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Sep 25th 3-1 Vipers (Kal-Tire Place)
Oct 25th 6-5 (OT) Vees (SOEC)
Nov 20th 5-2 Vees (SOEC)
Jan 10th 2-1 Vees (Kal-Tire Place)
Jan 24th 6-1 Vees (Kal-Tire Place)
Feb 14th 2-1 Vipers (SOEC)
Feb 22nd 4-3 Vipers (Kal-Tire Place)
Playoff Series Schedule
Game 1 4-3 Vipers (SOEC)
Game 2 5-3 Vees (SOEC)
Game 3 4-3 Vees (Kal-Tire Place)
Game 4 5-2 Vipers (Kal-Tire Place)
Game 5 3-2 Vipers (SOEC)
Game 6 2-0 Vees (Kal-Tire Place)
- Catch the blog headline? Confused? Let me explain. Technically this is game seven but for the Vees it’s their second game seven. It was also game seven last night in Vernon where they gutted out a 2-0 win to stave off elimination, and force this one-game showdown. Their attitude going into to game six was if it was a game seven and I think that helps them tonight. They don’t have to change anything about their approach or how they prepare; they played in a game seven already.
- Don’t have details on the Vees line-up but I would venture a guess we will likely see the same line-up as game six; it worked. Oliver Mantha was brilliant, making 28 saves for his second shutout of the playoffs. No official confirmation from the team that he starts tonight but his numbers, all of a sudden, look pretty good in this series (2.17 GAA + .917 SV%). He now leads all playoff goaltenders in goals-against average (2.04) and is tied for second in save percentage amongst active puck-stoppers (.921). Mantha was a calming influence for the Vees last night and that characteristic would bode well in what should be an electric game seven.
- This is the Vees franchise first game seven since 2008, coincidentally enough, they faced the Vipers in that game. The Vees won game seven against Vernon 5-2 back on March 18th, 2008 at a packed Memorial Arena. Denver Manderson led the way, scoring twice in the victory. The Vees went on to win eight in a row after that, sweeping West Kelowna and Nanaimo in the BCHL final.
- According to crack BCHL blogger, Viper Die Hard Fan (The blog is HERE), this is the fifth game seven between these two junior hockey franchises, going all the way the way back to 1972. Fitting that the two teams have split the first four game sevens, Penticton bettering Vernon in 2008 and 1983. The Vernon franchise winning over Penticton in 1994 and 1972 (the BCJHL Final).
- Lots of hoopla and buzz goes into game sevens and that’s warranted. But the Vees can’t get caught up thinking they have to do more or get all geeked-up for the big game. What worked for them in game six can certainly work again, and that’s consistency. They were solid from the start, right down to the nail-biting finish. It should be a big crowd at the SOEC and that can be an advantage but this group can’t get caught up in trying to do more because of the crowd.
- The Vees defensemen had really good gap control last night in Vernon, as they didn’t give much room to their forwards. When a Viper crossed the blue-line a defensemen was there to lean on the forward or angle him to the outside; good boxing out. When the Vipers had extended shifts in the Vees zone, the defense and forwards were great at collapsing back to the middle and getting in front of Vernon shots. Same story applies tonight, don’t allow their skilled players to have time and open ice when entering the zone. When they move the puck back to the points, they need to squeeze off the shooting lanes and force pucks into shin pads.
- Stamina. Who’s got the most juice left? The Vees have purposefully used a full bench throughout the series, in the event it went the distance. Here we are. The Vees have rolled all four lines and three D-pairings, which should help them in the third of three consecutive games. Vernon has used a lot of their defensemen, as they spread around the minutes there effectively, but they have gone consistently with three lines and at stretches have rolled their top two lines heavily. Now that we’re at the end of this series, do the Vees have fresher legs and if so, can they use that for a late push, in the second and third periods?
McClure 10-9-19 Alferd 4-3-7 Amantea 1-2-3
DePourcq 4-5-9 Cooper 4-3-7 Rygus 0-3-3
Serratore 3-5-8 Pierog 3-4-7 Sexton 0-3-3
Beauvais 1-7-8 McColgan 2-5-7 Coatta 2-0-2
Benoit 1-7-8 Stoykewych 3-3-6 Dalpe 1-1-2
Ramsey 1-7-8 Hilderman 1-2-3 Coulombe 0-1-1
SCORING LEADERS vs VERNON:
McClure 7-9-16 Pierog 2-3-5 Ramsey 0-4-4 Amantea 0-1-1
DePourcq 7-3-10 McColgan 2-3-5 Rygus 0-4-4
Beauvais 1-7-8 Dalpe 1-4-5 Stoykewych 0-4-4
Coatta 6-1-7 Alferd 2-2-4 Hilderman 2-1-3
Cooper 3-3-6 Serratore 2-2-4 Blanchard 1-2-3
Benoit 3-2-5 Blanleil 1-3-4 Sexton 1-1-2
- Vernon I’m sure was disappointed that they didn’t closeout the series on home ice last night but they can take comfort knowing they’ve had success at the SOEC in this series. Vipers bench boss, Jason Williamson, has said on more than one occasion in our pre-game chats, that he doesn’t invest a whole lot into “home ice advantage.” They won when they needed on the road in round one and so far have done the same in round two. They got the split in Penticton earlier this series and won a pivotal game five to give them a 3-2 series lead. Vernon will have quite a few fans here tonight I’m sure, and are 2-1 in this building in this round. Can the Vipers steal another win in Penticton?
- I sing the praises of Olivier Mantha, and deservingly so, but Austin Smith was fantastic too last night. The Vernon goaltender made some key saves early in the second period when his team was still down 1-0, as he kept his team right in the mix. Remember, he stopped both Erik Benoit and Max Coatta on breakaways, made a great glove-save off of Brad McClure and closed the door in the second and third. They’ll need another strong performance from the veteran goalie, as they likely expect a push from the Vees early.
- Their top-line of Dexter Dancs, Michael McNicholas and Liam Coughlin have been road warriors in this series. The three have combined for five goals and 13 points in games one, two and five.
- In fact, McNicholas leads the team in scoring on the road in this series with two goals and six points. Coughlin sits second with three goals and four points. Colton Sparrow has two goals and three points and Dancs has three assists.
Persley 7-7-14 Coughlin 5-2-7 Mick 0-4-4
Sparrow 5-8-13 Hannoun 1-6-7 Dancs 0-3-3
Mulcahy 10-2-12 Blacklock 0-6-6 Citron 0-2-2
McNicholas 3-8-11 Renz 0-5-5 Wilson 0-2-2
Bryan 0-9-9 Chanter 2-2-4 Saharchuk 0-1-1
Dumoceaux 5-3-8 Guenther 1-3-4
SCORING LEADERS vs PENTICTON:
Dancs 3-4-7 Mick 1-4-5 Wilson 1-2-3
McNicholas 2-5-7 Dumonceaux 3-1-4 Chanter 2-0-2
Hannoun 0-7-7 Sparrow 2-2-4 Mulcahy 2-0-2
Persley 3-2-5 Coughlin 1-2-3 Saharchuk 0-2-2
Blacklock 1-4-5 Guenther 1-2-3 Citron 1-0-1
Bryan 1-4-5 Renz 1-2-3 Statchuk 0-1-1