When the Penticton Vees lineup at centre ice at the South Okanagan Events Centre Wednesday, staring at their Wenatchee Wild foes will be as if they are looking themselves in the mirror.
“They play the same type of style we are, fast when they get up the rink. They have good transition,” said Vees forward Ryan Sandellin. “They are pretty physical as well.”
The teams recently met for the first time in the B.C. Hockey League season on Oct. 21 in Wenatchee with the Wild skating off with a 4-2 win. The Wild (9-5-0-1, 19 points, fifth in the Interior Division), are tied with the Vees (9-2-0-1, 19 points), but have played three more games.
“It was a good matchup. We’re excited to get a little revenge if we can play well enough,” said Sandellin. “We’re excited to get a little payback.”
The Vees are glad they don’t have to wait long to face the Wild again. Sandellin believes if they are good with their details and play their systems, that will give them a chance to win. Vees co-captain Owen Sillinger learned the Wild play a fast game and were good against them.
“At the same time, I thought we played a good game too,” said Sillinger. “We just didn’t play a full 60 minutes, and we had to capitalize on our chances. I think we just made too many mental errors. Lack of communication in our D-zone. They capitalized on their chances.”
Sam Morton scored the winner for the Wild on the power play at 10:08 of the second period. Vees scorers were Jack Barnes, his second of the season, and Luke Reid, his first. The Vees led after the opening period.
Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson said the team played pretty well, but along with errors made, they were a bit fatigued on the blueline. They have been playing with five defenceman for three weeks. Six minutes into the second period Kenny Johnson was ejected for delivering a blow to the head of a Wild player.
“The game kind of turned from that point. It was unfortunate,” said Harbinson. “They are a good team playing at home. Now they come into our building. We will be without another defenceman, (Joey) Leahy is back in town, but he won’t be ready for (Wednesday’s) game. Kenny is getting a four-game suspension.”
The Vees will also be without forward Chris Klack this week as he recovers from an injury. Harbinson insisted they won’t change how they play, but added they can’t afford to make unforced errors.
“The team that makes the fewest mistakes will come out with two points,” he said.
As for Johnson’s suspension, Harbinson said it is deserved.
“Kenny is a good kid. plays hard and it was an unfortunate hit. he deserves four games. Those kinds of hits have to come out of the game,” he said. “Anything towards the head, we don’t condone. I don’t think it was malicious. It’s something our league has to continue to look at. He understands that.”
Vees notes: A couple of alumni accomplished firsts in their respective leagues. Defenceman Griffin Mendel scored his first National Collegiate Athletic Association goal for Denver University Pioneers in a 5-1 win over Lake Superior State on Oct. 21 … Hunter Miska earned his first professional win in the American Hockey League as the Tucson Roadrunners defeated the Chicago Wolves 4-3 on Oct. 21.