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GAME PREVIEW: Vees Head To West Kootenays To Open World Championship Weekend Against Smoke Eaters

PHOTO: Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography

The Penticton Vees (31-10-1-1) make their final trip to the West Kootenays and open up a World Championship Weekend home-and-home against the Trail Smoke Eaters (25-13-2-1-1) on Friday night at the Trail Memorial Centre.

Each team will be paying homage to their past with the Vees donned in their 1955 World Championship vintage jerseys while the Smoke Eaters honour their 1939 and 1961 World Championship teams.

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 2019/20 REGULAR SEASON VS. TRAIL

Friday, September 6th @ Trail Memorial Centre (4-1 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, September 7th @ Trail Memorial Centre (7-1 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Wednesday, October 23rd @ South Okanagan Events Centre (4-2 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Wednesday, November 6th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (4-1 Smoke Eaters) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, January 10th @ Trail Memorial Centre (7:00 PM)

Saturday, January 11th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (6:00 PM)

The Vees make their way into Friday night after earning their fourth consecutive win to open up the New Year, posting a 3-1 victory over the Langley Rivermen on Wednesday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre. David Silye, Lukas Sillinger and Liam Malmquist each found the back of the net for Penticton in the win while Carl Stankowski turned aside 19 of the 20 shots thrown his way in his 8th win of the season in the blue paint.

Penticton and Trail play the fifth of their six-game season series tonight with the Vees coming out on top in three of the four meetings so far this season. The Smoke Eaters took the last matchup by a 4-1 score with Steve Holtz tallying the lone Vees marker while Yaniv Perets turned aside 25 of the 28 shots he faced in goal.

Vees Leading Scorers:

Jay O’Brien (15-32-47)

David Silye (16-30-46)

Lukas Sillinger (16-29-45)

Danny Weight (17-26-43)

Jackson Niedermayer (16-16-32)

Last Friday’s win in Salmon Arm was a monumental one for the Vees as it was their 20th victory on the road this season, a feat which has not been done in the BC Hockey League since 2015/16. Coincidently, Penticton also had the last 20-win season while away from home during the 2015/16 season and is only the 9th time a team has eclipsed the 20-win mark on the road. Penticton has won each of their two games in the West Kootenays this season with both victories coming in back-to-back games to begin the season.

Vees captain David Silye comes into the weekend with a strong start to the New Year under his belt. The Arnprior, Ontario native has posted a goal in each of his last three games, scoring 3 goals and 5 assists for 8 points over a three-game point streak. The Clarkson University commit has also tallied points in six of his last seven games and ranks second in scoring on the team with 16 goals and 30 assists for 46 points.

Penticton has started 2020 off on the best note they could have, winning each of their first four games in the New Year. Dating back to ahead of the holiday break, the Vees have won six of their last seven games while possessing a seven-game point streak over that span. The Vees have outscored their opposition by a 32-15 over that seven-game stretch while also winning back-to-back games away from home.

The Trail Smoke Eaters come into Friday night’s game after a home-and-home set of wins against the Merritt Centennials, finishing off the set on Saturday night with a 5-2 victory at the Trail Memorial Centre. Owen Ozar registered a hat-trick in the game while Carson Briere and Michael Colella added singles in the win with Logan Terness stopping 26 of the 28 shots he faced in his 19th win of the season.

Smoke Eaters Leading Scorers:

Kent Johnson (29-47-76)

Owen Ozar (19-31-50)

Michael Colella (17-32-49)

Philippe Lapointe (15-25-40)

Tyler Ghirardosi (18-14-32)

The weekend of play between the Vees and Smoke Eaters features the top 6 leading scorers in the BCHL and 7 of the top 10 in the league. Trail forward Kent Johnson leads the pack with 29 goals and 47 assists for 76 points in 38 games played this season, including riding an eight-game point streak into Friday’s night contest. The University of Michigan commit has scored 8 goals and added 16 assists for 24 points over that eight-game span while also collecting 24 multi-point games this season.

Scoring his first career BCHL hat-trick on Saturday night, Smoke Eaters forward Owen Ozar has scored five goals in his last three contests while scoring in each of those games. The Denver University commit is the owner of a six-game point streak, tallying 6 goals and 6 assists for 12 points over that span while being tied for 2nd in power play goals with 9 on the season.

Special teams has played a helping hand in the Smoke Eaters season thus far, ranking 2nd in the league in power play percentage at 25.9%. Trail leads the league in goals on the man advantage with 51 on the season while ranking second in power play opportunities with 197. The penalty kill has also played a large factor, sitting in 3rd at 86.3%, allowing 25 goals against this season.

The Vees and Smoke Eaters will play the fifth of their six-game season series tonight at the Trail Memorial Centre. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM with the game being broadcasted on EZ Rock AM 800 as well as HockeyTV.com beginning with the pre-game show at 6:40 PM with the Voice of the Vees, Trevor Miller.