Home Record: 18-6-0-1
Vees vs. Island Division: 6-1-0-2 (Home: 3-0-0-1)
Last Meeting: Oct 13th (3-0 Vees)
Last 10: 8-2-0-0
Road Record: 2-15-1-5
Last 10: 2-6-0-2
Last Game: 3-2 OT loss @ Vernon
Vees penalty-kill vs. Cowichan Valley: 2-2
Vees Scoring vs. Cowichan Valley
Brad McClure 3-0-3 Ryan Gropp 0-2-2
Sam Mellor 0-1-1 Wade Murphy 0-1-1
Cam Amantea 0-1-1
No rest for the wicked, as the Vees are right back at it after last night’s 3-2 loss in Merritt. So far, when playing on weekends with three games, the Vees are 5-2-0-1 and this is the final weekend where they have a full schedule.
Last night the Vees recovered from a so-so first period and nearly pulled off the comeback against the Centennials. Take out the two-goal first period, and the Vees outscored the Cents’ 2-1 and out-shot them 29-16 over the final two periods. But that’s why games are 60 minutes long and consist of three periods; lesson learned.
The Vees will have to put last night’s setback behind them and quickly, as points are needed this afternoon. The Vees just sit four points ahead of the Merritt Centennials for top spot in the Interior Division and the Centennials are idle this afternoon. With all do respect to the Capitals, the Vees know they have to pick up two points.
The Capitals sit at the bottom of the BCHL standings and are in a “rebuilding” mode. Since these two teams met in October, the Capitals have moved seven players and both Head Coach Jim Ingram and Assistant Doug Johnston are no longer with the organization.
The Caps are looking towards the future and their roster reflects that, with just one 20 year-old in Mikal Jung. As of today, the Capitals can return all but three players for next season. This young team has had a tough Interior road-swing, with back-to-back overtime losses in Trail and Saturday in Vernon. However, that might tell you something about this team. They may be young and inexperienced but they are not going to be a push over.
As mentioned, the Vees will be playing an extra game today, as the Cents’ don’t play until Wednesday in Trail. After today’s game the Cents’ will have two games in hand, and at worse will only be six points back of the Vees. Six is better than four and the Vees know two points are a must.
Saturday they were plagued by another slow start against Merritt and that can’t happen again this afternoon. Today has all the makings of a “trap game” and the Vees will have to be weary of that. You’re playing the last place team in the BCHL, a non-conference opponent, on a Sunday afternoon and it’s the final game of a three game weekend. However, games are not played on paper for a reason and the Vees can ill afford to overlook their opponent today.
Cowichan Valley can be a tough match-up, as it’s a team you don’t see regularly, they’ve gone under a significant roster makeover and they will be a loose bunch. This is a young team that has players playing for spots for next year and want to impress their coaches The Vees will have the pressure on their shoulders, as not many expect anything out of the Capitals. Playing without that burden of expectations can energize a team, a “David vs. Goliath” situation. The Vees will need to have the right mental mindset when approaching this afternoon. View Cowichan Valley nothing less than you would Merritt, West Kelowna or Salmon Arm.
The Vees get a boost to their line-up as Mike Rebry returns from his five-game suspension. Rebry no doubt will be a big help down the middle and in the face-off circle, but also will give the special teams a shot in the arm. Rebry will slide in between John Siemer and Brad McClure. With Rebry back, there is some roster shuffling, as Sam Mellor moves back to the wing, as he will play with Ryan Gropp and Brock Balson.
(Scratched: McCallum & Boultbee)
Rebry back could help get Brad McClure going, who’s been snake-bitten of late; no goals in four games. McClure is the type of player who scores in bunches and it’s either bar-down or high and wide. He has a wicked release that he’s still trying to fine-tune but having Rebry in the middle might give him a spark. Remember, McClure picked up a hat-trick back on October 13th in Duncan. Maybe today is the day he gets out of his funk.
Nic Renyard gets the start in-goal, as Chad Katunar gets a rest after seven straight starts. Renyard pinched the shutout against the Capitals, his first in his BCHL career, and it was in the town he played his minor hockey in. Renyard showed he can be a number one in this league with his strong play in January. It’s a good move to give Katunar a rest, let Renyard get some work in and he will be motivated as well playing a team he has a connection with.
This season hasn’t gone the way the Capitals and their fans expected it to. They had quite the turnaround in Cowichan Valley last season, making the playoffs and taking the Surrey Eagles to seven games, before bowing out. Fans and the community were excited about this year’s follow up and it just never materialized.
It’s hard to find a reason why this team found itself at the bottom of the BCHL standings. They had a talented roster, with plenty of veteran junior hockey players who’ve played at a high level either in the BCHL or WHL. But for whatever reason the Caps couldn’t put it together and fell into the Island Division basement.
Jim Ingram stepped down as Head Coach & GM a few weeks ago. He was replaced by the tandem of Darren Rodney and Aaron Plumb on an interim basis. Plumb was an Assistant Coach under Ingram.
This roster reflects an organization in a transition period, as they are riddled with young talent and prospects. They only have one over-ager in Mikal Jung and 16 players are either 18 years-old or younger. The majority of this team is made up of 17 and 18 year-olds.
Gone from the October 13th game:
Corey Scammon Teal Burns
Matthew Grant Ryan Hanes
Travis Stephens Troy Paterson
The Capitals top scorer is Steen Copper who has 10 goals and 27 points. If you would put him on the Vees roster he would be ninth in scoring. Vees 16 year-old Ryan Gropp would be first on the Caps in scoring if he was wearing the blue, red & white. There has been some positives on this road trip for Cowichan Valley, as they’ve picked up points in back-to-back games, and had leads in the third period in both games. Though they have been heavily out-shot in the two contests, a combined 97 shots against.
The Vees will be playing against a couple of familiar faces, as Grant Nicholson and Nathan Deyell play their former team. Nicholson moved to Cowichan Valley in the off-season and Deyell was traded to Cowichan Valley in January, that eventually saw Thomas Nitsche become a Vee.
It should be interesting on what we get from both teams when the face-off at 5pm.