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Preview: Vees, Smokies wrap up season series

Penticton, BC: The Penticton Vees (34-10-2-3) are finally back at the South Okanagan Events Centre after six straight games on the road. After a 4-1 win in Trail Wednesday night, the Vees now host the Smoke Eaters (30-15-4-1) for the sixth and final meeting of the season.

The first period on Wednesday saw the Vees outshoot the Smoke Eaters by a 20-6 margin, but only head into the intermission with a 1-0 lead. Jackson Keane saw the rebound of a Lukas Sillinger shot go off his leg and into the net with just 6.7 seconds remaining in the period.

Early in the second, Jared Nash intercepted a rink-wide feed at the Trail blue line before beating Adam Marcoux with a backhand deke for his 11th of the season just 1:44 into the middle frame.

Trail had a pair of power-play opportunities in the second period, but Nolan Hildebrand held the fort with 15 saves through 40 minutes.

Another early-period goal saw Jack Barnes snap a 23-game goalless drought with a power-play goal 2:03 into the final frame. Trail answered back with a power-play goal of their own three minutes later as Braeden Tuck deflected a shot from Connor Welsh through the legs of Hildebrand.

The Smoke Eaters escalated their play in the third, but Hildebrand turned aside all 12 shots he faced and Wyatt Sloboshan hit the empty net to seal the 4-1 win.

With the win, the Vees kept top spot in the overall BCHL standings with 73 points. Vernon leapfrogged over Wenatchee with their win over Chilliwack Wednesday to reach 71 points. Wenatchee has 70 while Trail sits with 65.

The Vees now have a 3-1-0-1 record against the Trail this season, with both games at the SOEC seeing fans get their money worth. A 2-2 draw in the first meeting saw the first career goal for Michael Campoli tie the game late, while Jonny Tychonick fired home the overtime winner on anti-bullying night in front of 4,342 fans.

Friday’s game is the first of three straight home games for the Vees, who are looking to average 3,000 fans at the SOEC over the course of the 2017-18 season. If an average of 2,824 fans come to the final five games of the year, the Vees will become the first team in CJHL history to average 3,000 fans per game.

Team Statistics

Leading Scorers

Penticton Vees

Owen Sillinger – 26 G 24 A 47 GP

Jonny Tychonick – 8 G 31 A 41 GP

Taylor Ward – 16 G 17 A 37 GP

Trail Smoke Eaters

Ross Armour – 20 G 38 A 44 GP

Kale Howarth – 24 G 33 A 39 GP

Levi Glasman – 20 G 27 A 45 GP

Special Teams

Penticton Vees

Power play – 20.9% (4th in BCHL)

Penalty kill – 86.9% (1st in BCHL)

Trail Smoke Eaters 

Power play – 21.8% (3rd in BCHL)

Penalty kill – 80.9% (13th in BCHL)

Season Series

October 28, 2017 – Vees 1 @ Smoke Eaters 4 Boxscore

November 22, 2017 – Vees 2 @ Smoke Eaters 1 Boxscore

January 12, 2018 – Vees 2 vs Smoke Eaters 2 Boxscore

January 20, 2018 – Vees 3 vs Smoke Eaters 2 OT Boxscore

February 7, 2018 – Vees 4 @ Smoke Eaters 1 Boxscore

February 9, 2018 – Vees vs Smoke Eaters