Penticton Vees (32-7-2-1)
Trail Smoke Eaters (14-24-0-2)
Venue: Cominco Arena
Game Time: 7:30pm
Season Series: (3-0 Vees) 3-1 Vees September 26th, 6-2 Vees Nov 1st, 3-1 Vees Dec 3rd, at Trail Jan 16th, at Penticton Jan 30th, at Trail Jan 31st, Feb 14th at Trail
Vees Road Record: 15-5-1-1
Vees Record vs. Interior Division: 17-6-1-0
Vees Leading Scorer: Riley Alferd 17-22-39
Smoke Eaters Home Record: 10-10-0-1
Smoke Eaters Record vs. Interior Division: 4-17-0-1
Smoke Eaters Leading Scorer: Charlie Zuccarini 25-23-48
The Vees don’t have much time to dwell on Friday’s 4-1 loss in Merritt, as they jump on the bus and head to the West Kootenays to face the Trail Smoke Eaters at Cominco Arena.
The Vees have 16 games remaining in the regular season schedule and a quarter of them (4) are against Trail; these two teams will be sick of each other by the end. The Vees are 3-0 against Trail this year but the two haven’t met since December 3rd in Penticton, where the Vees picked up a 3-1 win. Tonight is just the Vees second trip to Trail this season and after tonight, they’ll have two more stops to make before the season series is finished.
In their only game in Trail this season, the Vees picked up a 3-1 win way back on Friday, September 26th. After a scoreless first period, Trail opened up the scoring but the Vees got goals from Cody DePourcq and the since departed Josh Laframboise to take a 2-1 lead into the third. Demico Hannoun added an insurance marker in the third, as the Vees improved their record to a perfect 3-0.
Lots have changed since then as the Vees roster has a different look to it and same with the Trail Smoke Eaters. Trail had a promising start but things went south for them late in the calendar year, as they went 1-8-0-1 in December which was highlighted by an eight-game losing streak.
The Vees are 6-1-0-0 when coming off a loss, outscoring their opponents 27-15 in those seven games; they know how to bounce back. They haven’t lost back-to-back since early November, when they were on an Island Division road trip; they haven’t lost back to back regulation games all season.
Trail was 5-4 losers last night at home to visiting Nanaimo Clippers. Sheldon Rempal scored the game-winner on a Clippers power-play with 4:25 left in the third period. It was a back-and-forth game, Trail coming back to tie the game three times and actually led 3-2 at one point in the second period.
The Vees line-up will be one more body short, as they’ll only dress five defensemen. Miles Gendron picked up a five-minute major penalty late in the game Friday, for a blow to the head penalty. Under the Junior ‘A’ Supplement that carries an automatic two-game suspension. Remember, the Vees are already without Gabe Bast, Patrick Newell and Matt Serratore.
Hunter Miska will once again get the call between the pipes and he was excellent Friday, despite the 4-1 setback in Merritt.