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GAME PREVIEW: Warriors Host Vees On Teddy Bear Toss Night

PHOTO: Lisa Mazurek/Lisa Mazurek Photography

The West Kelowna Warriors take part in their annual Teddy Bear Toss when they host the Penticton Vees in the final game of their season series on Friday night at Royal LePage Place.

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Warriors vs. Vees 2017/18 Schedule:

Friday, September 29th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (2-1 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, November 3rd @ Royal LePage Place (4-3 Warriors) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, November 17th @ Royal LePage Place (11-3 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Wednesday, November 29th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (3-0 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, December 8th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (5-2 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, December 15th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

The Warriors and Vees play in the final game of their season series with Penticton owning four wins in five games thus far. These two teams met up just one week ago at the South Okanagan Events Centre with the Vees coming away with a 5-2 victory. Jared Marino and Chase Dubois scored in the game for West Kelowna in the defeat while Nik Amundrud got the start, turning aside 27 of the 31 shots he faced in the game in the loss.

West Kelowna comes into Friday night looking to get back in the win column after a pair of losses last weekend to Penticton on Friday before dropping a 5-3 decision to the Trail Smoke Eaters on Saturday night at Royal LePage Place. Lucas Cullen, Jared Marino and Michael Lombardi scored for the Warriors in the loss while Nik Amundrud made 19 saves on 23 shots in his 10th loss of the season.

Warriors Leading Scorers:
Jared Marino (12-18-30)

Chase Dubois (12-14-26)

Michael Ryan (3-21-24)

Parm Dhaliwal (6-14-20)

Jake Harrison (5-14-19)

Friday night marks the annual Teddy Bear Toss for the Warriors, a game that has had a lot of success for the team on and off the ice. Fans are encouraged to bring a new or gently used stuffed animal with the stuffies being collected by the Momma’s for Momma’s after the Warriors score their first goal and distributed to their charities. West Kelowna comes into the Teddy Bear Toss game having won their last three games on Teddy Bear Toss night with their last loss coming in 2012 against the Smoke Eaters.

Jake Harrison had a big week as the Warriors 3rd-year defenseman solidified his collegiate future as he committed to the University of Michigan Tech Huskies for the 2019/20 season. Harrison, 18, has played in a total of 141 regular season games in the BC Hockey League, registering 15 goals and 69 points to go along with 142 penalty minutes. The West Kelowna, BC native has 39 games of playoff experience between the BCHL playoffs, the Western Canada Cup and the RBC Cup National Championship.

Some lineup news for the Warriors as the team announced on Wednesday that defenseman Cody Paivarinta (’98) has been added to the roster. The 19-year-old is a veteran of 95 career Western Hockey League games with the Prince Albert Raiders collecting 2 goals and 9 points to go along with 77 penalty minutes in that span. Paivarinta will wear number 8 for the Warriors and make his Warriors and BCHL debut on the back end tonight against the Vees.

The Penticton Vees enter Friday night’s matchup with a 22-6-2-1 record and sit in 2nd place in the Interior Division with 47 points. The Vees just had their 12-game winning streak snapped on Saturday night when they fell by a 4-0 score to the Vernon Vipers at Kal Tire Place. The shutout was the first of the season for the Vees with Adam Scheel making 24 saves on 28 shots for his 6th loss of the season in 32 minutes of action before being relieved by Nolan Hildebrand who made 8 saves on 8 shots in his 27 minutes of duty.

Vees Leading Scorers:
Owen Sillinger (13-17-30)

Nicky Leivermann (7-20-27)

Jonny Tychonick (5-18-23)

Dakota Boutin (12-10-22)

Grant Cruikshank (11-10-21)

Amazingly enough, these two teams will not see each other in 2018 (unless it is a playoff series) as Friday night marks the final game of the season series, one in which the Vees have won four of the five games. Penticton has outscored West Kelowna 23-10 over the five games with Dakota Boutin leading the charge in goal scoring against the Warriors with 5. Nicky Leivermann possesses 3 goals and 9 points against the Warriors this season to lead the Vees in points against West-K while Massimo Rizzo has collected 3 goals and 8 points in the season series thus far.

The Vees scored twice on the power play in the last meeting against the Warriors but the month of December has not been too kind to the Vees and the power play. Penticton’s man advantage is 2 for their last 20 (10.0%) on the power play, which spans throughout the month of December. The Vees penalty kill has been strong, however, and ranks #1 in the league at 89.1% and is 14/16 against the Warriors this season.

Penticton will also have a new face in the lineup as they signed forward Ocean Wiesblatt and will make his Vees debut on Friday night. The Vancouver, BC native spent 42 games with the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) where he registered 5 goals and 13 points to go along with 70 penalty minutes. The 18-year-old forward is committed to play collegiate hockey at the University of Vermont.

The Warriors and Vees drop the puck at 7:00 PM with the game being broadcasted live on Shaw TV Okanagan for the first time in Warriors history. For a chance to be seen on live TV, get your tickets online at wkw.goticketpro.com, at the Warriors office, by calling (250) 769-7051 or at the box office ahead of the opening face-off.