Sep 14st 4-3 (OT) Vees (Royal LePage Place)
Sep 22nd 5-3 Vees (Royal LePage Place)
Oct 23rd 4-3 (OT) Vees (Royal LePage Place)
Oct 26th 4-1 Vees (SOEC)
Dec 28th 5-2 Warriors (SOEC)
Dec 29th 4-2 Vees (Royal LePage Place)
Jan 26th 2-1 Vees (SOEC)
Playoff Series Schedule
Game 1 6-4 Vees (SOEC)
Game 2 5-1 Vees (SOEC)
Game 4 April 2nd (Royal LePage Place)
Game 5** April 4th (SOEC)
Game 6** April 6th (Royal LePage Place)
Game 7** April 7th (SOEC)
All games are at 7pm
** If necessary
Vees penalty-kill in series: 7-7 Playoffs:21-22 (95.45%)
Warriors playoff power-play: 6-37 (16.22%)
Warriors playoff penalty-kill: 27-36 (83.02%)
The series shifts to Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna, as the Warriors get set to host the next two games. The Vees held serve on home-ice winning games one and two and now look to take a stranglehold on the series with a win tonight.
This is the Vees first road game since sweeping the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in round one; the final win of that series coming on March 19th. Going back to last year’s playoffs, the Vees haven’t dropped a game on the road since game four of round one against the Chiefs; a run of seven games.
The Warriors have been very good at home this post-season, winning all three games in round one against Merritt, including a convincing 7-4 victory in the fifth and deciding game on March 21st. As the old saying goes, you’re not in trouble in a series until you lose on home ice.
Lots of positives coming out of the weekend for the Vees, winning both games and doing a lot of good things in the two wins. But the Vees were stung by the injury bug, as both Mike Rebry and Cam Amantea went down with injuries in game one and two respectively.
Rebry was injured in the first period of game one and hasn’t played since with what is classified as a “upper-body” injury. Rebry won’t play tonight either and that goes for Cam Amantea, who was on the wrong end of a hit in the third period Saturday. Amantea was checked-from-behind by Brennan Clark and is out for tonight’s game; Clark was suspended two games by the BCHL.
So no Rebry and Amantea for a pivotal game three match-up, and that means two new faces will slide into the line-up. Now, the Vees have 19 skaters listed to take the pre-game warm-up: Jordan Boultbee, AP Josh Blanchard and defenseman Brayden Park. One of three will be scratched just before or after the warm-up and the coaches will mull over what line-up look is the best option going forward. We’ve seen the Vees go with 11 forwards and have someone double-shift or rotate through the fourth-line, and dress the extra defenseman like they did Saturday. The loss of both Rebry and Amantea leaves a void but this team has been in this situation before and did win with 11 forwards on Saturday.
Being on the road means the Vees don’t have the last change and that will affect the match-up game slightly. Also the loss of Amantea is a blow, as he Travis Blanleil and Cody DePourcq were terrific against the Tribe in the first two games. I will find out during my pre-game chat with Fred Harbinson, what line or combination of players he will use against the likes of Max French, Seb Lloyd and Marcus Basara. We could see firepower versus firepower, as the Vees have used Jedd Soleway’s line against the oppositions top forwards before and has worked quite well. Bottom line, the Vees still have options.
What to Watch For:
- The Opening– How do the Warriors start this one? They will be energized and feed of off their home crowd and likely a rocking rink and The Vees will be expecting a big push off the start from the Warriors who will want to seize back the momentum. It sounds cliche but for the Vees will have to weather the storm and most importantly not getting in an hole early. If we’re talking about a scoreless first period then we’re talking about a good road period for the Vees; anything but a deficit.
- Special Teams- One of the key area in the first two games of the series. The Vees power-play scored three times in game two and four in total through the first two. In each of the two the Warriors have had some discipline issues and will be looking to tidy that up ahead of game three. If the Vees are going to get power-plays and more than just a couple, they need to continue to score; power-play goals are as good as gold this time of year.
- Physical Tone: The Vees physicality so far in this series has been quite noticeable, especially in game two. Their fore-check was so good at laying the body on the defender down-low, which created puck separation and in turn turnovers. Losing Cam Amantea does hurt as he was a cog in the wheel so to speak when it comes to their fore-check. But the Vees have to continue to be physical and employ that in-your-face brand of hockey; make the Warriors feel their presence.
Who to Watch For:
John Siemer- Dynamite in round one, Siemer so far doesn’t have any points in this series but I’ve liked what I’ve seen from him. Siemer has been a hard-worker and has been more physical than I’ve seen in the past which is a nice surprise; he’s an underrated fore-checker. Siemer has had his chances, including a couple of in-close opportunities in game two.
He’s also a reason why the power-play’s numbers jumped up in the last two months of the year and can be a guy to get things going on the power-play tonight. Siemer has the ability to create something out of nothing and can stick-handle with the best of them. He’s a threat every time he touches the puck,and is due for a break-out type of game tonight.
Vees Playoff Scoring
Nanne 3-6-9 Gropp 3-2-5 Rebry 0-3-3
Soleway 4-4-8 Siemer 3-1-4 Blanleil 1-1-2
Mellor 2-5-7 Balson 1-3-4 Sinz 0-2-2
McClure 3-3-6 Flanagan 1-3-4 Mann 0-1-1
Murphy 3-2-5 Nitsche 0-4-4
De Haas 3-2-5 Stecher 0-4-4
Chad Katunar GP 6 6-0 / 1.83 GAA / .929 save-percentage
As I stated up top, your’re never in trouble in a series until you loose at home and the Warriors can take that to heart ahead of game three. They’ve been a very good home team in the playoffs and can draw back on round one’s 3-0 record at Royal LePage Place.
Is tonight a “must win?” Technically no but going down 3-0 won`t get you very far either. It`s a “swing game” as the series can have two completely different looks depending on tonight’s outcome. If the Warriors can manufacture a win, then it’s a 2-1 series with chance to even it a two’s tomorrow night. A loss and it’s that 3-0 hole that is tough to climb out of. I remember this situation with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in the first round, when the Vees were heading to the Shaw Centre up 2-0.The ‘Backs played with desperation in game three but the Vees managed to weather the storm and take that commanding three games to none advantage. Now, the Tribe has more firepower than the ‘Backs did and will be just as hungry; a dangerous combination.
We know one line-up change the Warriors will have and that’s Brennan Clark being out for games three and four due to a suspension. Clark picking up a two-game ban for his hit on Cam Amantea in the third period of Saturday’s 5-1 Vees win. Not sure who the Warriors will put in but my guess would be Devon Hascarl who plays a similar game to that of Clark. Other than that, I expect to see a similar line-up like the one we saw in games one and two.
Warriors Playoff Scoring
French 6-3-9 Anholt 2-3-5 Pope 1-1-2
Basara 3-5-8 Hochhausen 0-5-5 Bilous 0-2-2
Gayle 4-3-7 Plant 0-5-5 Lashuk 0-2-2
Monk 2-5-7 Simmonds 3-0-3 Zarazun 0-1-1
Firkus 4-2-6 Clark 2-1-3
Lloyd 0-6-6 Berry 0-3-3
Tyler Briggs: 7 GP 4-3-0 3.22 GAA .909 SV%