Game Preview: GM #38 Vees at Centennials


Game Time: 2:00 pm PST

Location: Nicola Valley Memorial Arena

Radio: Bounce 800 AM

Webcast: Flo Hockey 

Season Series

Sep. 23 Penticton 6 at Merritt 0

Oct. 21 Merritt 4 at Penticton 6

Nov. 4 Penticton 5 at Merritt 2

Dec. 2 Penticton 3 at Merritt 2

Dec. 6 Merritt 1 at Penticton 2

Feb. 4 Penticton at Merritt, 2:00 pm PST

Mar. 9 Merritt at Penticton, 6:00 pm PST

Mar. 22 Merritt at Penticton, 7:00 pm PST

Penticton Vees

GM & Head Coach: Fred Harbinson

Record : GP 37 26-7-2-2, 56 PTS (1st, Interior)

Last Game: 5-2 win at Salmon Arm (Feb. 2)

Home:  16-2-0-0

Away: 10-5-2-2

GF: 141

GA: 83

Power Play: (40/126) 31.7% 1st

Penalty Kill: (24/106) 77.4% 10th

Scoring Leader: Callum Arnott (18-17-35)

The Vees have won back-to-back games and five of their last six heading into Sunday’s game with Merritt. Penticton started the weekend with a 5-2 victory in Salmon Arm at the Shaw Centre.

Simon Meier led the way offensively on Friday, recording his first career hat-trick. Cade Littler and Thomas Pichette (empty net) also scored. Andrew Ness stopped 19 of 21 shots as he picked up his 11th win.

That was a big win Friday, as the Vees sat idle Saturday but got a lot of help on the scoreboard. West Kelowna, two points back of the Vees for first, lost 3-1 to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Vancouver Island. Salmon Arm, who sits third, lost 5-2 in Vernon. Both the Warriors and Silverbacks are off today. The Vees can give themselves some breathing room atop of the Interior with a win this afternoon.

Will Ingemann gets the start today for Penticton. The 18-year-old is 3-0 against the Centennials this season, sporting a 0.86 goals-against average and .962 save percentage over those three games. He has allowed just two goals in three games against Merritt.

Zack Stringer will sit out today’s game due to precautionary reasons. Stringer is dealing with a lower-body issue after taking an awkward hit early in Friday’s game. All signs point to him returning next Saturday. Atilla Lippai will dress in Stringer’s place.

The Vees are 5-0 against Merritt in the season series. Ryan MacPherson leads the way with nine points (4-5-9) against the Centennials. Brother Connor MacPherson is right behind him with eight points (3-5-8).

Merritt Centennials

Head Coach: Brian Passmore

2023-24 : GP 37 14-19-3-1, 32 PTS (7th, Interior)

Last Game: 5-1 win vs. Trail (Feb. 3)

Home: 9-8-2-0

Away: 3-12-1-0

GF: 119

GA: 147

Power Play: (28/127) 22% 9th

Penalty Kill: (28/136) 79.4% 7th

Scoring Leader: Michael Felsing (13-30-43)

Merritt has won back-to-back games over Victoria and Trail heading into today’s game against Penticton. The Centennials earned a 5-1 win on home ice last night over the Smoke Eaters.

Merritt has split their last six games going 3-3 and are wrapping up a three-game home stand today. Next weekend the Centennials visit Cranbrook and Trail. Important stretch of games coming up for Merritt, as after today, the next four are against the two teams directly above them in the standings. The Centennials are seventh, but just two points back of sixth-place Cranbrook and 10 points back of fifth-place Trail.

The Centennials have been busy tweaking their roster in the last month. Tyler Wishart, Ranvir Gill-Shane, Timothy Kim, Martins Kruklitis, Jacob Smith have left, and Merritt’s front office has added Matthew Gillard (Salmon Arm), Ray Hamlin (Coquitlam), Luke Pfoh (Cranbrook), Jack Ziliotto (Alberni Valley), and Maks Percic (Vernon). A midseason retool, as they hope to climb the Interior standings.

Merritt is looking to snap a 25-game losing streak to Penticton. The Centennials last beat the Vees on February 15, 2019.