Series preview – Trail vs. Penticton

#4 Trail Smoke Eaters vs. #1 Penticton Vees
Game one – Friday, March 16 – 7 p.m. at South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton

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Season Series

Penticton got the better of Trail throughout the course of the 2017/18 regular season, winning four of the six meetings between the two clubs, including an overtime victory and a tie.

Last Time They Played

The Vees took a 3-0 home victory on Feb. 9. Adam Scheel made 23 saves for his third shutout of the season while Wyatt Sloboshan, Cassidy Bowes and Jonny Tychonick scored in the game. Vees captain Owen Sillinger collected a pair of assists in the win.

First-Round Performers

Penticton Vees:

F Taylor Ward (4-3-7)
Ward led the Vees in points in their opening round series against the Coquitlam Express and helped Penticton to a first-round sweep. Ward’s first-round highlight came in a five-point performance in game two, including his first career postseason hat trick in a 9-2 Penticton victory.

D Jonny Tychonick (1-4-5)
The University of North Dakota commit led the Vees backend with a goal and five point in the first round and was the only Vee to collect at least one point in each of their four contests. Dating back to the regular season, Tychonick has points in each of his last five games.

G Adam Scheel (4-0/1.50 GAA/.929 SV%)
Scheel had a strong regular season and continued his stingy play into the playoffs. The Lakewood, Ohio native did not allow more than two goals in the four-game series against the Express, turning aside 78 of the 84 shots he faced in the series and leads all crease keepers with a 1.50 goals-against average.

Trail Smoke Eaters:

F Kale Howarth (3-5-8)
The Columbus Blue Jackets 2017 draft pick was dominant in an opening round sweep of the West Kelowna Warriors. Howarth collected a point in each of the four games of the series including a three-point performance in game one of the first round and the game-winning goal in overtime.

F Tyler Ghirardosi (5-1-6)
No one found the back of the net with more frequency for the Smoke Eaters in round one than Tyler Ghirardosi. He led the team with five goals in four games, capped off by a game-four hat trick in West Kelowna. The Trail native is currently tied for third in the league in playoff goal scoring with five tallies.

D Jeremy Lucchini (1-5-6)
After 175 career regular-season games, Lucchini was Trail’s most productive defender in the opening round. The four-year BCHL veteran collected six points against the Warriors, including three assists in the deciding game four.

From the Broadcast Booth

Penticton play-by-play broadcaster Craig Beauchemin on the importance of home-ice advantage in this series:

“Everyone knows the impressive record the Vees have on home ice year-in and year-out, so getting the chance to open the series at the South Okanagan Events Centre in front of huge crowds can be a game-changer. Trail has quickly turned Cominco Arena into an incredibly difficult place to play as well…Their fans are excited about their rejuvenated franchise and every game between Penticton and Trail this year was exciting. I’d expect nothing less throughout the course of this series.”

Trail play-by-play broadcaster Wylie Henderson on the city’s response to this year’s team:

“There is a buzz about this team in town and people are excited. [They are] averaging just under 2,000 fans per game this season. This city is amped up and ready for a great series…The South Okanagan Events Centre provides such a tough atmosphere to play in and will be a difficult place to start a series, but, in saying that, a victory or two on the road could help pack Cominco even more once the series shifts back to Trail next week.”