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GAME PREVIEW: Vees Host Express In Battle Of BCHL’s Top Teams

PHOTO: Damon James/BCHL 

The Penticton Vees (41-11-1-1) look to improve their winning streak to 11 games in a battle of the top two teams in the BC Hockey League with the Coquitlam Express (43-8-1-1) visiting the South Okanagan Events Centre on Friday night.

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REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE vs. COQUITLAM

Wednesday, November 20th @ Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre (7-2 Express) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, February 14th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (7:00 PM)

The Vees come into Friday night’s tilt against the Express after registering their 10th consecutive win in a 5-4 overtime victory against the West Kelowna Warriors on Sunday afternoon at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Jackson Niedermayer scored twice in the game while David Silye and Conner Hutchison tallied in regulation before Nico Somerville scored the overtime winner. Yaniv Perets turned aside 33 of the 37 shots he faced in his 24th victory of the season in the Vees crease.

Penticton will look to even up their two-game season series against Coquitlam after falling by a 7-2 score to the Express at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex back in late November. David Silye and Tyler Ho each found the back of the net for the Vees in the defeat while Yaniv Perets took the loss in goal, making 12 saves on 17 shots with Carl Stankowski turning aside 12 of the 14 shots he faced in relief.

Vees Leading Scorers:

Jay O’Brien (23-38-61)

David Silye (20-39-59)

Lukas Sillinger (19-36-55)

Danny Weight (24-30-54)

Jackson Niedermayer (20-21-41)

Sunday’s win helped the Vees to 10 victories in a row while also securing Penticton’s 9th consecutive Interior Division pennant, which stands as a BCHL record. The Vees placed at the top of the Interior Division regular season standings since the 2011/12 season while this season marks the 5th time in that span that Penticton has posted 40+ victories.

The overtime victory on Sunday afternoon was the second straight win in extra time for the Vees and 6th on the season, tying the Salmon Arm Silverbacks for most overtime victories on the season. Nico Somerville scored his second overtime winning goal as a member of the Vees, with the American International College commit registering a goal and an assist in the win.

An assist in the win against West Kelowna improved the point streak of forward Jay O’Brien to six games. The first round selection of the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft has scored 4 goals while adding 5 assists for 9 points in that span while the Boston University commit has also registered points in 12 of his last 13 games played. The Hingham, Massachusetts native ranks 3rd in the league in points with his 61 on the season.

The Coquitlam Express enter Friday’s game with a BCHL-best 43-8-1-1 record after a 9-2 victory over the Merritt Centennials on Tuesday night at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. Greg Lapointe tallying a pair of goals in the game while Will Margel, Josh Wildauer, Wyatt Head, Cooper Connell, Danny Pearson, Adam Trotman and Connor Gregga added singles. Jack Watson turned aside 27 of the 29 shots he faced in his 11th win of the season between the pipes.

Express Leading Scorers:
Greg Lapointe (27-29-56)

Josh Wildauer (20-32-52)

Connor Gregga (14-29-43)

Adam Trotman (14-26-40)

Massimo Rizzo (17-22-39)

Three points in Tuesday’s victory helped second-year Express forward Josh Wildauer to a seven-game point streak. The Lake Superior State University commit has registered 6 goals and 7 assists for 13 points over that span while recording four multi-point contests in that time. The Dearborn Heights. Michigan native has compiled 13 multi-point games this season while scoring in each of his last three contests, including a four-point affair against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on February 4th.

Another seven-game point streak was continued with a three-point effort on Tuesday night as Adam Trotman pushed his season-long stretch of games with points even further. The Maple, Ontario native has collected a pair of goals to go along with seven assists for nine points during those seven contests, including a goal and two assists for three points in Merritt during their mid-week matchup.

Special teams is a big reason to Coquitlam’s strong play this season, sitting 2nd in the league in power play percentage while the Express top the BCHL standings in penalty killing at 89%. Coquitlam has scored a power play goal in each of their last two games, going 3-for-9 on the man advantage and helping them to a 24.8% power play on the season while the PK has gone 7-for-7 over the last two games.

The Vees and Express will wrap up their season series at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Friday night with a 7:00 PM face-off. Tickets are available for purchase at the Valley First Box Office as well as online at ValleyFirstTix.com.