The Penticton Vees host the Vernon Vipers in their London Drugs Home Opener tonight at the SOEC; puck drop is 7pm.
The Vees haven’t played since last Friday, when they dropped a 4-2 decision in Salmon Arm on opening night. The Vipers split a pair of games against Trail on the weekend, as both teams spoiled each other’s home opener. The Vernon won 5-2 in Trail on Saturday.
The Vees have a new face on the blue-line tonight in David Eccles. Eccles was acquired from the Amherst Ramblers of the Maritime Hockey League for Tyler Niven and the rights to Ryan Coghlan. Eccles played at the RBC Cup against Penticton last May with the Carleton Place Canadians. Eccles will wear number 12 and be paired with Gabe Bast on the blue-line.
The Vees are coming off their first season opening loss since the 2004-2005 season when they lost their home opener, at Memorial Arena, to the Trail Smoke Eaters 5-4; that was 11 years ago.
These two long-time rivals last locked horns on March 22nd, in game seven of the Interior Division Final. The Vees won that game 2-0 and in dramatic fashion, in front of a near capacity crowd at the SOEC. There are 10 holders from that night, including four Vees in Tyson Jost, Dante Fabbro, Gabe Bast and Demico Hannoun.
The Vipers have returned forwards Liam Finlay, Riley Brandt, Colton McCarthy and Nic Rasovic. Defenseman Mitch Oliver is back too along with goaltender Jarrod Schamerhorn.
Schamerhorn won’t get the start though, as newcomer and fellow 20-year-old Andrew Shortridge will get the call between the pipes. Shortridge is committed to Quinnipiac University and played in the North American Hockey League last year.
Anthony Brodeur starts for the Vees tonight, his first official start for Penticton after making a relief appearance on Friday in Salmon Arm.
After tonight these two teams don’t play again until November 25th, back at the SOEC on you guessed it, another “Wicked Wednesday.”