The Penticton Vees will be looking to keep a bunch of bulldogs on a short leash.
The Bulldogs from Alberni Valley (6-6-2-1) are visiting the South Okanagan Events Centre Friday at 7 p.m. The teams last met in Chilliwack during the BCHL Showcase with the Vees earning a 3-2 come-from-behind victory.
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Wednesday’s 3-2 double-overtime loss to the Wild is the first time this season the Vees have lost back-to-back games.
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Facebook Live video of double overtime
“To lose the game like that is not a good feeling,” said Vees forward Dakota Boutin, who scored the 2-2 equalizer at 5:32 of the third period. “We came out a little slow but I felt we played well throughout the whole game. Just one bad lucky break and it’s in the net.”
The Wild outshot the Vees 15-5 in the second period and took a 2-1 lead into the intermission.
The Vees opened the scoring when Owen Sillinger, the game’s third star, capitalized on a turnover near centre ice while killing a five-minute major to Cassidy Bowes. The co-captain motored into the Wild zone and beat Austin Park with a deke. The Wild countered with their own short-handed tally at 18:18 when August Von Ungern was able to handle the puck near centre ice after it hopped over the stick of a Vees player. Once in on Scheel, Von Ungern tucked a back under the goalies glove. Less than a minute later, the Wild took a lead on Murphy Stratton’s third of the season.
Boutin said they have to forget about Wednesday’s defeat and focus on the Bulldogs.
“That’s what you have to do following a loss, you have to bounce back,” he said. “Expect us to bounce back this weekend.”
The Bulldogs last played on Oct. 22 when they hosted the Victoria Grizzlies, losing 4-1. Offensively, the Bulldogs are led by rookie Brandon Bergado, who has five goals and 11 points in 15 games. Right behind him are defenceman Mitchell Oliver and Connor Welsh each with 10 points respectively in 15 games. John Hawthorne has the better numbers of their goalies with five wins, a 2.25 goals against average and a .934 save percentage.
After Friday’s game the Vees, who sit seventh in the Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings, will head to the Kootenays to take on the Trail Smoke Eaters, who, heading into the weekend, are 10-4-1-0. The Smoke Eaters were routed 9-0 by Vernon on Oct. 22, but will play in Merritt before hosting the Vees.
“Penticton is always going to be the team,” said Smoke Eaters coach Cam Keith to the Trail Daily News. “They have so much talent. Every year they seem to reload with six, seven new kids who are interchangeable on the top line of any team in this league.
“(Vees head coach and GM) Fred Harbinson is a legend in this league. He gets his kids to play all the time. There’s never a game that’s easy against Penticton. They’re never a team that you can’t play 60 minutes against because if you play 58 minutes, they’re going to have four goals in those two minutes. They always have that kind of firepower.
“Our strategy is always the same against Penticton: keep pucks along the walls, chip pucks behind their D and try to win the battles down low and try to create offence in a non-transition game where it’s a little bit slower, grinding style.”