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Preview: Vees face Trenton; RBC Cup playoff berth up for grabs

The Penticton Vees (1-0-1) can clinch a Semi-Final berth at the RBC Cup with a win over the Trenton Golden Hawks (0-2-1) this afternoon (12:30 pm PT / 3:30 pm ET) at the Cobourg Community Centre.

The Vees are third in the standings with three points but a regulation win would vault them into second and ahead of the Cobourg Cougars; even an overtime win would clinch Penticton fourth place at worst. The Golden Hawks are fighting for their season, as a loss would eliminate them from playing on the weekend.

The Vees are coming off a 3-2 overtime win over Cobourg on Monday, as Taylor Sanheim was the OT hero, scoring his second of the game, six and a half minutes into the extra frame. The Vees led 1-0 after one and were ahead 2-1 early in the third, before the Cougars tied it late on a power-play to push the game beyond regulation.

Trenton is coming off an 8-0 loss Tuesday afternoon to the Brooks Bandits and only have a point from their first three games of the tournament. A regulation win would be the best case scenario for the Golden Hawks but even an overtime win keeps them alive, as they would then have the tie-breaker over Penticton; they would still need the Vees to lose tomorrow to Terrebonne.

The Vees won’t make any line-up changes this afternoon, as they will dress 11 forwards and seven defencemen. Sanheim marked his return to the line-up Monday with two goals, as he was credited with the Vees’ first goal after Cobourg scored on their own net.

Mat Robson is starting once again this afternoon and he has had a stellar tournament thus far. Robson owns a 1.85 goals-against average and a stellar .939 save percentage.; his numbers are second only to Brooks’ Mitch Benson.

Trenton has had a rough go thus far, as their 14 goals against is a tournament high, as they’re tied in that category with the Terrebonne Cobras. Surprising considering they allowed the second fewest goals against (119) in the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) this season. Also what may be a bit of a surprise is their struggles, like Penticton, when it comes to offensive production. Through three games the Golden Hawks have only scored four goals. This from a team that had the second most goals in the OJHL regular season (255); the Vees hope they don’t find their offensive touch this afternoon.

The Golden Hawks are one year removed from losing out in the RBC Cup Semi-Finals to the Lloydminster Bobcats. Trenton is back a year later after finishing first in the OJHL’s North East Conference in the regular season and advancing all the way to the OJHL Final. They lost out to the Georgetown Raiders in the OJHL Final but won the Central Region championship, the Dudley Hewitt Cup, on home ice. The Golden Hawks got a measure of revenge, beating the Raiders in the Final to advance to the RBC Cup.

The Vees are looking to find their groove offensively too, as they’ve scored just four goals in two games but two of those were own goals by the opposition. No, this isn’t an offensive juggernaut line-up but they know they can produce more than they have half way through this tournament. The coaching staff will once again be preaching shot generation and offensive zone time this afternoon.

Fans can catch the game, starting with the pre-game show at 12:10 pm PT, on EZ Rock AM 800. The online stream is available HERE. The game is also free to watch on Hockey Canada’s RBC Cup website HERE. Don’t forget if you’re in Penticton, you can watch the game at Tug’s Tap House on Martin Street, or at the Barking Parrot Bar at the Lakeside Hotel.

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