Venue: Frank Crane Arena
Game Time: 7pm
Listen: EZ Rock AM 800
Season Series: Nov 8th at Nanaimo, February 13th at Penticton
Vees Road Record: 9-1-0-0
Vees Record vs. Island Division: 3-0-0-0
Vees Leading Scorer: Lewis Zerter-Gossage 9-14-23
Clippers Home Record: 7-2-0-0
Clippers Record vs. Interior Division: 0-2-0-0
Clippers Leading Scorer: Sheldon Rempal 14-9-23
Schedule Sandwich: Tonight is the middle game of the Vees busy three-game Island Division road trip and arguably their stiffest test. The Nanaimo Clippers are atop of the Island with a 13-6-0-0 record and hold down second place in the BCHL behind the Vees. Both teams are in a similar situation, as both played last night, both games went into overtime but Nanaimo needed just an extra sixty-four seconds to win against Alberni Valley; the Vees needed seven. Nanaimo has the advantage in sleeping in their own beds Friday, whereas the Vees had a late check-in to their Nanaimo hotel after coming up from Victoria. Legs may be a little heavy early for the Vees, as tonight is their eleventh game in the last 23 days going back to October 17th. However, that’s why they have the CJHL First Star of October in goal in Hunter Miska; a nice safety night if needed.
Goals on Goals: The two top offenses go head-to-head tonight, as the Vees have scored the most goals (84) in the BCHL and Nanaimo is right behind them in second (82); both teams averaging just above four goals per-game. The Vees and Clippers both have 11 players on their respective rosters that have 10 or more points. The Clippers have five players with twenty or more points; the Vees three. Each team’s top point-getter has 23 points in 19 games, Lewis Zerter-Gossage has nine goals and 14 assists and if you flip those numbers around, you get Nanaimo’s Sheldon Rempal’s total; 14 goals and nine assists. Both these teams know how to put the puck in the net and with regularity. The red lights may get a workout tonight.
Their Crown Newell: Patrick Newell is heating up and just at the right time for the Vees. The play-making forward is riding a six-game point streak heading into tonight’s game. Newell’s assist Friday gives him three goals and 11 points in his last six. The Californian has relished the opportunity of playing on the Vees top-line with Demico Hannoun and Zerter-Gossage, as Tyson Jost is away at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. If the Vees are going to pull another two points out tonight they’re going to need more production from Newell and his line-mates.
Shark in the Water: San Jose Sharks draft pick Jake Jackson is someone to keep an eye on. The Clippers forward has four goals and 12 points in his last eight games. Jackson is just one point back of Rempal for the Clippers scoring lead (9-13-22). Rempal has been held pointless in the last two Clippers’ games after having a five-game point streak going into last Saturday’s slate of games.
Strength versus Strength: The Vees own the BCHL’s best road record at 9-1-0 and the Nanaimo Clippers own the BCHL’s third best home record behind Penticton and Merritt (7-2-0). The Vees last road loss was on September 27th when they were shutout by the Centennials. Nanaimo last home loss was October 24th against West Kelowna; their only loss at Frank Crane Arena. Technically their other “home” loss was at the BCHL Bauer Showcase in Chilliwack and that was West Kelowna getting the better of them again. In fact, the only two games the Clippers have played against the Interior have been against the Tribe.