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GAME PREVIEW: Vees Eye Third Straight Win In Battle Against Smoke Eaters

PHOTO: Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography

The Penticton Vees (11-1-0-1) aim for their third straight win as they battle against the Trail Smoke Eaters (6-6-0-0) for the seventh time this season on Monday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

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2021 REGULAR SEASON VS. TRAIL

Friday, April 2nd @ Trail (4-1 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Thursday, April 8th @ Trail (6-0 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Sunday, April 11th vs. Trail (6-1 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Wednesday, April 14th vs. Trail (3-2 Smoke Eaters) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, April 17th @ Trail (3-0 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, April 23rd vs. Trail (4-1 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Monday, April 26th @ Trail (7:00 PM)

Thursday, April 29th @ Trail (7:00 PM)

Sunday, May 2nd vs. Trail (4:00 PM)

Saturday, May 8th vs. Trail (6:00 PM)

Penticton comes into Monday night’s matchup looking for their third straight win after defeating the Cranbrook Bucks by a 3-2 score on Saturday night at the SOEC. Goals from Tyler Ho, Liam Malmquist and Jacob Quillan helped the Vees to the win while Kaeden Lane was terrific in goal once again, making 25 saves on 27 shots en route to the victory.

The Vees and Smoke Eaters will meet for the seventh time on the season with Penticton coming away victorious in five of the previous six meetings, including the last one which was a 4-1 triumph on Friday night at the SOEC. Vees captain Fin Williams found the back of the net twice while Josh Niedermayer collected his first career BCHL tally and Tyler Ho also added a single in the victory. Kaeden Lane turned aside 17 of the 18 shots thrown his way for the victory in between the pipes.

Vees Leading Scorers:

Luc Wilson (8-10-18)

Liam Malmquist (5-10-15)

Jacob Quillan (7-7-14)

Ryan Upson (5-8-13)

Fin Williams (4-7-11)

A goal and an assist on Saturday night, including the game-winning marker for Jacob Quillan, pushed the Vees forward to an even 7 goals and 7 assists on the season. The Quinnipiac University commit has seen 4 of his 7 tallies this year come as game-winning goals, which leads the BC Hockey League. The Dartmouth, Nova Scotia native also collected his fifth multi-point performance of the season and earned a goal and an assist for the third time in his rookie BCHL campaign.

It’s been a strong stretch of offensive play for Tyler Ho, who comes into Monday night’s action with goals in back-to-back games as well as in three of his last four contests. The Lakehead University commit has played a key role in the special teams, being a force on the penalty kill as well as chipping in a power play goal this season. The Surrey, BC native brings plenty of veteran presence to the lineup on a night in, night out basis, playing in 87 career regular season BCHL games.

The Vees have surrendered just two goals against on their penalty kill during the 2021 abbreviated season but when Penticton and Trail collide, the PK has been at its best. The Vees have gone a perfect 17-for-17 on the penalty kill in six games against the Smoke Eaters, including adding a shorthanded goal in the opening game of the season. 2 of those 17 kills have been five-minute majors as well while the Vees power play has been operating at a 17.2% clip against the Smoke Eaters this season, going 5-for-29.

The Smoke Eaters enter Monday’s game in the second half of a back-to-back after picking up their 6th win of the season on Sunday evening in come-from-behind fashion in a 4-3 shootout win over the Bucks. Brady Hunter, Coalson Wolford and Carson Golder each scored in regulation before Chase Dafoe, Kalen Szeto and Wolford all tallied in the shootout for the win. Cayden Hamming stopped 32 of the 35 shots thrown his way before stopping one of the three shooters he faced in the skills competition in the victory.

Smoke Eaters Leading Scorers:

Quinn Disher (6-5-11)

Noah Wakeford (4-6-10)

Ryan Helliwell (3-6-9)

Brady Hunter (5-3-8)

Coalson Wolford (3-5-8)

It was a three-point night in the win for energetic forward Coalson Wolford, who earned his second multi-point performance of the season. The San Jose, California native adds a steady veteran presence to a young Smoke Eaters lineup as the 19-year-old was acquired in the offseason from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The three-point outing matched a career best for Wolford on Sunday, following a goal and two assist effort he had on January 15th, 2020 against the Prince George Spruce Kings as a member of the Silverbacks.

A big pick up for Trail leading into the 2021 season was the addition of defenseman Ryan Helliwell, who joined the team after the Langley Rivermen decided to opt out of play in the new campaign. The University of Notre Dame commit has found his offensive gear as of late, posting 3 goals and 9 points in 11 games this season while sitting in a tie for 8th amongst BCHL defenders in points. The Vancouver, BC native is a veteran of 106 BCHL games but did miss Sunday’s action and could be questionable for the Smoke Eaters on their back end tonight.

Carrying a three-game point streak into Monday’s action, Smoke Eaters forward Brady Hunter has found a new gear to now rank 4th in team scoring with 5 goals and 8 points on the year. The speedy forward from Enfield, Nova Scotia comes into the game with goals in back-to-back contests while his point streak consists of two goals and an assist for three points in that span. Hunter has also accumulated points in five of his last six games while playing in all situations for Trail.

The Vees and Smoke Eaters drop the puck on the seventh of ten meetings between the two sides on Monday night at the SOEC. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM with the game available to listen on EZ Rock AM 800 as well as watch on pay-per-view at HockeyTV.com and Shaw Spotlight beginning with the pre-game show at 6:40.