November 5th, the last time the Vees lost, 3-2 in Overtime against Merritt. November 2nd, the last time the team lost in Regulation. October 8th, the last time the Vees visited the Castle, which turned into a 5-4 double overtime victory for the Spruce Kings. A win that helped propel Prince George towards an incredible run, a run that will eventual see them reach the post season for the first time in 2 years. It’s been a wild season so far, and the regular portion of it is about to come to a close. The final 2 games, both against The Vees, will take place tonight and tomorrow at The Castle.
The Spruce Kings head into this game having just dropped a disappointing loss to the Vernon Vipers. The game was the Spruce Kings third in three days, but it was still an effort that Coach Dupas was not pleased to see. Prince George had a solid February that saw them go 8-2. They started off their March schedule by rattling off 2 wins, but unfortunately strong play by Merritt and Chilliwack makes it imperative that the Spruce Kings get at the very least, 1 point out of this weekends festivities. Chilliwack has three games remaining, and if they get 4 out of a possible 6 points with the Spruce Kings getting none, Prince George will be forced to challenge Penticton in the first round.
The Penticton Vees accomplishments this season have been much talked about. The team has rattled off 41 wins in a row, a Jr. A. Hockey record. Also, they just secured the record for most regular season wins. Add into the fact that they already have 3 NHL draft picks, multiple players who have committed to NCAA college’s, 8 players in the top for scoring and a Goaltender who is playing out of his mind and you can see why this is one of, if not the most talented BCHL team of all time.
Now the Spruce Kings do already own a win over the Vees this season, and it did happen at the Castle. It was a 5-4 win in double overtime as Michael Colantone scored with .2 seconds remaining. It was a win which helped raise the Spruce Kings into the team they are today. The Vees have only dropped 3 games since the loss to the Kings, and surely don’t plan on having a repeat of that October 8th night. These two have met 5 other times, with the Spruce Kings losing all of them. The Vees have out scored the Spruce Kings 29-11 this season.
One battle to watch tonight is that of Paul De Jersey and Joey Benik. The two talented forwards sit tied for 1st in league scoring with 94 points. Also, De Jersey is just 1 goal behind Bryce Gervais in the point standings. Gervais has 41 on the season while De Jersey has 40. Paul has gone 8 games without scoring a goal.
-Kirk Thompson wins in bunches. Not since the start of the season, has he lost after picking up a win in his previous start.
-Last time these two teams played, Thompson faced 46 shots in the loss (Feb 26)
-Penticton is the only Interior conference team that Kirk Thompson hasn't beaten.
-Ty Swabb has only played Penticton once this year, a 30 save loss back in January.
-Ryan Reilly, Joey Benik, Steven Fogarty and Cody Depourcq are the only Vees who have played every game this season
-Michael Garteig has 41 wins this season, 11 more than the man who sits in 2nd place, Andrew Hunt. He has the best GAA, the best SP and the most shutouts with 5
-Only 5 Vees sit without scholarships at the moment
Puck drops on tonight's contest at 7pm down at the Coliseum. We hope to see you in attendance for the final regular season games of the year. Be sure to make lots of noise tonight Spruce Kings fans!!!