The Penticton Vees (6-3-0-0) host the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (1-7-2-0) at the SOEC Tonight; puck drop is slated for 6pm. The Vees are coming off a 5-2 loss Friday in Salmon Arm and the Bulldogs split two points with the Trail Smoke Eaters last night in Trail, as that game ended 3-3.
This is the second of three meetings between these two non-conference opponents. Teams usually only play two games against non-conference opponents, but these two teams met at the BCHL Bauer Showcase in early September, which makes this season series a best-of-three. The Vees struck first, picking up a 3-2 back on September 7th.
Two line-up changes to make not of for the Vees, as Hunter Miska (3-1 / 1.50 GAA / .939% / 1SO) gets the start and his second against Alberni Valley. Also the Vees will dress another AP, as Liam Finlay makes his Vees debut and will wear number 14. Finlay plays with the Okanagan Rockets of the BC Major Midget League, and currently is tied for first in league scoring. Just yesterday morning the Vees announced Finlay has committed to play for the team next season.
Cam Amantea is once again sidelined with an upper-body injury and Blake Butzow is still recouping from Meningitis.
The Vees are a perfect 3-0-0 on “home” ice this season, two wins at the SOEC and one at the Bauer Showcase when they were designated the home team; oddly enough that coming against the Bulldogs.
OP Office Products 3 Keys:
- Keep it Tidy Inside the Blue-Line: The Vees miscues and turnovers inside their blue-line last night has been well documented. They’ll need to manage the puck better, make smarter decisions with the puck tonight. One too many ill-advised breakout passes or clearing attempts last night. Looking at the bigger picture this team has been very good inside their own end and in large part because of their puck management; no freebies tonight.
- Execution: 15. The number of missed chances from grade ‘A’ scoring areas in last nights game. The Vees will have to find a way to bear down on the chances they create with their speed / cycle game. This mostly starts between the ears; a mental hurdle more than anything. Poise and finish go hand-in-hand, if you’re calm with the puck in scoring areas, you’re going to have a lot of success. At times last night the Vees were herky-jerky when they got into a prime scoring area. This team is 5-0-0 when leading after the first; the Bulldogs 0-5-0 when trailing after one. Get on the opposition early and cash-in on the chances you create.
- Grind Time: Like they did in their last home game, the Vees need to keep on their opponent from minute one, to minute sixty; no lapses. The Vees wore out the Caps last Saturday and took advantage of a tired team in the second period, scoring three times and putting the game out of reach by the intermission. This is a tough back-to-back for teams. Playing a late game Friday in Trail, drive the four hours to a nearby hotel, get in late, then prepare for an early evening start in a tough building. Remember, the ‘Dogs played sixty-minutes plus two five-minute overtime periods last night; they might have some heavy legs to start.
The Bulldogs have retooled their roster since they last played the Vees. The ‘Dogs cut ties or traded five players (Blake Pearson, Kienan Scott, Shane O’Brien, Jordan Andrews and Jared Wilson) and have added six ( Jackson Elynuik, Dean Allison, Darian Henry, Craig Martin, Harlan Orr and Tyger Howat). Their biggest move was trading defenseman and leading scorer Jared Wilson (94) to the Vernon Vipers this week for forward Craig Martin (95) and future considerations.
The revamped roster has shown well, as the ‘Dogs are undefeated in their last three games, picking up a win against Langley last Saturday and tying Victoria and Trail.
These two teams wrap-up this season series November 10th, a Sunday matinée in Port Alberni.