Venue: Poirier Sports & Leisure Centre
Game Time: 7pm
Season Series: Jan 7th 5-2 Vees
Vees Road Record: 14-4-1-1
Vees Record vs. Mainland Division: 7-0-1-0
Vees Leading Scorer: Riley Alferd 17-21-38
Express Home Record: 9-8-0-2
Express Record vs. Interior Division: 2-5-1-2
Express Leading Scorer: Corey Mackin 37-29-66
Looking for the Series Sweep: The Penticton Vees and Coquitlam Express wrap up their two-game season series tonight at the Poirier Sports & Leisure Centre. The Vees held serve on home ice, downing the Express 5-2 Wednesday, as they got back into the win column after a shutout loss last Saturday.
The Vees have Saturday off before hosting another Mainland Division opponent in the Prince George Spruce Kings Sunday. The Vees have had their way with the Mainland Division thus far, as they’re 7-0-1-0 in eight games. The only points they dropped was to Chilliwack in a 1-1 tie back on December 14th.
The Express had won four of their last five heading into Wednesday’s game but with that setback, they’ve now dropped two of their last three. It’s a busy weekend for the Express, as tonight is the start of three in two and a half days for the Express. Saturday they’re in Nanaimo and Sunday afternoon they head to Victoria. The Express are in the midst of four games in five days.
Pulling into the Station: This is the Vees first and only visit to Coquitlam this season, baring a potential matchup in the highly anticipated BCHL Round Robin in the post-season. The Express have a modest home record of 9-8-0-1 but have won three of their last five in Coquitlam.
They don’t want a repeat performance from Friday, as the Rivermen pasted the Express 6-1. The Express did bounce back one night later, returning the favour in Langley with a 4-3 win. One interesting note is that the Express have gone past regulation in two of their last three home games. They won both of those games in OT, beating Prince George and Victoria before the Christmas break.
The Vees own the BCHL’s best road record at 14-4-1-1 and are 4-0-0 on the road against Mainland teams. The last time the Vees ventured down to the Lower Mainland, they picked up a 6-0 win in Langley in November.
Holstering the Big Guns: The Vees did it Wednesday and will need to do it again tonight. Wednesday the Vees held the Express’ top three scorers to just one power-play assist. Corey Mackin, the BCHL scoring leader, picked up an apple late in the third but did extended his point streak to seven games.
The Vees did however keep Mackin’s line-mates off the scoresheet in Brett Supinski and Brendan Lamont. In fact, Supinski (11) and Lamont (5) had their lengthy point streaks snapped in Wednesday’s loss. That line was dangerous in the first period but the Vees did find a way to keep that dangerous trio relatively quiet in the last forty-minutes and will need to do so again tonight.
A bit of a challenge as the Vees are the road team and that means they won’t have the last change but Head Coach Fred Harbinson isn’t too concerned, according to his quote in the Penticton Herald, “Even on the road we should be able to get one of those two lines (Alferd and DePourcq) out against Mackin.”
Harbinson was referring to Alferd in the middle of Ramsey and Cooper, and DePourcq centering Amantea and Chartier. Those six Vees will be charged with the task of shutting down the Express big three.
Line-Up News: Hunter Miska gets back into the net after Brendan Barry spelled him off on Wednesday. Miska is 20-6-2 with a stingy 1.84 goals-against average and a sparkling .931 save-percentage. Dakota Conroy draws back into the forward group after missing Wednesday’s clash. Miles Gendron will sit again as he nurses a nagging injury.
The Express will have two AP’s in their line-up again, as they dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Up front they’ve called-up forward Alex Ambrosio from the North Vancouver Wolf Pack of the PIJHL. On the blue-line Brendan Jay from the Mission City Outlaws is penciled in as the extra defenseman.
Taylor Green makes his Express debut after he was acquired from the Nanaimo Clippers yesterday. Green is a hulking blue-liner, checking in at 6’7 and tipping the scales at 220 lbs. Green split time with Brandon, Moose Jaw and Seattle in the WHL.
Chris Tai gets the start again in the Express net.