The Penticton Vees welcome the Prince George Spruce Kings to kick-off a three-game home stand at the SOEC.
The Vees are hot, riding a 10-game wins streak that dates back to September 16th and they’ve yet to lose at the SOEC this season, posting 4-0-0-0 record. The team is well rested too, as they haven’t played since last Saturday, when they picked up a 5-1 win in Chilliwack.
This is the second and final regular season meeting between the Vees and Spruce Kings, as it was Penticton scoring a 5-2 win up in PG back on October 3rd. Penticton hosts the Langley Rivermen tomorrow, while the Spruce Kings end their Interior road trip in West Kelowna Saturday.
The Spruce Kings had a tough start to the season winning just one of their first nine games but seem to have turned a corner. They’ve won two of their last three games, both on the road and in the Interior and narrowly lost 4-3 to Merritt one night ago; they came back from a 3-0 hole. Prince George sits fifth in the six-team Mainland Division one point up on last place Surrey.
This is the Spruce Kings fifth straight road game, as they’re in the midst of a six-game Interior Division road swing. It started last weekend with stops in Trail, Vernon and Salmon Arm and ends this weekend with trips to Merritt, Penticton and West Kelowna.
The Vees come into tonight’s game six points up on Salmon Arm and West Kelowna who are tied for second in the Interior. Those two play each other in West Kelowna sole possession of second place on the line. As mentioned, the Vees have three straight home games ahead of their Island Division road trip next weekend. After tonight they play Langley tomorrow and West Kelowna Wednesday.
Penticton has done well so far against the Mainland Division, owning a 4-0-0 record and have are technically 1-0 at home against the division (that win came as the “home” team at the Showcase). Compounding matters for PG is the fact they’ve struggled in this building. Since the SOEC opened, the Spruce Kings are 0-12-1-2 in 15 games. The last time they took a point home was back in the 2010-11 season, when they earned a 2-2 tie.
Liam McClosky might be able to turn around their fortunes, as the rookie goaltender has been dynamite of late. In two starts last weekend, McClosky stopped 83 of 89 shots in back-to-back 4-3 wins over Vernon and Salmon Arm. Those numbers increased his save-percentage by 20 points, as it now sits at .905.
Zach Driscoll will get the start tonight for the Vees and is perfect in two starts, owning a 2.50 goals-against average and a .904 save-percentage. Driscoll was the winning goaltender in Prince George earlier this month, stopping 22 of 24 shots in his Vees debut.
Pair of Vees are riding hot streaks heading into this weekend. Scott Conway has a league best 10-game point streak which dates back to September 16th. Conway has 10 goals, half of which are game-winners and 20 points during that run. Dante Fabbro has points in his last eight games and is coming off a two-goal performance against Chilliwack. Fabbro leads all BCHL defensemen in scoring, with five goals and 16 points in 11 games. Tyson Jost is second in the BCHL scoring race, with 23 points and is just one point back of the leader Sheldon Rempal of Nanaimo.
Gabe Bast won’t play tonight, as he’s still nursing a lower-body injury and his status will be re-evaluated after the weekend. Chris Gerrie will also miss a second straight game after suffering a lower-body injury last Friday. Coaches are optimistic that Gerrie can play Saturday.