The Penticton Vees look to push their win streak to a season best five games when they make their way up to West Kelowna to face the Warriors. Tonight is the back half of a home-and-home set with the Tribe, as the Vees took the opener 4-3 Friday at the SOEC.
The Vees are one win away from running the table on this challenging five-game divisional stretch in their schedule. It started with a home-and-home clash with Salmon Arm one week ago, then a midweek game against Merritt and now another home-and-home battle with West Kelowna. I’ll be honest, my realistic expectations didn’t see this team potentially going 5-0 during this stretch, especially with the injuries to Patrick Sexton and Cody DePourcq. But hey, this team has answered the bell and now can take all 10 points up for grabs if they can pull out the “W” in West-K; the big dangling carrot.
One thing the Vees learned last week against Salmon Arm, is the fact the second game is always that much tougher than the first. The Vees went into Salmon Arm last Saturday after winning the night before and had to fight their way to a 4-3 double overtime win. They staked themselves out to a 2-0 lead but saw Salmon Arm score three unanswered to take a 3-2 lead midway through the third. The Vees tied it shortly after and then Demico Hannoun sealed the two points with a penalty-shot goal in OT. The Vees are well aware now they can’t take their foot off the gas at any point in these divisional games. Last Saturday was a reminder and so too was last night.
What got them in trouble last Saturday and last night was penalties and ill-advised ones at that. They took back-to-back double-minors against Salmon Arm a week ago that allowed the home team to claw their way back into the game, and last night two, well, dumb penalties resulted in two West Kelowna goals, erasing a 2-0 lead. The Vees have to be more disciplined and make the opposition earn their chances. Five-on-five, they outscored West Kelowna 3-1 last night.
Same line-up as Friday for Penticton, with the only change coming in goal, as Hunter Miska makes his seventh start of the season. Brendan Barry battled his way to his first home win last night and now the Vees call upon their veteran to lead the way in a tough environment. Miska has been very sound this year and historically as played very well in West Kelowna. Tonight may be the night we see one of those performances.
On the air at 6:40pm from Royal LePage Place on EZ Rock AM 800. You can also watch the BCHL’s pay-per-view webcast at http://www.fasthockey.com.