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Playoff Preview: Vees, Cents’ Series Opener Tonight

The wait is finally over. The Penticton Vees play their first game of the 2017 Fred Page Cup playoffs tonight, when they host the Merritt Centennials in Game One of their Interior Division Semi-Final.

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: Mar 17th at SOEC, 7 pm

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

Vees’ Preview: President, GM & Head Coach Fred Harbinson

The Vees have been a patient group, waiting 21 days between the end of their regular season and the start of the playoffs. The Cents’ have had to wait, somewhat, as they haven’t played in 10 days after sweeping the West Kelowna Warriors in the opening round of the playoffs.

Penticton had their fair share of success against Merritt in the regular season, winning six of seven games, including all three meetings at the SOEC. Despite the lopsided season series numbers, it was a lot closer than you may think. Of the seven games played between the two, two went to overtime and three were one-goal games; only one game was decided by more than two goals.

Vees’ Preview: Nicholas Jones

This is the third meeting in the post-season between the Vees and Cents’ since 2012 and the Vees won the previous two. They beat Merritt in five games in the Interior Final five years ago and back in 2014, the Vees swept the Cents’ in the opening round of the playoffs.

The one silver lining from the time off was the chance for the Vees to get healthy. Mitch Meek and Joe Leahy are back on the blue-line after sustaining injuries in February. Meek had been out since early February and Leahy missed the last week of the regular season. Taylor Sanheim is very close to returning to the line-up after missing most of February.

Vees’ Preview: Mat Robson

Mat Robson will get the start for the Vees and is coming off a stellar regular season, posting a 35-10-1-3 record, to go along with a 1.94 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage; he also had six shutouts.

Cents’ Preview: Gm & Head Coach Joe Martin

Merritt caught the attention of the BCHL with their sweep of the defending RBC Cup champion Warriors in the opening round. The Cents’ were led by their top-line of Brett Jewell, Michael Regush and Tyler Ward. The three combined for 12 goals and 22 points in just four games against the Warriors, with Ward leading the team with seven goals and 10 points. The Cents’ however aren’t a one trick pony, as all but just two players had at least a point against West Kelowna last round.

Jacob Berger played every minute of every game against the Warriors, owning a 2.95 goals-against average and sported a .918 save percentage. Berger won one of the five games he played against Penticton.

Vees’ Regular Season Scoring

Nicholas Jones25-37-62
Grant Cruikshank32-21-53
Chris Klack13-34-47
Owen Sillinger17-24-41
Ty Amonte17-20-37

Centennials’ Playoff Scoring

Tyler Ward7-3-10
Brett Jewell3-3-6
Michael Regush2-4-6
Stephan Seeger2-3-5
Mike Faulkner1-4-5

Fans can listen to tonight’s game on EZ Rock AM 800 locally, or on the iHeartRadio Canada app for their iPhone, iPad, smartphone or tablet. If you’re streaming through your web browser, go to the EZ Rock AM 800 website. The game is also available via the BCHL webcast at www.HockeyTV.com

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