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Preview: Vees start weekend series against Wenatchee

Penticton, BC: The Penticton Vees (20-8-2-1) have won back-to-back games following a weekend sweep of the Trail Smoke Eaters, and now look for revenge against the team that ended their winning streak last week, the Wenatchee Wild (19-10-2-0).

Saturday the Vees hosted Trail to the South Okanagan Events Centre, using a three-goal second period to power themselves to a 3-2 win.

Andre Ghantous and Jackson Niedermayer scored just two minutes apart to open the scoring for Penticton, before Eric Linell scored a shorthanded marker with just 44 seconds left in the period.

Early in the third, Lukas Sillinger was handed a five-minute major blow to the head penalty, ending his night. It was his first game since October 10 as he was returning from injury, and he has since been given a four-game suspension for the hit.

The Smoke Eaters scored once on the ensuing power play before adding another goal with a minute left in regulation, but the Vees held on for the 3-2 victory.

Wenatchee was also in action that night, winning 5-4 over the Vernon Vipers on the road. After the Vipers took a 4-3 lead just 42 seconds into the third period, the Wild would score twice in 22 seconds to take the lead and hold on for the win.

The win was Wenatchee’s sixth in a row, and 10th in their last 11 games. The lone blemish was a 3-2 setback in Trail November 16. The recent surge has vaulted the Wild up the Interior Division standings as they’re now just three points back of the Vees for first place.

The two teams met just nine days ago at Town Toyota Centre, a 4-2 Wenatchee win. That night the Vees turned the puck over multiple times in the defensive zone, leading directly to Wenatchee goals. 

Cassidy Bowes and Eric Linell scored for the Vees in the loss while Jack LaFontaine stood on his head with 35 saves. While the Vees took just three penalties in the game, that was all the Wild needed to score a pair of power-play goals.

Penticton’s lineup will short as the team is missing Massimo Rizzo, David Silye and Mason Snell who are in Bonnyville, Alberta representing Team Canada West at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge. Equipment manager Brendon Kerr is also with Canada West.

Following the game the Vees will return home and get set for the annual Teddy Bear Toss game at the SOEC. After the Vees first goal, fans are encouraged to throw stuffed animals or warm articles of clothing onto the ice. They will be collected and donated to the Salvation Army, and distributed to families in need in the South Okanagan.

Team Statistics

Leading Scorers

Penticton Vees

James Miller – 15G 26A 31GP

David Silye – 13G 27A 31GP

Eric Linell – 19G 19A 33GP

Wenatchee Wild

Lucas Sowder – 11G 22A 30GP

Matt Gosiewski – 19G 11A 29GP

Josh Arnold – 12G 17A 26GP

Special Teams

Penticton Vees

Power Play – 21.7 per cent (3rd in BCHL)

Penalty Kill – 82.9 per cent (6th in BCHL)

Wenatchee Wild

Power Play – 20.5 per cent (5th in BCHL)

Penalty Kill – 84.1 per cent (4th in BCHL)

Season Series

November 28, 2018 – Vees 2 @ Wild 4 Boxscore

December 7, 2018 – Vees @ Wild

December 8, 2018 – Vees vs Wild

January 16, 2019 – Vees @ Wild

February 1, 2019 – Vees vs Wild

February 20, 2019 – Vees vs Wild