The Penticton Vees (23-7-1-3) wrap up their three-game road trip with a matinee affair in Victoria against the Grizzlies (22-8-3-2) at Bear Mountain Arena. So far, so good for the Vees, as they’re two-for-two on this road swing, with wins in Chilliwack (6-3) and Cowichan Valley (5-1).
Saturday in Duncan, the Vees offense continued to roll, as five different players scored in the lopsided win over the Capitals. Ben Dalpe, Max Coatta, Steen Cooper, Brad McClure and Cam Amantea found the back of the net for the Vees. McClure finished with a game-high three points (1-2-3) and was named the game’s first star. Dalpe continues to pick up points, as he pushed his point streak to nine games with a goal and a helper. Cooper, in his first game back in Duncan since the trade on December 1st, scored the Vees third goal and finished with two points; also named second star. Amantea marked his return to the line-up with a third period goal on a nice deflection from a Chris Rygus point-shot. Max Coatta pushed his goal-scoring streak to three games with his first period rebound goal.
Special teams was at the forefront in the win, as the Vees power-play scored on its first two opportunities and the penalty-kill kept the Caps power-play off the scoresheet despite four opportunities. The backbone of the PK in the win was the amount of shots the Vees blocked while down a man.
Hunter Miska turned in a tidy 23-performance for his twelfth win on the season and fourth in as many starts.
Two changes for the Vees line-up this afternoon, first, Olivier Mantha will get the start after earning a win Friday in Chilliwack and will be searching for his twelfth “W” on the season. Alex Coulombe slides back into the line-up on the blue-line in place of Jarod Hilderman.
The Grizzlies are rolling too, as they’ve won three straight after Saturday’s 3-2 overtime victory in Alberni Valley; Garrett Forster was the hero in the extra period. When you talk about the Grizzlies, usually the Fitzgerald triplets are the first thing that comes to mind. Two-thirds of the triplets have been very good, as Gerry and Myles are one-two in team scoring; Leo Fitzgerald has been out for most of the season with a lower-body injury. Filling the hole left by Leo is Jesse Schwartz, who has 12 goals and 37 points in 28 games; a seamless transition. The Grizzlies really rely on those three, as the next closest scorer on their roster only has 18 points and that’s defenseman Brandon Egli.
Like the Vees, the Grizz’ have been rotating their two puck-stoppers for most of the season. Former Vee Nic Renyard has 19 games under his belt, compared to Alec Dillon’s 18. Both have been very good and Dillon played last night in Alberni Valley, so Renyard looks to be the starter this afternoon. Renyard is 10-7-1 with a solid .915 save-percentage.
These two teams meet once more this season in Penticton on February 15th at the SOEC. They’ll play three times this season, not the usual two, as they also met at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack back in September; the Vees prevailed 2-1.