BCHL Game of the Week: Vees vs. Bulldogs

Contributed by Jesse Adamson for BCHL communications

Tonight – Penticton Vees (19-5-1-2) @ Alberni Valley Bulldogs (8-14-2-4)

7 p.m. at Weyerhaeuser Arena in Alberni Valley.

Presented by the BCIHL

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Previous Meetings

The Penticton Vees lead the season series 2-0. In the first meeting of the season on Sept. 22, the Vees trailed 2-0 in the first period after Jackson Doucet and Michael Sacco scored early goals for the Bulldogs. Penticton answered with goals from Dakota Boutin and two from Ben Allen, including the game winner midway through the third period, for a 3-2 win. Vees goalie Adam Scheel got the win as he stopped all 19 shots he faced after coming in to the game to start the second period.

The two teams met again on Oct. 27. Alberni Valley went ahead 2-1 with an early third-period goal by Cole Poliziani, but Penticton replied with three goals in a six-minute span, including two from Jared Nash and one from Owen Sillinger, to win the game 4-2. Vees goalie Nolan Hildebrand stopped 31 of 33 shots for the win.

Who’s Hot

Penticton’s Jackson Keane comes into tonight riding a four-game point streak. He has three goals and one assists in that span. Vees forward Owen Sillinger is tied for 14th in league scoring with 29 points in 27 games and he also leads his team with 12 goals. Nicky Leivermann and Jonny Tychonick are tied for fifth in scoring among BCHL defencemen. Leivermann’s seven goals are tied for first among blueliners. Penticton goalie Adam Scheel leads the league with a 1.84 goals-against average and is second in the BCHL with a save percentage of .937.

Alberni Valley forward and BCHL rookie Keaton Mastrodonato leads his team with 19 points (nine goals, ten assists) in 28 games. Mitchell Oliver is second on his team in scoring and 11th in the league in points among defencemen with 18 in 28 games. His six goals are tied for third among BCHL blueliners. Alberni Valley forward Jackson Doucet leads his team with ten goals in 28 games.

What’s at Stake

With a 2-1 win over the Nanaimo Clippers last night, Penticton has won nine straight games and are now in second place in the Interior Division. The Vees trail the first-place Vernon Vipers by three points with four games in hand. They lead the Trail Smoke Eaters and the Wenatchee Wild by a single point in the division. Penticton will be without three key defencemen tonight as Ryan O’Connell, Luke Reid and Jonny Tychonick will all be away at tryouts for Team Canada West for the 2017 World Junior A Challenge.

Alberni Valley sits in fourth in the Island Division with 22 points in 28 games. They trail the third-place Victoria Grizzlies by ten points. The Bulldogs have two wins in their last 15 games and will look to turn that around with a win tonight and try to make up ground on the top teams in the division.

Coaches Comments

Penticton coach Fred Harbinson on facing Alberni Valley tonight:

“We lost three of our top defencemen to the Junior A Challenge, they left this morning, so we have four regular defencemen and we’re putting an affiliate defenceman in there. Right off the bat our forward group will have to play hard and really give a lot of help to our back end and try to manage the puck properly…I think the biggest thing for us is just not taking unnecessary chances, trading offensive chances. I think our offence will come when it presents itself.”

“(Alberni Valley) play a real structured game, they play a smart game. They play really hard, which is a good combination to give yourself a chance to win every night…We’re going into a place where our team over the years hasn’t done great things in Alberni, so hopefully we can change that tonight.”

Harbinson on his team’s nine-game winning streak:

“We had a little bit of a tough stretch at the end of October, beginning of November. There were a couple reasons for it, one, we were playing some good teams and, two, we had quite a handful of guys out of the lineup. What it did was it got our group to come tighter together. We really focused on what each guy’s individual role on the team was…That little tough stretch got us tight and going in the right direction.”

Alberni Valley assistant coach Jeff Dubois on facing Penticton tonight:

“What we’ve noticed (about Penticton) is their team speed. They really get on you. They’re aggressive on your defencemen, they’re quick to pucks. To be in the game you have to play at a real high pace. We’ve played the Vees twice so far this season and actually had two pretty good games. We’ve been in the lead in the third period in both of them. The thing that’s been good for us against Penticton is knowing the level that they’re at is an incentive for us to keep things simple…Playing a good team like that really makes you play with discipline if you’re going to be in the game.”

Dubois on his team’s tough stretch the last few weeks:

“When we were having more success earlier in the season, a lot of that was due to what our special teams were doing for us. Our penalty kill was right near the top of the league and we were in the top few teams in terms of power play. Special teams play has kind of dropped off for us a little bit over the last few weeks…We’ve had a tough time putting the puck in the net recently. We’ve got a young team, we’ve got a young group of forwards who are still kind of finding their confidence offensively.”

ABOUT THE BCIHL

The British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League was created with the purpose of offering a venue for competitive, high-calibre hockey for players beyond their junior and minor hockey careers.

The BCIHL was launched in 2006 and now includes six member teams: Eastern Washington University, Selkirk College, Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria, and Vancouver Island University.

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