he tallied four goals and six points in the three games.

However, the Cents were off for six days, as they didn’t play until the following Saturday and maybe the layoff was their downfall. Hockey is a game of momentum and maybe the Cents would have rather kept playing into the Friday and not just have the one game that weekend. Teams when playing well like to keep playing as they get into a rhythm, and not being on the ice didn’t help the cause.

Also, playing at home creates a lot more distractions as well, as you have family and friends hanging around, ticket requests and community work. When you are on the road you don’t have any distractions and can just focus on the upcoming game. My point is the Cents won’t mind getting out of Merritt tonight and getting back on the road where they hope to find their touch they had two weeks ago.

When I touched on the power-play earlier the Vees will also have to be disciplined tonight and not have a parade to the box. The Cents have the league’s fifth best power-play operating at just over 21 percent. The Vees have done a good job of keeping Merritt’s man-advantage off the scoreboard through four games, only allowing one power-play goal.

Seems like the Cents will have a different look upfront when they hit the ice tonight as well. The top six looks to be shuffled and well the entire 12-man unit has a different look. Regan Soquila isn’t paired with Sean Maktaak and Derek Huisman tonight. Scotty Patterson jumps up to play with the two, and Soquila is playing on the “second line” with Payton Schaefer and Brent Fletcher. This isn’t probably a big move by Luke Pierce, as his team seems to be built to have interchangeable parts. The Cents do have some dynamic forwards like Soquila and Huisman but have a lot of grit and speed as well up and down the line-up. The Cents cant and don’t rely on one line on any given night and the shuffling is proof of that.

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About CBeauchemin

Director of Broadcasting & Communication for the Penticton Vees
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