Venue: Kal-Tire Place
Game Time: 7pm
Listen: EZ Rock AM 800
Season Series: Oct 17th 3-1 Vees, Oct 25th 1-0 Vees, Nov 14th 4-2 Vees, Dec 5th at Vipers, Jan 2nd at Vees, Feb 11th at Vees, Feb 27th at Vees
Vees Road Record: 12-2-0-1
Vees Record vs. Interior Division: 14-3-0-0
Vees Leading Scorer: Riley Alferd 17-17-34
Vipers Home Record: 9-4-1-1
Vipers Record vs. Interior Division: 10-5-1-2
Vipers Leading Scorer: Liam Coughlin 10-15-25
Vees Back in Vernon: The Vees make their third trip to Kal-Tire Place this season, as they’re once again in Vernon to face the Vipers. The Vees have won the previous two visits by scores of 3-1 and 4-2. The last time the Vees faced Vernon was on November 14th, when they erased a 2-1 deficit with a three-goal third period.
The Vees are 3-0-0 against the Vipers this season, as they also won at home 1-0 on October 25th. After tonight, these two long-time rivals don’t meet again until the New Year, when the Vees host the Vipers on January 2nd. In fact, this is the final game in Vernon this season, as the season series shifts to Penticton for the final three games.
The Vees were 2-2-0-0 in Vernon last year and are 6-4-0-0 in their last 10 visits to Kal-Tire place. The Vipers last beat the Vees at home on February 22nd of last season.
A Fair Deal for All Parties: Not often to rivals trade with each other but the Vees and Vipers must be happy how things have played out since they pulled the trigger on a trade back on October 30th; it was just the second trade in the last 11 seasons between the two clubs. The Vees sent forward Liam Finlay to Vernon for the CJHL playing rights of forward Dakota Conroy.
Since joining the Vees, Conroy has made an immediate impact with four goals and six points in five games, including picking up a goal Wednesday against Trail. The 20-year-old Edmonton, Alberta, product has also seen time on the Vees power-play and penalty-kill while playing on a very productive line with Connor Chartier and Cody DePourcq.
Finlay, 17, is making the most of his new opportunity in Vernon, as the play-making forward has nine goals and 18 points in 13 games with the Snakes. Finlay’s strong play in Vernon has caught the eye of Hockey Canada as he was one of 25 BCHL players invited to Team Canada West camp for the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge. Finlay seems to have helped the struggling Vernon power-play, as well. The Vipers man-advantage operated at 22 percent in November, this after hovering just under seven percent in September and October combined.
Special Teams: Speaking of the power-play, specials teams have been a big key in the season series and a reason why the Vees have won the first three meetings against Vernon this year. In their last encounter with Vernon, the Vees scored two third period power-play goals and they came just a minute apart to propel them to the 4-2 come from behind victory. The meeting before that the only goal in a 1-0 win for Penticton on October 25th was scored by Dante Fabbro on the power-play. The Vees have scored at least one power-play goal in each of the three games against the Vipers.
As mentioned above, Finlay has helped breathe some life into the Vipers power-play, as it made some strides in the month of November. Before Finlay’s arrival, Vernon was just 4 for 59 on the man-advantage. In November, when Finlay joined the Vipers, their power-play was 12 for 59 in 13 games; an increase of 15.22 percent. Finlay does have six power-play assists this season but he’s not the sole reason why their power-play has been better. Luke Shiplo leads the Vipers with eight power-play assists and Liam Coughlin has four power-play goals.
200 Club: Tonight is a special milestone for Vees Co-Captain Cody DePourcq as he plays his two hundredth career BCHL regular season game. DePourcq’s first BCHL game was way back on November 9th, 2010, in Trail as an AP for the Vees; Penticton was missing players due to the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge. DePourcq would have hit the milestone sooner if it wasn’t for an upper-body injury that kept him out of the line-up for a chunk of games in October.
It’s a rare accomplishment for a player at this level to hit 200 games played and the significance isn’t lost on the 19-year-old, “It’s special and unique to play that many games in this league. It’s a tough league and I’ve been fortunate to not have many injuries throughout my career, and it’s been a privilege to be a part of the teams we’ve had over the last three years.”
Travis Blanleil hit the 200 games played mark last season with Penticton and Troy Stecher did so two seasons ago.
Line-Up Notes: Hunter Miska makes his second straight start and fourth against the Vipers this season. He’s 16-4-0-1 on the year with a 1.91 goals-against average and .926 save-percentage. In his three starts against Vernon, Miska owns an even 1.00 goals-against average and a sparkling .968 save-percentage; he has one shutout against Vernon.
Steen Cooper returns to the line-up after missing Wednesday’s game; no word on any chances with the Vees blue-line.