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GAME PREVIEW: Vees Renew Rivalry Against Vipers At BCHL Showcase Festival

PHOTO: Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography

The Penticton Vees (8-0-0-0) look to continue their winning streak as they return to the South Okanagan Events Centre for the BCHL Showcase Festival presented by Bauer to take on the Vernon Vipers (3-3-0-0) on Friday night.

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REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE vs. VERNON

Friday, October 4th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (7:00 PM)

Friday, October 18th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (7:00 PM)

Friday, December 13th @ Kal Tire Place (7:00 PM)

Saturday, December 14th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (7:00 PM)

Wednesday, January 1st @ Kal Tire Place (2:00 PM)

Wednesday, January 15th @ Kal Tire Place (7:00 PM)

Saturday, February 1st @ South Okanagan Events Centre (6:00 PM)

Penticton comes into the BCHL Showcase Festival presented by Bauer with eight straight wins to begin the season after back-to-back victories over the West Kelowna Warriors last weekend, including a 7-3 win on Saturday night at Royal LePage Place. Jay O’Brien, David Silye, Vincent Nardone, Tristan Amonte, Colton Kalezic, Conner Hutchison and Lukas Sillinger all tallied in the game for the Vees while Derek Krall turned aside 23 of the 26 shots for his 4th win of the season in between the pipes.

The Vees picked up four victories in their season series a year ago against the Vipers and points in five of the six contests. Penticton earned two wins and a point in all three games on home ice last season against Vernon at the South Okanagan Events Centre before winning twice in three tries at Kal Tire Place in Vernon, including the last meeting between the two sides in February which was an 8-2 victory for Penticton.

Vees Leading Scorers:

Jay O’Brien (5-8-13)

Danny Weight (6-5-11)

Lukas Sillinger (2-8-10)

Tristan Amonte (6-3-9)

David Silye (3-6-9)

The Vees have gotten contributions from everywhere in their lineup this season and during a season opening eight-game win streak, Penticton has from all but three players on the roster. The Vees come into the game ranking 3rd in the BCHL in goals for with 42 on the season while leading the league in goals against with just 14 goals surrendered in 8 games this season.

Adding to the offensive success has been the strong play of Colton Kalezic, who has points in each of his last three games. The Toronto, Ontario native has registered two goals and two assists for four points over the last three contests and sits at three goals and three assists for six points on the season. The Northern Michigan commit has collected points in five of his last six games, scoring three goals in that time.

Tied for the goal scoring lead on the Vees is forward Tristan Amonte, who did so with his 6th goal of the season on Saturday night in West Kelowna. The Norwell, Massachusetts native has gone no more than one game without a goal, scoring three times in the last four games. Amonte currently sits tied for 5th in the BCHL in goal scoring with his 6 markers.

The Vernon Vipers come into Friday night after a 7-2 loss to the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Saturday night at Kal Tire Place. Ben Helgeson and Ryan Shostak scored in the game for the Vipers while Max Palaga started the game, turning aside 16 of the 21 shots he faced in his 3rd loss of the season before affiliate player Kobe Grant came on and stopped 8 of the 10 shots he faced in the 3rd period.

Vipers Leading Scorers:
Cameron MacDonald (3-1-4)

Connor Marritt (2-2-4)

Landon Fuller (2-1-3)

Ben Helgeson (2-1-3)

Connor Sleeth (0-3-3)

Jason McKee came on to replace Mark Ferner behind the bench as the Vipers retooled their coaching staff and players into the 2019/20 season. 9 players are returning from last year’s Vipers squad that made it all the way to the Fred Page Cup Final and claimed the Interior Division Title, including captain Conner Marritt, Matt Kowalski, Ben Sanderson, Ben Helgeson, Logan Cash and Elan Bar Lev Wise while Landon Fuller, Trey Taylor and Brendan Kim are back on the blue line.

After finishing 14th a season ago in terms of goal scoring, compiling 166 goals in 58 regular season games, the Vipers have struggled to find the back of the net to open the 2019/20 campaign. Vernon has scored just 14 goals to begin the season while playing the least amount of games in the league at just 6. While not playing much in September, the Vipers have a busy month of October with 11 games on the docket.

Returning for his third season with the Vipers and after being named captain, forward Connor Marritt will be looked upon for offensive help this season as Vernon lost a lot of their top scorers from a season ago. The Northern Michigan University commit has 2 goals and 2 assists to sit second in scoring with 4 points on the season, recently seeing a three-game point streak snapped in the loss to the Capitals on Saturday.

The Vees and Vipers drop the puck at 7:00 PM from the South Okanagan Events Centre with tickets available at the SOEC Box Office as well as ValleyFirstTix.com. If you can’t make it to the rink, the game will be broadcasted live 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.