Game Time: 7pm
Season Series: Clippers (1-0-0-0) 3-2 OT Nov 8th at Frank Crane Arena
Vees Home Record: 20-3-1-0
Vees Record vs. Island Division: 5-2-1-1
Vees Leading Scorer: Lewis Zerter-Gossage 17-27-44
Vees Scoring vs. Nanaimo:
Riley Alferd 1-0-1
Lewis Zerter-Gossage 1-0-1
Cody DePourcq 0-1-1
Demico Hannoun 0-1-1
Mike Lee 0-1-1
Clippers Road Record: 16-8-0-1
Clippers Record vs. Interior Division: 5-3-0-2
Clippers Leading Scorer: Brenden Taylor 22-33-55
Clippers Scoring vs. Penticton:
Jacob Jackson 1-1-2
Yanni Kaldis 0-2-2
Nicolas Gushue 1-0-1
Sheldon Rempal 1-0-1
Cole Maier 0-1-1
Brett Roulston 0-1-1
Brenden Taylor 0-1-1
Tonight it’s one versus two in the BCHL, as the top two teams in the league go head-to-head at the SOEC. The Vees and Clippers are in a two-team race for the Ron Boileau Trophy for the BCHL regular season pennant. Heading into Friday’s game, the Vees are seven points up on the Clippers with both teams having six games remaining on their schedules.
Tonight is the second and final meeting in the regular season for these two non-divisional opponents. The Clippers bested the Vees 3-2 in overtime back on November 8th, in Nanaimo, in the only other prior meeting this season; Jacob Jackson was the OT hero for the Clips’.
The Vees are looking to snap a two-game skid, as they’re coming off back-to-back losses to Alberni Valley Sunday and Vernon Wednesday; the Vees have only mustered up one goal in their last six periods of action.
Wednesday’s loss to Vernon marked just the second time this season the Vees dropped back to back games and the first time dropping consecutive games in regulation. So a loss tonight and the Vees would be entering unfamiliar territory as their winless streak already sits at three. Some good news is the fact the Vees are 8-2-0-0 coming off a loss and have outscored the opposition 37-22 in those 10 games; they’ve surrendered two or less goals in seven of those 10.
Wednesday, Vernon got goals from Jagger Williamson and TJ Dumonceaux (power-play) in the second period and Danny Todosychuk made 39-saves in that 2-1 win over the Vees; the Vipers first win against Penticton in six tries this season.
Nanaimo starts an Interior road swing tonight in Penticton, before heading to Vernon Saturday and West Kelowna Sunday afternoon. The Clippers split their only other Interior trip in January, winning in Trail, before losing in overtime in Salmon Arm and then losing in Merritt (1-1-0-1).
The Vees are 5-2-1-1 against the Island Division this season and the Clippers are 5-3-0-2 against the Interior. The Vees may have lost three games against the Island but they are 3-0-0-0 at home against Island teams. The last time an Island Division team came through Penticton was early December, as the Vees beat the Powell River Kings 3-1.
Nanaimo clinched the Island Division regular season pennant Monday with their 5-2 win in Powell River and are looking to stay within striking distance of the Vees for first overall. The Vees last finished first overall in 2012 and they went on to win the RBC Cup that spring. Nanaimo last took home the BCHL regular season pennant in 2008 which was the final season of a four-year run as regular season pennant winners (2005-2008).
It should be an excellent goalie matchup tonight, as Hunter Miska will likely face the Clippers Guillaume Decelles, who owns the third-best goals-against average in the BCHL (2.52) but is first in wins (33) and minutes played (2638). Miska is first in save-percentage (.929) and tied for the overall lead in shutouts (5); Decelles owns the second-best save-percentage.
Nanaimo has had a run of success in recent years against the Vees, as they’ve won three in a row against Penticton dating back until November 16th, 2013. In fact, the Clippers have won four of the last five meetings, including a 5-3 win at the SOEC last season. The last time the Vees beat the Clippers was on December 15th, 2012, and that coincidentally was at the SOEC (5-2).
If the Vees are going to have success against the high-flying Clippers, they’ll need to get their power-play sorted out. The Vees are 0-24 in their last seven games on the man-advantage. The last time the Vees scored a power-play goal was January 23rd against Merritt. Tonight might be the night the power-play gets back on track, as the Clippers own the 11th-best PK in the BCHL and have given up seven power-play goals in their last five games.
Because of the power-play struggles, the penalty-kill has been under some pressure but the Vees penalty-kill is still second at just over 81 percent. That PK will be put to the test again tonight, as the Clippers own the league’s fourth-best power-play at 23.55 percent.
The Vees should have a chip on their shoulder, as they’re winless in their last three (0-2-1-0) have picked up just one win in their last five games (1-2-1-1). This is the Vees fifth game in eight days, as they wrap up a busy two week stretch tomorrow in Trail on Valentine’s Day.