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GAME PREVIEW: Warriors Make Final Trip Of Regular Season To Penticton

PHOTO: Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography

The West Kelowna Warriors make their final trip of the regular season to the South Okanagan Events Centre to face-off against the Penticton Vees in another battle of Highway 97 on Friday night.

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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 (7:00 PM)

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

The Warriors and Vees meet for the final time at the South Okanagan Events Centre in the regular season with Penticton coming away with both victories at home and have won three of the four games of the season series. Adam Scheel was outstanding in the last meeting between these two teams, coming just under a week and a half ago. The Lakewood, Ohio native made 33 saves for his 2nd BCHL shutout in a 3-0 loss for the Warriors with Nik Amundrud having a strong performance at his end of the ice as he made 24 saves on 26 shots in the defeat.

West Kelowna comes into Friday night sitting in 5th place in the Interior Division with a 17-13-0-1 record and ended a three-game losing skid on Saturday night with a 4-3 victory over the Wenatchee Wild in overtime on home ice. Lucas Cullen, Willie Reim and Tyler Jutting scored in regulation for the Warriors before RJ Murphy ended the game in overtime for the Warriors 17th win of the season. Nik Amundrud was terrific in between the pipes for the Warriors, making 45 saves on 48 shots for his 8th win of the season.

Warriors Leading Scorers:
Jared Marino (10-18-28)

Chase Dubois (11-13-14)

Michael Ryan (3-18-21)

Parm Dhaliwal (6-13-19)

Chase Stevenson (7-11-18)

There was some good news and bad news when it comes to the Warriors lineup heading into this weekend’s set of games. The good news is the club gets forward Parm Dhaliwal back from an injury that sat him out for three games. The Surrey, BC native has registered 6 goals and 19 points over 27 games played this season. The bad news, forward Chase Stevenson suffered an injury while away at Team Canada West selection camp and will not be available for this weekend, joining forwards Bennett Norlin and Matt Kowalski as being sidelined.

Special teams played a big factor in the last meeting between these two teams and the Warriors power play will have to find a way to work against the league’s best penalty kill. West Kelowna comes into the game going 1/12 on the power play against Penticton over the course of their four-game season series but have had plenty of recent success on the man advantage with power play goals in four of their last five games, going 8/25 over that span.

Nik Amundrud will make his third start against the Vees this season, with all three having come in the South Okanagan Events Centre. The Melfort, Saskatchewan native has been very good against the Vees this season, despite his 0-2 record. Amundrud has turned aside 59 of the 63 shots he’s faced against Penticton so far in those two games, good for a .937 save percentage and will look to pick up his first win against the Vees on Friday night.

The Penticton Vees enter Friday night’s affair sitting in 2nd place in the Interior Division with a 21-5-2-1 record and have won 11 games in a row with their most recent victory being a 5-1 win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Wednesday night at the SOEC. Ryan Sandelin, Taylor Ward, Cassidy Bowes, Jackson Keane and Jared Nash contributed goals for the Vees while Adam Scheel was once again outstanding for Penticton with 22 saves on 23 shots for his 13th win of the season.

Vees Leading Scorers:

Owen Sillinger (13-17-30)

Nicky Leivermann (7-19-26)

Jonny Tychonick (5-18-23)

Dakota Boutin (12-9-21)

Grant Cruikshank (11-10-21)

The Vees are closing in on the top spot in the Interior Division, and the BCHL, with 45 points and sit just two behind the Vernon Vipers who have 47. Penticton is on quite a tear over the past month or so, having won their last 11 straight games. Over that span, the Vees have outscored their opposition by a staggering 53-13 margin and have only allowed more than two goals once over this stretch, which came against the Warriors on November 17th in a 11-3 win.

During the recent stretch of good hockey, the Vees have got plenty of offensive help from third-year forward Taylor Ward, who has points in 10 of his last 11 games including at least a point in four straight games. The University of Nebraska-Omaha commit has scored once and added three assists in his last four games and has 15 of his 19 points on the season in the last 11 games.

Another big reason for the Vees strong play would be in goal and Adam Scheel has been red-hot in between the pipes for Penticton. The Lakewood, Ohio native has won his last 8 starts in a row and has allowed just 10 goals in his last 9 games. During his last 8 games, the University of North Dakota commit has a 1.25 GAA to go along with a .952 SV%. Scheel currently leads the league in goals against average at 1.79 and sits in 2nd in save percentage at .938.

The Warriors and Vees drop the puck on the fifth of their six-game season series at 7:00 PM from the South Okanagan Events Centre. The pre-game show gets going at 6:45 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com with the Voice of the Warriors, Trevor Miller.

West Kelowna is back on home ice on Saturday night when they host the Trail Smoke Eaters for a 7:00 PM face-off. Saturday also marks the 7th annual Pastor Don’s Christmas Hamper Night where fans are encouraged to bring cash donations in support of Warriors Chaplain Pastor Don Richmond and his Christmas Hamper program. A dollar from every game ticket will also be donated towards the Christmas Hamper program with tickets available online at wkw.goticketpro.com, at the Warriors office, by calling (250) 769-7051 or at the box office ahead of the opening puck drop.