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GAME PREVIEW: Vees Eye Three Straight In Battle Against Smoke Eaters

PHOTO: Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography

The Penticton Vees (2-0-0-0) look to begin their season on a three-game winning streak as they take on the Trail Smoke Eaters (1-2-0-0) for the second of ten times on Thursday 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 (7:00 PM)

Sunday, April 11th vs. Trail (4:00 PM)

Wednesday, April 14th @ Trail (7:00 PM)

Saturday, April 17th vs. Trail (6:00 PM)

Friday, April 23rd vs. Trail (7:00 PM)

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 will look to try and push their season-opening win streak to three games after a few days off from their matchup on Saturday night against the Cranbrook Bucks, a 6-3 win for the Vees in the organizations’ first ever meeting. Tristan Amonte scored twice in the contest while Luc Wilson, Ryan Upson, Ben Wozney and Philippe Chapleau added singles in the winning cause. Kaeden Lane stopped 22 of the 25 shots he faced in the game in his second win of the season.

The Vees and Smoke Eaters have met once on this abbreviated 2021 season, opening up the new campaign last Friday at the SOEC with the visiting Vees earning a 4-1 victory to kick off the festivities. Jacob Quillan, Stefano Bottini and Frank Djurasevic all tallied their first BCHL markers while Tyler Ho added a 3rd period goal to secure the win. Kaeden Lane was solid in the Vees crease, turning aside 27 of the 28 shots he faced in his first career BCHL win.

Vees Leading Scorers:

Tristan Amonte (2-1-3)

Jacob Quillan (1-2-3)

Luc Wilson (1-2-3)

Frank Djurasevic (1-1-2)

Ben Wozney (1-1-2)

20-year-old forward Tristan Amonte is coming off a two-goal performance on Saturday night against the Bucks, his third multi-goal game in his BCHL career. Three of Amonte’s 21 career tallies have come against the Smoke Eaters, including a two-goal effort to begin his career with the Vees back in Trail at the beginning of the 2019/20 season. Amonte, along with teammate Liam Malmquist, were added to the leadership group of the Vees early last week.

The start to the 2021 season has seen a strong beginning in goal with Vees netminder Kaeden Lane picking up a pair of victories in between the pipes to open his Vees career. The Burnaby, BC native has the best numbers of any goaltender in the Penticton Pod, owning a 2.00 goals against average and a .925 save percentage over the course of his two games thus far.

Carrying over from a strong Okanagan Cup, the Vees have rolled that success into the regular season, especially in the penalty killing department, where they have not surrendered a goal in the opening two games. Penticton is a perfect 5-for-5 on the PK and those numbers are even more impressive given that two of those five penalty kills were five-minute majors. The Vees are also one of a handful of teams to have a shorthanded tally in the regular season, joining the Vernon Vipers, who lead with 2, Surrey Eagles and Prince George Spruce Kings.

The Trail Smoke Eaters ended their two-game losing streak to begin the season in a big way on Wednesday night, collecting an 8-3 triumph over the Bucks at the SOEC. Coalson Wolford scored twice in the winning effort while Chase Dafoe, Jordan Hendry, Zach Park, Quinn Disher, and Brady Hunter each found the back of the net once in the win. Logan Terness turned aside 27 of the 30 shots thrown his way in his first win of the season.

Smoke Eaters Leading Scorers:

Noah Wakeford (3-2-5)

Quinn Disher (1-3-4)

Ryan Helliwell (0-3-3)

Coalson Wolford (2-0-2)

Zach Park (1-1-2)

After being held off the scoresheet on opening night against the Vees, Smoke Eaters forward Noah Wakeford has found his offensive game, scoring three goals and five points over the course of his last two contests against the Bucks. The Okotoks, Alberta native was acquired by Trail in the offseason from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and is a proven point producer with 122 points in 160 career BCHL games. Wakeford, who is set to head to Brown University in the fall, scored twice in a three-point effort on Sunday evening before collecting a goal and an assist on Wednesday in the win.

A rookie who has had a productive start to the season for the Smoke Eaters comes in the way of Quinn Disher, a name familiar to the Vees organization as an affiliate player last season. The Fort St. John, BC product is very familiar with the SOEC, having spent three seasons at the Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA) and finished his final season on the prep team with 42 points in 36 games played. Disher has begun his BCHL career with a goal and four points in three games, including a goal and two assists for three points in Wednesday’s decisive win.

The Vees and Smoke Eaters will battle for the second of ten times this season from the SOEC for a 7:00 PM puck drop on Thursday night. Catch the game on EZ Rock AM 800 with the pre-game show getting underway at 6:40 PM while the game is also available to watch on BCHLTV.ca as well as on Shaw Spotlight.