League’s elite team will pose challenge

The mighty Penticton Vees, the B.C. Hockey League’s first-place team, step onto the ice Sunday (Oct. 14) at Frank Crane Arena.

Nanaimo Clippers player Kyle Kramer

Nanaimo Clippers player Kyle Kramer

The Nanaimo Clippers would love to see if they can beat a nearly unbeatable opponent.

The mighty Penticton Vees, the B.C. Hockey League’s first-place team, step onto the ice Sunday (Oct. 14) at Frank Crane Arena.

There are powerhouse teams, and then there are the Vees. Penticton gained attention last season with a 42-game winning streak before going on to win the BCHL championship and the Royal Bank Cup national championship. This season the Vees (9-1) are off to another hot start and have won six games in a row.

“Everyone’s going to be gunning for them,” said Brenden Forbes, Clippers alternate captain. “They were the top team last year so I think everyone has a little fire in their belly for that one. Hopefully we can put a good effort together on Sunday.”

The Clippers (4-3-0-1) have a lot on their plate this weekend, as they hosted the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Friday and play at Alberni tonight (Oct. 13). The Shipmen said earlier this week that they weren’t looking past the Bulldogs, but at the same time they were well aware  of the Vees’ visit.

“We’ll try to knock them down a little if they’re in first. You always look forward to those big games…” said Reid Sturos, Clippers forward. “It should be a good game. We’ll come out flying.”

Penticton has three of the league’s top four scorers – Wade Murphy, Michael Rebry and Sam Mellor – and just as importantly, have the league’s stingiest defence. It poses a challenge for the low-scoring Clips.

“You get white on your knuckles when you’re pressing too hard for a goal, and then it might not ever come,” said Spencer Turcotte, Clippers forward. “You can’t be too pressured, but obviously you have to execute.”

GAME ON … The Clippers and the Vees face off Sunday at 3 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. Tickets will be available at the door.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com