This weekend’s match ups are a carbon copy of last weekend for the Penticton Vees.
A trip to Kal Tire Place in Vernon Friday to face the Vipers, then hosting the Salmon Arm Silverbacks at the South Okanagan Events Centre Saturday.
Vees captain Tyson Jost said the Vees know they likely won’t cruise to 6-0 and 6-1 victories seven days apart.
“They are a really good team. We can’t look at the 6-0 win. We can’t look into that too deep,” said Jost, who with teammate Dante Fabbro will play in the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Prospects game later this month in Surrey. “They are going to come out really hard. They are fighting for a playoff spot. We’ll be looking for a good game.”
The Vees captain added they need to come out with an even better performance.
“I expect nothing less from this team,” said Jost as the Vees are third in the CJHL top-20 rankings.
The Vipers are battling for the final playoff spot in the Interior Division and they are behind the Trail Smoke Eaters by one point. The Smoke Eaters have two games in hand. At Kal Tire Place, the Vipers are 6-11-1-0 and 16-21-3-0 overall. Rookie Odeen Tufto leads the Vipers in scoring with 16 goals and 41 points in 39 games, ranking him 24th among the BCHL leaders.
Jost said having good, sharp practices is the start to ensuring they are ready.
Against the Silverbacks, 22-10-2-2, last weekend’s win was the first by such a large margin for the Vees, who also earned a 4-3 win in early December. Jost said the players in the dressing room believe in their ability against the Silverbacks, who have 4-2 and 5-2 wins against them.
“We know we have a good team. We know Salmon Arm is a good team,” said Jost. “We played a really strong game on Saturday and who knows, maybe they came out a little flat. I expect more from them and it will be another great game.”
“We beat ourselves. From start to finish Penticton looked good, after two periods the game looked very much over,” said Silverbacks coach Brandon West to the Salmon Arm Observer.
West said he felt the Vees did things that make them a top team — they were very good defensively and offensively. He added when you don’t have the puck you are not going to get a whole lot of opportunity against a really good team.
“We felt that they didn’t have an off night,” said West. “We weren’t going to capitalize if we weren’t going to show up to play on both sides of the puck.
“They are a very balanced team that has some real high-end talent,” he continued. “You want to make sure that you have a good start and get some opportunity early and cash in when you get an opportunity. You also have to be very good on the defensive side of the puck. You can’t give up time and space to guys that can shoot like they can.”
Puck drop at the SOEC is 6 p.m.
Vees notes: The Three Vees blog reported that forward Easton Brodzinski is back in the line-up after missing last Saturday’s game against Salmon Arm with a lower-body injury. Mitch Brooks will miss this weekend with a upper-body injury and Demico Hannoun is still two weeks away as he recovers from a broken arm. The team is still waiting to learn the results from an MRI on Gabe Bast, who has been limited to six games this season with a lower-body injury. The Vees have called up Mitchell Williams from the Northwest Giants of the BC Major Midget League to fill a void up front. The 18-year-old has put up 17 goals and 30 points in 24 games. He will wear number 97 tonight.