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GAME PREVIEW: Vees Face-Off Against Warriors For First Time This Season

The Penticton Vees (11-2-0-0) make their first trip up Highway 97 this season and will battle the West Kelowna Warriors (12-3-0-0) for the first time in over 13 months in a matchup of the two best records in the BC Hockey League on Tuesday night at Royal LePage Place.

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2021/22 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE vs. WEST KELOWNA

Tuesday, November 23rd @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

Saturday, December 18th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

Wednesday, December 29th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

Friday, December 31st @ South Okanagan Events Centre (7:00 PM)

Saturday, January 1st @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

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

Wednesday, March 16th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (6:30 PM)

The Vees come into Tuesday night’s game in top spot in the Interior Conference after a 7-1 victory over the Cranbrook Bucks at Western Financial Place on Sunday afternoon. Seven different goal scorers in the likes of Fin Williams, Luc Wilson, Ryan Hopkins, Casey McDonald, Josh Nadeau, Frank Djurasevic and Thomas Pichette combined for the help in the win. Kaeden Lane had one of his most solid performances in between the pipes for the Vees, turning aside 29 of the 30 shots thrown his way in his 7th victory of the campaign.

Despite the Vees and Warriors only being 45 minutes apart, the two teams have not seen each other in over 13 months with the last game taking place on October 17th, 2020 during the Okanagan Cup. The last season series the two teams had was Penticton defeating West Kelowna in each of the six games they faced off against one another before the Vees took a best-of-seven playoff series against the Warriors in the postseason.

Vees Leading Scorers:

Luc Wilson (10-9-19)

Josh Nadeau (10-7-17)

Bradly Nadeau (9-7-16)

Fin Williams (4-12-16)

Brett Moravec (3-10-13)

Continuing an impressive stretch of play to begin the season with the opening goal in Sunday’s victory over the Bucks was Vees captain Fin Williams, who was named to the BCHL’s All-Star Team on Tuesday morning. The North Vancouver, BC native was selected as one of 18 players who made the team, one from each franchise in the BCHL, with a fan vote slated to select the remaining parts of the teams. Williams, a University of Michigan commit, has collected a point in every game but one so far this season, leading the Vees with 12 assists and is two points shy of his total during the Penticton Pod last season.

Tuesday night’s game has all the makings to be one of the better games in the BCHL this season with the top two records in the league going head-to-head. After a 7-goal outburst on Sunday in Cranbrook, the Vees head into Royal LePage Place as the Interior Conference’s leading scoring team at 64 goals for while West Kelowna trails Penticton by one goal at 63 on the season. The Vees have been the stingiest team in the BCHL this season, allowing just 29 goals against in 13 games played, an average of 2.23 goals against.

Adding into the Vees success offensively has been the strong play of their power play over the course of the season and in particular in the last ten games, scoring a power play goal in each of their last nine contests. The Vees sit at an even 25% on the man advantage, ranking in a tie for 7th in the league in power play percentage while scoring 16 goals on the power play this year, paced by forwards Josh Nadeau and Luc Wilson, who lead the way with 4 power play markers.

The West Kelowna Warriors make their way into Tuesday’s game with the most wins in the league with 12 and a split of the weekend against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks at the Shaw Centre, concluding with a 2-0 shutout victory on Saturday night. Alexi Van Houtte-Cachero and John Evans each found the back of the net in the 3rd period for the victory while rookie Justin Katz turned aside all of the 26 shots thrown his way for his 1st career BCHL shutout and 3rd win of the season.

Warriors Leading Scorers:

Felix Trudeau (11-10-21)

Elan Bar-Lev-Wise (9-9-18)

Tyler Cristall (11-5-16)

Marcus Joughin (1-13-14)

Alexi Van Houtte-Cachero (7-5-12)

The Warriors have had a strong November to lead them to a 12-3-0-0 record and second spot in the Interior Conference, winning 8 of their last 9 games. West Kelowna has been particularly good at home, having not lost a game inside of Royal LePage Place and holding a record of 5-0-0-0 on home ice. The Warriors have outscored their opponents by a 29-12 margin while at RLP and trail only the Vees, who also have a perfect record on home ice this season. A big reason for the success at home has been the power play where West Kelowna possesses a 35.7% man advantage at home, trailing only the Prince George Spruce Kings in power play percentage on  home ice

A lengthy point streak follows Warriors forward Felix Trudeau into Tuesday night’s action as the second-year Warrior has collected a point in each of his games but one so far this season and is riding an 11-game point streak heading into the night. The University of Maine commit earned 9 goals and 8 assists for 17 points over that 11-game span while leading the team in points with 21 on the campaign. The Terrabonne, Quebec native ranks in a tie for 5th place in the league in points while being tied in 4th place (along with teammate Tyler Cristall) in terms of goal scoring with 11 markers.

Another long point streak that carries into Tuesday night is that of veteran forward Tyler Cristall, who brings a stretch of 13 consecutive games with at least a point into play. The St. Lawrence University commit has found the back of the net with consistency, tying Trudeau with 11 goals for the team lead while scoring 9 of those markers in his last 9 games played. The Vancouver, BC native is just two goals shy of his career best in the league, set with the Warriors during the 2019/20 season where he had 13.

The Vees and Warriors clash in the first of seven meetings between the two teams on Tuesday night at Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM with the game being broadcasted live on Bounce Radio 800 as well as BCHLTV.ca beginning with the pre-game show at 6:40 PM.