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Game Preview: Vees Look for 2-0 Series Lead

The Penticton Vees look for a 2-0 series lead tonight against the Merritt Centennials in Game Two of their Interior Division Semi-Final at the SOEC.

Season Series

October 7th: Merritt 1 at Penticton 5

October 8th: Penticton 4 at Merritt 3 (OT)

October 21st: Penticton 4 at Merritt 2

November 19th: Merritt 2 at Penticton 3 (OT)

December 30th: Merritt 2 at Penticton 4

January 13th: Penticton 2 at Merritt 3

February 1st: Penticton 4 at Merritt 2

Playoff Schedule

GM 1: Merritt 1 at Penticton 4

GM 2: Mar 18th at SOEC, 6 pm

GM 3: March 20th at Merritt, 7 pm

GM 4: March 21st at Merritt, 7 pm

*GM 5: March 23rd at SOEC, 7 pm

*GM 6: March 25th at Merritt, 7 pm

*GM 7: March 27th at SOEC, 7 pm

* If necessary

The Vees’ defence was their best offence one night ago, as they got three goals and five points from their blue-line, highlighted by Gabe Bast’s two-goal performance. Fellow defender Griffin Mendel also scored and James Miller and Jonny Tychonick picked up assists. Captain Nicholas Jones also scored, as the Vees didn’t show any real signs of rust after their three week layoff.

Penticton native Tyrell Buckley was the only Centennial to beat Mat Robson, who was otherwise very sharp, stopping 26 of 27 shots and was named the game’s second star.

Friday was Merritt’s first loss in the post-season, as they swept the West Kelowna Warriors in their Interior Division Quarter-Final series. In fact, last night was the Cents’ first loss since February 19th, snapping a six-game win streak, dating back to the regular season.

A big key to last night’s success for the Vees was neutralizing the Cents’ top-line of Mike Regush, Brett Jewell and Tyler Ward. The three combined for one assist in Game One after going off for a combined 22 points against West-K in Round One. Can the Vees keep that high-flying trio in check tonight?

Penticton won’t make any changes to their line-up as Mat Robson gets the start in net (1-0, 1.00 goals-against average, .963 save percentage), and defencemen Greg Brydon, Kenny Johnson and Sam Rossini, along with forward Taylor Sanheim will not dress.

Merritt will likely start Jacob Berger once again, who was solid despite the loss Friday, stopping 36 of 40 shots. Berger is 4-1 in five playoff games, sporting a 3.13 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage. Zach Court and Ethan King were scratched last night for the Centennials and it’s likely those two won’t see the ice in Game Two.

As mentioned, last was the Cents’ first loss since February 19th and they were 10-15-1-3 when coming off a loss in the regular season. Can they bounce back and earn the weekend split, ahead of games Three and Four at home?

Vees Playoff Scoring:

Gabe Bast2-0-2
Nicholas Jones1-1-2
Griffin Mendel1-0-1
Duncan Campbell0-1-1
Chris Klack0-1-1

Centennials Playoff Scoring:

Tyler Ward7-4-11
Brett Jewell3-3-6
Michael Regush2-4-6
Stephan Seeger2-3-5
Mike Faulkner1-4-5

Tonight’s game can be heard on EZ Rock AM 800 locally, or via the iHeartRadio app on your iPhone, iPad, smartphone and or tablet. The game is also available via the BCHL webcast at www.HockeyTV.com

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