Miles Gendron, WCC Awards
Tyson Jost, WCC Awards
Hunter Miska, WCC Awards
The Penticton Vees face the Portage Terriers in the Western Canada Cup Final tonight at the Casman Centre in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Both teams finished the Round-Robin with 3-1 records and the Vees are the home team today by virtue of a three-way tiebreaker between the Vees, Portage and Fort McMurray.
In the round-robin, the Terriers upended the Vees by a 3-2 score on Tuesday afternoon, as Portage scored twice in the first period; the only team to score a first period goal against the Vees at this tournament.
Portage is the RBC Hosts and are looking to add another piece of hardware before returning home to host the national junior ‘A’ tournament, starting next Saturday at Credit Union Place. Though they’re assured a spot in the RBC Cup, the Terriers are here to prove they aren’t resting on the “host” tag going into next week’s tournament.
The Vees aren’t taking this game lightly either, as several players have made it clear they not only want redemption from earlier this week but they want that big silver trophy that’s sitting in the trophy case in the Casman Centre. In my interviews with Miles Gendron, Tyson Jost and Hunter Miska, all three were quick to point out the trophy they really want is the Western Canada Cup. Shows you how focused this team is and how serious they’re taking tonight’s game.
Goals: 2 Jordyn Boyd, Chase Faulkner, & Andrew Zerban (8 S. Bowles, Waldvogel)
Assists: 4 Brad Bowles, Jordan Peel (13 Dane Schioler)
Points: 5 Brad Bowles, Jordan Peel (17 Jordyn Boyd)
PPG: 1 Shawn Bowels, Tanner Jago, Landon Peel(3 Davis Ross)
SHG: 0 (2 Jordyn Boyd, Zach Waldvogel)
PIMS: 4 Chase Perreaux, Zach Waldvogel (204 Chase Faulkner)
*Legend: Western Canada Cup, (MJHL regular season).
The Vees have to find a way to shut down the trio of Brad and Shawn Bowles and Zach Waldvogel. The Terriers top-line scored twice in the game against the Vees, both coming in the first period, and they were dangerous every time they stepped across the Penticton blue-line.
But it’s not just those three, as the Terriers have three very good lines that all have the capability of being “game-breakers.” Heck, even their “fourth-line” had three of their four goals in the round-robin finale against Spruce Grove on Thursday. No slight to the other three teams at the tournament, but you would have to say the Terriers present maybe the greatest challenge for the Vees when it comes to depth.
The one advantage the Vees do have as the home team, is the last change, so they’ll be able to get their match ups they want. Penticton boasts a lot of depth as well so the line matching today will be the game, within a game.
Another wrinkle, assuming Justin Laforest starts, is the fact the Vees will be facing a goalie they haven’t seen yet at this tournament. Zac Robidoux faced the Vees in the round-robin game, not Laforest and did well, stopping 25 of 27 shots in the win. It was a surprise move, given Robidoux’s last start came on March 15th, in the first round of the MJHL playoffs. Head Coach Blake Spiller said post-game they planned to use both goalies at some point in the tournament, but interesting timing for sure.
Goals: 5 Tyson Jost (10 Tyson Jost)
Assists: 5 Pat Newell (13 Demico Hannoun)
Points: 6 4-tied (21 Demico Hannoun)
PPG: 1 3-tied (3 Cooper, Hannoun)
SHG: 0 (1 Matt Serratore)
PIMS: 4 Connor Chartier
The Vees are now one win away from their goal they set out for themselves at the start of the this tournament and fitting that they have Portage standing in their way-again. The Vees only blemish at the Western Canada Cup was the 3-2 round-robin loss to the Terriers on Tuesday afternoon.
The Terriers are the only team to get the upper-hand on the Vees in this tournament, as Penticton has scored first in every other game and the only team to score on them in the first period is Portage; the only team to out shoot them too. So yea, this team is wanting to prove that game was more than a one-off than anything thing else.
There will be one change to the Vees line-up tonight, as Cam Amantea is out with an upper-body injury and Jordy Bellerive, who just turned 16 today, will take his place up front. Bellerive will play alongside Lewis Zerter-Gossage and Mitch Newsome. Bellerive played in five playoff games, including scoring a goal in the BCHL Final versus Nanaimo. He also played in three regular season games, picking up a goal and an assist. He won’t feel out-of-place tonight.
Remember, you can listen to the game on EZ Rock AM 800, starting with the pre-game show a half-four prior to puck drop. If you’re in Penticton, you can go down to Tugs Tap House on Main Street, for the official viewing party of the Western Canada Cup.