Salmon Arm Silverbacks (28-21-3-5)
Penticton Vees (43-9-3-2)
Game Time: 6pm
Season Series: (Vees 4-1-1-0) Oct 3rd 5-1 Vees, Oct 4th 4-3 (OT) Vees, Oct 26th 3-1 Vees, Dec 12th 2-2 T, Jan 3rd 3-0 ‘Backs, Jan 28th 1-0 Vees, Feb 28th at Vees
Vees Home Record: 24-3-1-0
Vees Record vs. Interior Division: 25-7-1-1
Vees Leading Scorer: Patrick Newell 16-31-47
Silverbacks Road Record: 12-12-1-3
Silverbacks Record vs. Interior Division: 17-12-1-3
Silverbacks Leading Scorer: Taro Hirose 18-32-50
It’s the Vees 2014-2015 finale, as they conclude the regular season portion of their schedule tonight at the SOEC against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. A lot of attention will be on tonight’s contest, as the Silverbacks need a win to clinch the fourth and final playoff spot in the Interior. Salmon Arm is tied with West Kelowna for the final playoff spot, as both teams enter tonight’s game with 64 points.
Penticton won their fifth game in a row last night, picking up a hard-fought 3-2 win over the Vernon Vipers, in front of over 3,300 fans at the SOEC. Lewis Zerter-Gossage scored the game-winner with less than eight-minutes left in the third period. Hunter Miska was fantastic in goal, stopping 39 of 41 shots, earning his 33rd win and he took home first star honours.
Salmon Arm had an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot last night at home but were dumped 5-1 by the visiting Merritt Centennials, spoiling the night for over 2,100 fans that packed the Shaw Centre. Merritt clinched third place with that win and will play Vernon in the first round of the Interior Division playoffs, which start on Tuesday. The ‘Backs still control their own fate but need a win in a building that they haven’t won in this season in their previous two visits. The Vees beat Salmon Arm 5-1 on October 3rd and 1-0 on January 28th.
If the Vees beat Salmon Arm and West Kelowna beats Surrey at home tonight, it would be the Vees hosting the Warriors at the SOEC starting Tuesday. If the Vees beat Salmon Arm in regulation, West Kelowna would only need a single point from their game against Surrey. We’re in store for a fantastic finish to this Interior Division playoff race.
The Vees will ice the same line-up as Friday, Hunter Miska gets the start (33-9-3/ 1.90 GAA/ .930 SV%). The Vees will dress 13 forwards for warm-up as Cam Amantea will be a game-time decision.
No surprises with Salmon Arm’s line-up, as they start Angus Redmond in net (24-21-3/2.73 GAA/ .909 SV%). Redmond has only coughed up one goal in his last two starts against the Vees. He shutout Penticton on January 3rd (3-0) and got no run support in a 1-0 setback at the SOEC on January 28th.
Salmon Arm was dealt a big blow two weeks ago, when their top defenseman and leading scorer, Andrew Farny was lost for the season with a leg laceration. At the time of his injury, Farny led the ‘Backs in scoring with 14 goals and 49 points in 53 games. Taro Hirose has since taken over the scoring lead with 50 points in 57 games.
Tonight immediately following the game, is the Vees annual Player Awards at ice level and fans are encouraged to stay in their seats for the awards ceremony. 14 player awards are up for grabs, including the coveted team MVP award.
Following tonight, the Vees open the first round of the BCHL Fred Page Cup playoffs on Tuesday, March 3rd, and Wednesday, March 4th, at the SOEC. The Vees special pre-sale offer for $10 tickets, per-game, for games one and two ends as of 12pm, on Monday March 2nd. Make sure to get your tickets at the SOEC box office before the deadline!