The Penticton Vees welcome the Merritt Centennials to the SOEC for the first of seven meetings between the two divisional foes. This marks the first of three games in Penticton between these two teams and the first of three match ups this month; they’ll face-off in a Halloween weekend home-and-home.
The Vees have been off since September 25th, when they beat the Chilliwack Chiefs 2-1 in overtime at the Bauer BCHL Showcase and are making their much anticipated return home. This is the Vees’ first home game since their home opener 16 days ago. The Vees won 3-2 on that night against the Vernon Vipers to open their home schedule.
It was another sweep for the Vees at the Showcase beating Chilliwack as mentioned and also beating Alberni Valley 4-1 on September 24th. As a franchise, they’re 8-0-0 at the Showcase dating back to the inaugural event in September of 2012.
Tyson Jost and Anthony Brodeur both had great showings in Chilliwack and that didn’t go unnoticed, as they were both given honourable mentions for the BCHL Player of the Week Award. Jost had a hat-trick against Alberni Valley and finished with four points on the weekend. Brodeur won both his starts and stopped 56 of 58 shots he faced.
Tonight will future two teams with two very potent top lines in the early going. The Vees trio of Jost, Scott Conway and Chris Gerrie have combined 10 goals and 25 points in six games. Jost and Conway are one, two in team scoring and Gerrie sits fifth.
The dynamic trio of Zak Bowles, Colin Grannary and Gavin Gould have been lights-out for the Cents’. They occupy the top three spots in the team scoring race and have scored 18 goals in eight games. To put that into perspective, the rest of the Centennials have combined for 17. That trio torched the West Kelowna Warriors for fifteen, yes FIFTEEN, points in their 9-1 win Wednesday at Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.
There’s been a lot of change behind those three, as they make up half of the returning players on the Cents’ roster. The only other returning forward is Nick Fidanza and the other two familiar faces are Malik Kaila and Tyrell Buckley on the blue-line.
Change has been the off-season theme for the Cents’ as 16 new players were ushered in, including a new Head Coach in Joe Martin. Martin was an Assistant to Luke Pierce last season but Pierce has now moved on to the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League.
There’s been even more change just this week, as Martin has added defensemen Ryan Coghlan and Mark O’Shaughnessy and has also signed goaltender Cole Kehler. Kehler made his Cents’ debut Wednesday and stopped 29 of 30 shots for his first BCHL win.
After tonight these two teams meet back at the SOEC on Friday, October 30th.