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GAME PREVIEW: Vees Host Silverbacks With Ticket To Okanagan Cup Final On The Line

The Penticton Vees (11-1-0-0) hope to punch their ticket to the Okanagan Cup final as they host the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (3-8-1-0) in the semi-final at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Friday night.

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PENTICTON VEES OKANAGAN CUP SCHEDULE: 

Friday, September 25th vs. Salmon Arm Silverbacks (7-0 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, September 26th vs. Salmon Arm Silverbacks (8-2 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, October 2nd vs. West Kelowna Warriors (3-2 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, October 3rd @ West Kelowna Warriors (3-2 Vees/SO) (BOXSCORE)

Wednesday, October 7th vs. Vernon Vipers (4-0 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, October 10th @ Vernon Vipers (4-1 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, October 16th @ West Kelowna Warriors (7-3 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, October 17th vs. West Kelowna Warriors (6-0 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, October 23rd vs. Salmon Arm Silverbacks (3-2 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, October 24th @ Salmon Arm Silverbacks (4-2 Silverbacks) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, November 6th @ Vernon Vipers (4-0 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, November 7th vs. Vernon Vipers (6-3 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Semi Final: Friday, November 13th vs. Silverbacks (6:00 PM)

Saturday, November 14th vs. TBA (6:00 PM)

Penticton finished out their round robin play last weekend in combining to outscoring the Vernon Vipers by a 10-3 margin, picking up 4-0 and 6-3 victories, the latest at the SOEC on Saturday night. Quinn Hutson led the way offensively for the Vees, tallying three goals and four points in the game while Devlin O’Brien added a pair of goals in the victory as well. Jacob Quillan had the lone single tally in the win while Yaniv Perets turned aside 18 of the 21 shots thrown his way for his 8th Okanagan Cup victory.

The Vees and Silverbacks play in the semi-final of the Okanagan Cup after Penticton took three of a possible four games against Salmon Arm in the round robin of the tournament. The Vees opened the tournament by outscoring the ‘Backs by a 15-2 margin before meeting once again three weeks ago. Penticton pulled out a 3-2 victory in a tight game on October 23rd before Salmon Arm was the first, and only, team to hand the Vees a defeat, earning a 4-2 victory on October 24th in the Shuswap.

Vees Okanagan Cup Leading Scorers:

Matteo Costantini (5-11-16)

Quinn Hutson (9-6-15)

Liam Malmquist (1-13-14)

Luc Wilson (4-7-11)

Owen Murray (1-10-11)

It was signing day on Thursday as seven Vees signed their National Letters of Intent (NLI) to play collegiate hockey and secure their destination for their post-junior career. Liam Malmquist (University of Wisconsin), Ryan McGuire (Colgate University), Luc Wilson (University of Minnesota State-Mankato), Matteo Costantini (University of North Dakota), Ben Wozney (Bowling Green University), Ethan Martini (Long Island University) and Owen Murray (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) all put pen to paper and signed on to their schools.

Four assists over the course of the final weekend of Okanagan Cup play pushed Owen Murray to double digit helpers in the tournament. The University of Massachusetts-Amherst commit leads all defensemen in the BC Hockey League in points from the blue line, registering a goal and 10 assists for 11 points in 12 games played. The Decker, Manitoba native produced three assists in Saturday night’s victory over Vernon, a tournament-high in points for him as well as his third multi-point game of the Okanagan Cup.

Finishing the tournament with an 11-1-0-0 record, the Vees claimed top spot in the round robin standings and will host each of their games on Friday night and Saturday night. A Vees win on Friday will place them in the Okanagan Cup Final on Saturday night against the winner of the Vernon/West Kelowna semi-final. If Salmon Arm prevails on Friday night, Penticton will host the loser of the matchup between the Vipers and Warriors in West Kelowna.

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks come into the semi-final of Okanagan Cup play after posting a 3-8-1-0 record during round robin play, including a pair of tight losses to the West Kelowna Warriors in the final weekend of the round robin, dropping 3-2 and 3-1 decisions. Mathieu Bourgault scored the lone goal for the Silverbacks in Saturday’s two-goal loss in West Kelowna while Liam Vanderkooi turned aside 20 of the 23 shots he faced in his 1st loss of the tournament.

Silverbacks Okanagan Cup Leading Scorers:

Simon Tassy (5-3-8)

Drew Bennett (6-1-7)

Carter Loney (2-5-7)

Danny Ciccarello (5-1-6)

Joaquim Lemay (1-4-5)

The ‘Backs have a bit of a different look since the last time these two teams met close to three weeks ago. Salmon Arm has added a pair of goaltenders in the way of Cole Schwebius and Owen Say. Schwebius, a Kelowna, BC native, is currently on loan from the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League (WHL), posting a 3.57 goals against average and a .898 save percentage in 21 games played with the Rockets during the 2019/20 campaign. Say, from London, Ontario, registered a 1.90 GAA and a .941 SV% in 36 games with the Powassan VooDoos in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL) and was just acquired earlier in the week.

Salmon Arm also made a pair of additions up front to their lineup over the last few weeks, bringing in 20-year-old forward Sullivan Mack from the Wenatchee Wild and 20-year-old forward Zach Dubinsky, who was slated to play at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) this season. Mack, an Anchorage, Alaska native, posted 44 goals and 70 points in 34 games played at Kimball Union Academy last season while Dubinsky tallied 2 goals and 10 assists for 12 points in 22 games at RPI a year ago.

In addition to the added help up front, the Silverbacks have seen a surge of offence from returning forward Simon Tassy, who has points in five of his last six games and had a five-game point streak snapped on Saturday night in the loss to the Warriors. The Montreal, Quebec native leads the Silverbacks in points with eight so far in the Okanagan Cup, scoring three goals and adding five assists in his 12 games played. During his five-game point streak, Tassy tallied two goals and three assists for five points while registering a goal and two assists for three points in the four games against Penticton during the tournament.

The Vees and Silverbacks will each try to punch their ticket to the Okanagan Cup Final on Saturday night with their Friday night matchup at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Puck drop is slated for 6:00 PM with the game available to watch on Shaw Spotlight as well as online at BCHLTV.ca. There will be a FREE audio stream of the game, as well, on the Vees Broadcast Network at mixlr.com/pentictonvees–2.