Powell River Kings 35-7-3-2 (1st) @ Penticton Vees 30-13-2-1 (2nd)
Season Series: This is the first meeting between the Kings and Vees this season and the first half of a home and home. The two will meet again in Powell River on Tuesday, which is the start of a five game Island road trip for Penticton.
Big Story: Both teams are coming off tough lossess one night ago. The Kings fell one goal short in Vernon, losing 3-2 to the Vipers. That was only the second loss this month for Powell River and only their fourth regulation road loss. Meanwhile, Penticton were upset at home by the Coquitlam Express 5-3. The Expess scored five goals on just 14 shots. Suffice to say both teams will be looking to rebound tonight.
The Vees loss last night was just their fifth in regulation at home and sixth in 26 games at the South Okanagan Events Centre. The Vees offensive have shooting the lights out recently. Going into last night's game, Penticton scored 24 goals in their last five games. That's an average of 4.8 goals per game over that span. Also their power-play has been something else.
Penticton is on a 17 game power-play goal streak that dates back to to November 26th. Their power-play is ranked number one in the BCHL, humming along at just over 28 percent. In their last three games the Vees are 8-17 or 47 percent. The Kings who have struggled recently with their penalty-kill and will have to be careful tonight not to get into a rash of penalty trouble.
The Vees are offensively not by a forward but a 18 year old defenseman. Joey Laleggia, in his second season, leads his team in assists (44) and points (65). The slick moving defenseman quarterback's his teams number one power-play unit and is tied in PPG with Brendan O'Donnell (10). The key for Powell River will have to be physical with him tonight and not allow him to be creative.
The Kings are coming off a hard fought loss to the Vipers one night ago. The difference in that game was their special teams. Vernon stung the Kings for two power-play goals, including the game winner by Dylan Walchuk with less then five minutes to go. Just over a minute earlier, Cohen Adair tied the game on a power-play goal of their own. Bottom line is the penalty-kill needs to shore up, especially against the leagues top power-play.
The Kings saw their percentage slip two points down to 88 percent. They do hold top spot but the gap has closed and a couple teams are not far behind. In the last two games along, the Kings have surrendered five power-play goals and are just 9-14 in their last three game on the kill. Playing smart, disciplined hockey will be crucial tonight.
Also Powell River will need to start better right from the opening face off. Last night the first period wasn't good and Vernon controlled the majority of the play on the Kings side of centre. Tonight the Kings will have to stick to their game plan that is laid out before them and not deviate.
Who's Hot: Matt Garbowsky saw his mini two game goal scoring streak and five game point streak come to an end last night. Cohen Adair hit a milestone of sorts last night. Adair scored his 20th goal which is considered a bench mark of sorts. The Vee's Garrett Milan has scored in three straight and Brendan O'Donnell has goals in two straight games.
Injury Report: Brenden Forbes remains out for the Kings. Dan Schuler is also out tonight.
Stat Pack: The suffered just their fourth regulation loss last night when they out shoot their opponent. The Kings edged Vernon in shots 26-22. Also the Kings are just 2-5-0-0 when the trail after two periods. They have done that twice on this road trip. Winning in Trail on Wednesday and last night.
Puck Drop: Pre-game show starts at 6:45pm puck drop is at 7pm on 95-7 Sun FM.