After last night’s frustrating loss in Trail, how about a date with the defending national champions to get you jacked up? Well that will be the case tonight as the Penticton Vees will host the Rivermen tonight at 5:00 PM at the SOEC. For Rivermen fans they sure hope their team comes out with plenty of fire in their belly after last night’s double OT loss against the ‘Smokies. After watching the tape from last night I still find it hard to believe the result did not go in Langley’s favour. But there is no time to dwell on it if you’re a Rivermen player. You got to have a short-term memory and get focused for a Vees team that sits in first place in the BCHL and are coming off a 7-1 win at home against Merritt last night.
Langley’s line of Puskarich-Campbell-Robinson have been lights out in the past four games combining for 22 points. If they play anything like they did last night the ‘Men will have a great chance to win tonight. Puskarich in particular has been red-hot scoring in five straight games and has a six game point streak right now with 10 points in that span. Robinson has points in four straight.
With the turn over on the Vees roster this season compared to last years legendary squad, they are definitely more human. They have just four returning players from a season ago, but Fred Harbinson has brought in a great recruiting class (once again) that has done a great job filling in some big shoes with regards to last years RBC Cup winning team. Right now they boast not only the leagues best record, but they have the best goal differential at +28 and have one of the best goaltenders in the league in Chad Katunar who is tied for the league lead in wins with 16.
LANGLEY: 5th place in Mainland- GP: 27 Wins: 10 Losses: 12 Tie: 0 OTL: 5 Points: 25 GF: 87 GA: 95
PENTICTON: 1st place in Interior- GP: 29 Wins: 19 Losses: 7 Tie: 0 OTL: 3 Points: 41 GF: 98 GA: 70
LANGLEY: PP- 10th place 24/127= 18.90% PK- 5th place 25/136= 81.62%
PENTICTON: PP- 12th place 23/129= 17.83% PK- 4th place 17/96=82.29%
WHO TO WATCH FOR:
LANGLEY: Evan Campbell. For my money he played his best game in a Rivermen uniform last night. Before the third period started he already had four points and looking back on some of the chances he had late in the game he could have ended up with seven or eight points. It was one of those games where every time he stepped on the ice something happened. Let’s hope that is the case again this evening.
PENTICTON: Wade Murphy. He has been a Rivermen killer in his career putting it rather nicely. In the five games he played against the ‘Men last year (including when he was in Victoria) he not only recorded a point every game but racked up five goals and 10 assists. He is having a fantastic year again with the Vees as he leads the team in scoring with 35 points in 24 games.
The Rivermen will get a boost to the line-up as Mitch McLain is set to return after missing the last two games. After wearing the headset last night with colour commentary duties, he is very eager to get back on the ice and he will be a welcome addition. It would be something else if the Rivermen can finish off this four game trip with a win against the defending champs. The team is set to play three games in a row at home next weekend starting on Friday and a win tonight would have the team riding high coming home. PG and Coquitlam play against each other tonight in PG, and those are the two teams the ‘Men are chasing, which makes this game tonight even more crucial. It will be a rare 5:00PM face off from the beautiful South Okanagan Events Centre. The game can be seen live on http://www.fasthockey.com and on http://www.ustream.tv/channel/langley-rivermen-hockey.