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Season Series: Sep 25th 3-1 Vipers, Oct 5th 6-5 (OT) Vees, Nov 20th 5-2 Vees, Jan 10th 2-1 Vees, Jan 24th @ Vernon, Feb 14th @ Penticton and Feb 22nd at Vernon.
The Penticton Vees (27-11-2-4) look to snap a three-game losing streak when they visit the Vernon Vipers (23-14-3-5) at Kal-Tire Place.
After beating the Trail Smoke Eaters on January 11th (3-2), the Vees have dropped three to West Kelowna, Merritt and most recently Salmon Arm. Last Saturday the Vees squandered a 2-0 lead against the Silverbacks, as Salmon Arm scored twice in the second and again inside the final minute of the first overtime period; Landon Smith the hero for Salmon Arm. Erik Benoit and Riley Alferd scored in the OT setback for Penticton.
You have to go back to last season to find the last time the Vees have been in a similar situation. From October 27th-November 10th, the Vees dropped four straight but were missing four regulars from their line-up due to the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge.
Penticton’s tough January schedule continues with a match up with the third place Vipers, who are also coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to Salmon Arm. The Vees are seven games into a stretch of 10 games within their division in January and so far own a 3-2-1-1 record. After tonight, its Trail tomorrow back at home, before wrapping up the month on January 31st when they host Salmon Arm again.
Some good news when it comes to the line-up, as Olivier Mantha has recovered from a bug that kept him out of the line-up last week; all indications point to Mantha getting the start tonight. Mantha last started on January 11th in Trail, stopping 30 of 32 shots in the Vees 3-2 come from behind win over the Smokies.
Max Coatta is likely a game-time decision, as he continues to recover from an upper-body injury he sustained in Vernon back on January 10th; Coatta has been skating all week with the team. Cam Amantea is out, as he beings to serve his three-game suspension handed down by the BCHL after he picked up a five-minute major penalty last Saturday against Salmon Arm; he’s eligible to return February 1st. With Amantea suspended, 17-year-old Josh Blanchard draws back into the line-up and will skate alongside Riley Alferd and Travis Blanleil.
Vees Scoring vs Vernon:
DePourcq 3-3-6 Dalpe 0-2-2
Coatta 4-1-5 Stoykewych 0-2-2
McClure 2-2-4 Benoit 1-0-1
Beauvais 1-3-4 Pierog 1-0-1
Blanleil 1-3-4 Alferd 0-1-1
Blanchard 0-2-2 Cooper 0-1-1
Rygus: No points in 8 games
Amantea: No points in 9 games
Blanleil: No points in 5 games
DePourcq: No points in 5 games
Last 5 Games:
Record: 2-2-0-1 (9 GF, 10 GA)
PP: 1/19 (5.26%)
PK: 14/15 (93.33%)
Since Trade Deadline: 2-2-0-1
PP/PK: No PPG’s in last 2 games/No PKGA in last 2 games
Goals: McClure (34) (2nd in BCHL)
Assists: Beauvais (40) (T-2nd in BCHL)
Points: McClure (62) (2nd in BCHL)
PIMs: Sexton (56) (27th in BCHL)
PPG: McClure (11) (T-1st in BCHL)
PPA: Beauvais (21) (1st in BCHL)
SHG: Pierog (3) (T-5th in BCHL)
As mentioned, Vernon also felt the sting of overtime defeat at the hands of Salmon Arm, as they too fell in the extra frame 3-2 last Sunday in the North Shuswap. Vernon has had mixed results lately, winning three of their last five but have won just four of their last ten (4-5-0-1).
Tonight kicks-off a key stretch of games for the Vipers, as after tonight they’re in Merritt tomorrow, Trail on January 31st and West Kelowna on February 1st. A tough stretch of divisional games compounded by the fact they’re 11-9-1-4 against the Interior.
The Vipers have missed a key piece upfront in Mason Blacklock, as the centerman was hurt in their 2-1 loss to the Vees back on January 10th and hasn’t played since; his status for tonight will not be known until game time.
Blacklock was the team’s leading scorer before being hit with injuries in November and since then Michael McNicholas has taken over the scoring lead. The California native has 20 goals and 57 points, good enough for fourth in the BCHL scoring race. McNicholas has some breathing room, as the next closer scorer is 10 points back, Dexter Dancs sitting second in team scoring with 18 goals and 47 points.
Austin Smith and Danny Todosychuk continue to share the workload between the pipes, as Smith has played 25 games to Todosychuk’s 20. Todosychuk got the start last time out against the Vees, and is winless in three games this season against the Vees; he’s only started one however.
Scoring vs. PEN:
Hannoun 0-4-4 Saharchuk 0-2-2 McNicholas 0-1-1
Dancs 2-1-3 Citron 1-0-1 Renz 0-1-1
Blacklock 1-1-2 Dumonceaux 1-0-1
Guenther 1-1-2 Wilson 1-0-1
Persley 1-1-2 Bryan 0-1-1
Mick 0-2-2 Coughlin 0-1-1
McNicholas: 3 game point streak (1-3-4)
Saharchuk: No points in 14 games
Chanter: No points in 6 games
Last 5 Games:
Record: 2-2-0-1 (13 GF, 14 GA)
PP: 1/13 (7.69%)
PK: 23/27 (82.61%)
Goals: Mulcahy (26) (6th in BCHL)
Assists: McNicholas (37) (4th in BCHL)
Points: McNicholas (57) (4th in BCHL)
PIMs: Wilson (73) (T-10th in BCHL)
PPG: Mulcahy (9) (5th in BCHL)
PPA: McNicholas (10) (T-14th in BCHL)
SHG: Blacklock (1) (T-15th in BCHL)