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GAME PREVIEW: Vees Continue Road Stand In Nicola Valley Against Centennials

PHOTO: Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography

The Penticton Vees head back on the road for a pair of games beginning in the Nicola Valley as they face-off against the Merritt Centennials on Friday night at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.

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REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE VS. MERRITT

Friday, September 13th @ Nicola Valley Memorial Arena (7:00 PM)

Sunday, October 27th @ Nicola Valley Memorial Arena (2:00 PM)

Friday, November 29th @ Nicola Valley Memorial Arena (7:00 PM)

Saturday, November 30th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (6:00 PM)

Friday, January 17th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (7:00 PM)

Friday, January 24th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (7:00 PM)

The Vees come into Friday night’s matchup against the Centennials after earning back-to-back wins to open the BCHL’s regular season against the Trail Smoke Eaters. A 4-1 victory on Friday night was followed by a 7-1 triumph on Saturday which saw multi-goal games from Jay O’Brien and Liam Malmquist. Danny Weight, Conner Hutchison and Steve Holtz added singles in the win while Derek Krall turned aside 29 of the 30 shots he faced in his 1st victory over the 2019/20 season.

Penticton picked up five of a possible six wins in their season series over the 2018/19 campaign. The Vees earned a win in each of the three contests played at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena while picking up two wins in three tries at the South Okanagan Events Centre. The Vees hold a record of 24-6 against the Centennials over their last five years of regular season meetings.

Vees Leading Scorers:

Liam Malmquist (2-3-5)

Danny Weight (1-4-5)

David Silye (1-3-4)

Jay O’Brien (2-1-3)

Carson Kosobud (0-3-3)

It was an outstanding weekend for the Vees as well as new forward Danny Weight, who is tied atop the BCHL’s scoring race at 5 points. The Lattingtown, New York native earned a five-point game on Saturday night as he tallied the game’s opening goal and four assists after that, including having a part in each of the Vees first four goals of the game. The Boston College commit also leads the league in power play assists with three after the opening two games.

A pair of multi-point games has Vees forward Liam Malmquist tied for the league lead in points as well with two goals and three assists for five points. The Edina, Minnesota native led off the season with a pair of assists before picking up three points in the Vees 7-1 victory on Saturday night, scoring twice and adding an assist for a three-point effort. The University of Wisconsin commit comes into this season after tallying 23 goals in 24 games with Edina High School last season.

Offence for the Vees came in bunches over the weekend but the goaltending also stood tall as Yaniv Perets and Derek Krall combined to allow just two goals over the 120 minutes played. Perets made 22 saves on 23 shots on Friday night as the Quinnipiac University commit collected his first career BCHL win while Krall turned aside 29 of the 30 shots thrown his way on Saturday night to complete back-to-back wins for the Vees.

The Merritt Centennials enter Friday night’s game after opening their season last Friday with a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Wenatchee Wild at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. Vincent Guy opened the scoring in the game before Wenatchee rattled off three straight goals to pick up the win. Ryan Winter was strong in goal for the Cents, turning aside 35 of the 37 shots he faced in his first loss of the season.

Centennials Scoring Leaders:

Vincent Guy (1-0-1)

Joey Berkopec (0-1-1)

Daniel Tkac (0-1-1)

The Centennials are coming off of one of the best regular seasons in franchise history, finishing with a 36-15-4-3 record and 2nd place in the Interior Division standings. Eight players have returned from last year’s team including forwards Ben Ward, Rylan Van Unen, Daniel Tkac, Vincent Guy, Payton Matsui and Brett Roloson. On the back end, Talon Zakall and Joey Berkopec are remaining with the acquisitions of Olson Werenka and Troy Quinn adding veteran presence.

A shuffle behind the bench for the Centennials saw Barry Wolff take over for Joe Martin as the team’s Head Coach and General Manager. Wolff, who previously coached with the Coquitlam Express in the BCHL, was at the helm of the Swan Valley Stampeders in the MJHL before moving back to BC. Wolff traded for his leading scorer with the Stampeders in the likes of Matt Osadick, who tallied 63 points in 45 games during the 2018/19 season. Before that, the University of Maine commit saw time with Team Canada West at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in 2018.

September is the quietest month of the season for the Centennials, playing just 7 of their 58 regular season games during the BCHL’s opening month of the year. Wenatchee will be a heavily seen foe over the course of September, as the Centennials and Wild face-off three times during the month before the games start to pick up for Merritt with 11 coming in October and moving throughout the year.

The Vees and Centennials play the first of their six-game season series on Friday night with puck drop scheduled for 7:00 PM at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. The game can be heard live on EZ Rock AM 800 as well as viewed on HockeyTV.com with the pre-game show beginning at 6:40 PM with the Voice of the Vees, Trevor Miller.

The Vees home opener is slated for Friday, September 27th against the West Kelowna Warriors. Contact Director of Ticketing & Merchandise Laura Carleton for more information on season tickets and watching the Vees live this season.