Contributed by Jesse Adamson for BCHL Communications
Tonight – Prince George Spruce Kings (20-12-2-4) at Penticton Vees (22-10-1-2)
7 p.m. at South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton
Presented by the BCIHL
Penticton’s Owen Sillinger has points in his last four games with six goals and one assist in that span, although he will not play tonight or the next game due to suspension. Sillinger’s 37 points in 35 games this year are tied for 18th in the league and tops on his team. He also leads his team in goals with 19. Penticton’s second leading scorer is defenceman Nicky Leivermann who has 27 points (7-20-27) in 34 games, good enough for seventh among BCHL defencemen. Fellow blueliner Jonny Tychonick is tied for ninth in the league among defencemen with 24 points (5-19-24) in 27 games. Vees goalie Adam Scheel leads the league with a save percentage of .932 and ranks second with a 2.08 goals-against average. He has 15 wins and two shutouts, while playing the fifth most minutes in the BCHL this season.
Prince George’s Ethan de Jong is 17th in league scoring with 38 points (12-26-38) in 32 games. Ben Brar is second on the team in scoring with 35 points and leads the team in goals with 16. Ben Poisson is third in team scoring with 34 points (14-20) in 38 games. Layton Ahac’s 21 points (5-16-21) is tied for 17th among BCHL defencemen. Spruce Kings goaltender Evan DeBrouwer leads the league with 16 wins and ranks fifth in the BCHL in both save percentage, with .918, and goals-against average, with 2.32. He’s also played the second-most minutes in the league.
What’s at Stake
Prince George is in second place in the Mainland Division with 46 points. They’re two back of the first-place Langley Rivermen (48 points), two ahead of the third-place Surrey Eagles (42 points) and four ahead of the fourth-place Chilliwack Chiefs (40 points).
Penticton sits in fourth place in the Interior Division with 47 points. They are nine points clear of the fifth place West Kelowna Warriors (38 points), one point behind the third-place Trail Smoke Eaters (48 points), six points behind the second-place Wenatchee Wild (53 points) and 10 points behind the division-leading Vernon Vipers (57 points). After winning 12 games in a row, the Vees have lost five straight games.
Prince George Spruce Kings head coach Adam Maglio on facing the Vees tonight:
“They’re definitely a high-octane team. They’re deep up front and on the back end. We know they play teams hard and they check pretty tight. I think we match up well against them, I think we play a similar style. We take care of our end and play a 200-foot game. We’re excited for the matchup and getting on the road and playing them in their rink.
“We’re looking to create a little more offense up front. It’s certainly going to be a simple hockey game, a simple road game. We’re going to focus on getting a lot of pucks to the net and getting traffic to that net and obviously taking care of our own end is going to be important against Penticton.”
Maglio on facing a team for the first time this deep into the season:
“It’s a different process than playing a divisional team you’ve seen six or seven times throughout the year at this point. I think with video and being able to watch a lot of their games we do have a good feel, we’ve compiled a pretty good gameplan through video. It’s exciting though, it’s an exciting rink to play in for our guys, it’s an exciting matchup. We’re kind of both at the top of our divisions here, battling for the top. It’s certainly going to be a competitive, good game.”
Maglio on his team’s success so far this year:
“We really have a good group here. We have a young team on paper for sure, but we have a lot of good character and buy-in with our group. I think just having that good dressing room, and our guys are everyday guys, so they work extremely hard through the week, they work hard to prepare for games and they work extremely hard in the games.”
Penticton Vees head coach Fred Harbinson on facing the Spruce Kings tonight:
“They’re a very structured team, a deep team. They’re 7-2-1 over their last 10 games so they’ve been obviously playing well as of late. It seems like they’re very disciplined in the way they play the game.
“We need to execute. We’ve had a lot of lineup changes over the last few weeks here due to different circumstances. Obviously we lose (Owen) Sillinger, our captain, now for two games with a suspension. (There are) a lot of different guys that aren’t in the lineup, so other guys have to accept new roles and find ways to execute in those roles.”
Harbinson on preparing for a team they haven’t played yet this deep in the season:
“It’s no different than them preparing for us. Now days you watch so much video on teams, there’s really no hidden secrets. We’re not as familiar with Prince George as we would be with West Kelowna or Vernon or somebody in our division, but at the same time we’re pretty knowledgeable of who they are and how they play.”
Harbinson on how his team can get back to winning games despite injury woes:
“We’ve had massive changes to who’s available in our lineup. It’s been emotionally draining too when you lose players for the year in (Ryan) O’Connell and (Grant) Cruikshank…You have younger, inexperienced players that are playing in roles that maybe at the beginning of the year they were not tapped for and now they’re getting that chance to elevate into those situations. It’s up to them to try to execute when given those opportunities and it’s up to us as coaches to continue to work with our guys to make them better and make them be able to handle these situations. There’s certain players we will get back and there’s certain players we won’t. Maybe the plan has changed a little bit from the beginning of the year, but the goal of wanting to win a championship has not and that will never change here.”
ABOUT THE BCIHL
The British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League was created with the purpose of offering a venue for competitive, high-calibre hockey that’s close to home for players beyond their junior careers. The league was launched in 2006 and now includes six member teams: Eastern Washington University, Selkirk College, Simon Fraser University, Trinity Western University, the University of Victoria and Vancouver Island University. This season, 25 graduates with over 2750 games of BCHL experience are pursuing their academic and athletic goals in the BCIHL. To learn more about the BCIHL and playing opportunities for BCHL grads, visit BCIHL.ca.