Tonight – Wenatchee Wild (4-3-0) at Vernon Vipers (2-2-2)
7 p.m. at Kal Tire Place in Vernon
Presented by the BCIHL
These teams met on opening night in Vernon where the Wild staged a third-period comeback to beat the Vipers 5-3. That night, Cristophe Tellier had a goal and two assists in his BCHL debut and was named first star of the game, while teammate Christophe Fillion had a pair of goals as well. Last year, the teams split their season series 3-3-0. They then met in the second round of the Fred Page Cup playoffs where the Wild went down 2-0 before winning four straight to take the series and eventually win the league championship.
Wenatchee’s Lucas Sowder leads the league in points with 11 in seven games. His 10 assists are also the most in the league. Matt Gosiewski is right behind him with 10 points and Christophe Fillion and Cristophe Tellier have nine points each and are tied for third in the BCHL. Wild defenceman Brandon Koch is tied for the lead in points among all blueliners with seven and his teammate Chad Sasaki’s three goals are tied for most among BCHL dmen.
Vernon’s leading scorer is second-year forward Josh Prokop who has five points in six games. Josh Latta and Alex Swetlikoff lead the Vipers with three goals each.
From the Broadcast Booth
Wenatchee Wild play-by-play broadcaster Arch Ecker on the Wild’s strong offensive start, despite so many new faces in the lineup:
“The Wild have as strong a coaching staff as you’ll find with a proven record of helping players develop and reach their goals. They have been historically competitive, which makes recruiting a bit easier. They treat their players as well as anyone in junior hockey. Wenatchee is a desirable place to play and that helps attract a high caliber group of players.”
Ecker on the Wild’s opening-night victory over the Vipers:
“The effectiveness of the Wild’s power play really stood out and so did the composure and confidence of the team after falling behind 2-0. The most fun part was watching [Christophe] Fillion and [Cristophe] Tellier work together.”
Ecker on the rivalry between the Wild and Vipers, especially after last year’s playoff series:
“Vernon is a team that the Wild have a lot of healthy respect for. They have a deep, talented roster, they work very hard and they have great leadership with one of the top coaches in the league. Some rivalries can be bitter, but in my opinion, the rivalry with Vernon is a clean, healthy one.”
Vernon Vipers play-by-play broadcaster Graham Turnbull on the Vipers 2-2-2 start to the season:
“For about five out of the six games, the Vipers have been a really good team. They’ve played really well and, at times, they’ve looked exponentially better than their opposition. They’ve had sequences in games where there’s been a few minutes worth of lulls, which has allowed pucks to go in. I don’t think [head coach] Mark Ferner is upset at how the team has performed for the first six games, it’s just been their ability to put teams away and extend leads that’s been a bit of an issue.”
Turnbull on the Vipers opening-night loss to the Wild:
“It was a heck of a hockey game. Those two teams know how to put on a show. There’s never a lack of skill and speed between them. It’s just an exciting brand of hockey whenever they get to go head to head.”
Turnbull on who has stood out on the Wild so far this season:
“Christophe Fillion and Cristophe Tellier came in and have made a pretty significant impact for them. You know what you’re going to get out of guys like Lucas Sowder and Matt Gosiewski, but to see Fillion and Tellier come in and add some offensive depth to their team makes them a bigger threat. They’re a little under-sized, but they’re extremely quick and extremely talented.”
Turnbull on who on the Vipers is poised for a breakout year:
“Alex Swetlikoff would probably be my choice for a breakout player this year. He’s six-foot-three, has such amazing skill while handling the puck and has the reach advantage. He’s very smart. I’m expecting him to have a pretty good year overall and probably have a significant jump in his numbers compared to last year.”
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 five member teams: 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.