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- The Vees play two of their final three games before the Christmas break on the road, and it starts tonight in at Kal-Tire Place with a match up against the Vipers. This is the Vees first trip to Vernon this season, as the first three games of the season series were at the SOEC; the Vees won the previous three meetings.
- It’s a two-for-one game day special, as prior to the Vees-Vipers game, Canada West face the United States at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Ontario; puck drop is 4pm PST. Both teams enter the game 1-0 records, as Canada West scored a 7-3 win over the Czechs Sunday; USA beast the Czechs 6-0 yesterday. Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro each had two points in their opener. You can watch the game, for free, on Fasthockey.com
- The Vees snapped a two-game winless “skid” last Saturday, scoring a 4-3 double-overtime win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The Vees were up 3-0 and 3-1 heading into the third period against the ‘Backs but the visitors rallied to force OT. Scott Conway saved the day, scoring his fourth OT-winner in three-on-three, as the Vees picked up their first win against the Silverbacks this season. Vernon is coming off a 7-4 road win in Langley Saturday, as they were led by Odeen Tufto, who bagged four points in the win; Jimmy Lambert had two goals and three points.
- Though the ‘Backs have given the Vees some fits, they’ve enjoyed quite a bit of success against Vernon. As mentioned, the Vees have won the first three games in the season series, scoring 3-2, 4-3 (OT) and 3-0 wins at the SOEC. Kal-Tire Place has been a comfort of sorts in recent memory too, as the Vees won all three regular season games in Vernon last year and have won seven of their last 10 trips to the “snake pit.” The Vees are 12-3-0-0 on the road, the best road record in the BCHL, but they’ve dropped two of their last three away from the SOEC.
- Vernon has won three of their last five home games but on the flip side have lost two of their last three at home, including a 5-2 loss to Salmon Arm on December 9th; Vernon is 9-8-0-1 at Kal-Tire Place this season.
- Patrick Kane’s 26-game point streak has been well publicized but how about the Vees’ Scott Conway? The 20-year-old enters Tuesday riding a 30-game point streak that stretches all the way back to the Vees home opener on September 16th, coincidentally enough against Vernon. Conway has 28 goals and 64 points in his 30-game streak, which is far and away, the longest streak in the BCHL this season.
- The Vees will be short-handed yet again entering tonight’s game, as they’ll be missing six regulars from their line-up. They’ll only dress four regulars on the blue-line as well, as they’ve called up Daniel Stone and Ryan Morrell from the Osoyoos Coyotes; they’re the highest scoring defenseman on the Coyotes. Not dressing due to injury is Gabe Bast, Dixon Bowen, Seamus Donohue and Demico Hannoun. Dante Fabbro and Tyson Jost are away with Team Canada West at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge.
- Penticton native and 17-year-old Nathan Iannone makes his Vees debut tonight in Vernon. The forward plays next door at the Okanagan Hockey Academy for the Prep Red team in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League. Iannone has 10 goals and 20 points in 18 games in the CSSHL. He’s also plays with a noticeable edge, as he has 72 penalty-minutes in those 18 games; 3rd most in the CSSHL. He played in the pre-season for the Vees when they hosted the Brooks Bandits and didn’t look out-of-place. Expect the AP to bring plenty of energy to the line-up.
- With only four regular defensemen in the line-up the Vees will once again need big contributions from their veterans. Colton Poolman, David Eccles and Dom Masellis will need to be a factor on the blue-line. Poolman is a tone setter back there and the 20-year-old is coming off of one of his best outings of the season on Saturday. He’ll likely see a lot of the Odeen Tufto line, which has been hot for Vernon. The D-core needs to keep it simple with clean exits and not get burned by unforced turnovers.
- Anthony Brodeur gets the start in goal and will be putting his undefeated record on the line. Entering tonight’s game, Brodeur is 16-0-1-0 on the season, sporting a 1.91 goals-against average and owns a .934 save percentage; he’s 2-0 against Vernon, owning a .912 save percentage.
- The Vipers will be missing Liam Finlay from their line-up tonight, as he too is playing for Canada West. In his absence, Odeen Tufto has led the way, as the forward now leads the Vipes in scoring with 14 goals and 36 points. Tufto has seven points (3-4-7) in his last three games and points in four of his last six.
- Andrew Shortridge is the likely starter for the Vipers, as he’s been a workhorse between the pipes for Vernon; he’s seventh in games played (24) and fourth in minutes played (1466). Shortridge has started all three games against the Vees this season, sporting a 0-2-0-1 record, with a 3.31 goals-against average and owns a .903 save percentage.