Game Preview: Vees Seeking 9th Straight Win versus West-K

Oct 9



Season Series

September 19th 4-1 Vees

October 9th at Penticton

October 21st at Penticton

November 13th at West Kelowna

December 18th at West Kelowna

December 19th at Penticton

It’s a Thanksgiving long weekend clash between two Okanagan rivals at the SOEC tonight. The Vees, searching for their ninth straight win, host their neighbours to the north, the West Kelowna Warriors; puck drop is 7 pm.

The Vees won their eighth in a row Wednesday, coming from behind to beat the Trail Smoke Eaters 5-3. It wasn’t the Vees best performance of the season, as they trailed 2-1 heading into the third period, before they erupted for four goals over the final 20-minutes.

Scott Conway scored twice, Tyson Jost and Owen Sillinger scored short-handed markers and Jason Lavallee picked up his second in as many games. Anthony Brodeur got his sixth straight win, making 25 saves to remain undefeated on the young season.

This is the second meeting of the season between these two teams, as the Vees took the season series opener back on September 19th, 4-1 in West Kelowna. After tonight they play back here at the SOEC on Wednesday, October 21st.

The Vees were without Dante Fabbro and Gabe Bast on Wednesday, as both defensemen sat out with lower-body injuries. Bast hasn’t played since the Vees win in Chilliwack on September 25th. Fabbro will likely play tonight but it appears Bast will miss his fifth straight game.

Zach Driscoll will get the start tonight in goal and is making his first start at the SOEC. In his Vees debut last Saturday in Prince George, Driscoll stopped 22 of 24 shots in the 5-2 win.

The Warriors have alternated wins and losses in their last three games and are coming off a 3-2 OT setback at home on Tuesday at the hands of the Coquitlam Express. Charlie Barrow was a pain in the rear end for the Tribe, as the Express forward scored the game-tying and game-winning goals on Tuesday.

West Kelowna is also banged up on the blue-line as both Jake Harrison and Kristian Blumenschein won’t play tonight. Harrison was hurt in Tuesday’s game and Blumenschein was put on the 30-day IR retroactive to September 23rd.

Forbes Ploszaj will get the start for the Warriors tonight, as they’ve made some changes in their crease. Daniel Mannella was traded back to Ontario and the team signed 20-year-old Stephen Heslop from the Princeton Posse.


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Post-Game #9: Vees Leave it Late versus Trail

Post-Game Chart Oct 7


  • The Penticton Vees played 20 good minutes of hockey and that was enough on Wednesday night. Coaches always preach about 60-minute efforts and being consistent through all three periods. That wasn’t the case Wednesday, as the Vees stumbled in the first and second before flipping the switch in the third. Hey, credit the team for pulling up their socks and getting the job done, they just put a scare it their fans by leaving it so late.
  • Of course Captain Tyson Jost scores a highlight reel short-handed goal early in the third period to ignite the comeback. Through two periods, the Vees had just one goal and 11 total shots. In the third period alone they scored four times, twice short-handed and matched their shot total from the first two periods. Jost’s wonder-goal seemed to give the Vees the shot in the arm they needed. Then another veteran, Scott Conway, took over and put on a show himself, scoring two goals in under three-minutes as they Vees started to pull away. The Vees are trying to get away from relying on their top guys constantly and we’ve seen the secondary scoring emerge recently, but nothing wrong with the top guys carrying the mail Wednesday.
  • Before we go any further, we must credit the Trail Smoke Eaters. If I didn’t know what their record was prior to the game, I wouldn’t believe you if you told me they had lost three straight and were sixth in the division. They were a handful for the Vees, pushing them right to the end and they worked their butts off; probably their best effort to date. Their aggressive fore-check, neutral zone play gave the Vees headaches through the first two periods and that style of play manufactured their first two goals. Their best player(s) Wednesday? Harlan Orr and Ryan Swanson. Orr was clearly their best forward, as he was very good in the face-off circle, making plays off the rush and was key piece on both their penalty-kill and power-play. His PK efforts stood out, as he setup Kienan Scott’s short-handed goal in the second. More than worthy of the third star. Swanson was hands down, the best defenseman for Trail and pretty much played the entire game. OK, maybe not the entire game but he did log some serious minutes and never seemed to tire. He was a threat rushing the puck and even had a couple of chances down-low. He also was solid in his own zone, breaking up numerous plays in front of his net. This Trail team, if they play like Wednesday, should start winning more games and soon.
  • Outside of Jost and Conway, I liked what I saw from Demico Hannoun. He was moved up on the wing with Jost and Conway in the second and provided the spark they needed. He setup the 3-2 goal by Conway on a really smart play off the rush. Hannoun came down the right-wing, fired the puck into the body of the Trail goaltender hoping to create a rebound. He did and Conway crashed the crease to give the Vees their first lead. Hannoun has a goal and four points in nine games, no, those numbers won’t jump out at you but he’s developing into a great defensive forward. He’s one of the Vees best penalty-killers and checkers. Yes, it’s come at the expense of some offense but he’s becoming a well-rounded player. Coaches won’t want to change a thing.
  • Chris Gerrie didn’t take the demotion the wrong way. No, he actually made a heck of a pass on the Vees first goal. He fired a great rink-wide pass to Jason Lavallee at the Trail blue-line from inside his own zone. That pass created the two-on-one that Lavallee scored on. Gerrie’s reassignment provided a nice balance to the top-six last night.
  • Remember, the Vees were without two of their top defensemen in Dante Fabbro and Gabe Bast. They went with five on the blue-line last night and three were rookies. The group had their hiccups but they tough it out and got the job done. It was a great learning experience for the younger guys and they showed they can play the tough minutes. Nights like last night will go a long way in their development.
  • Saw maybe the most unconventional goal scored last night. To steal a term from soccer, futbol, it was an own goal by Trail. Max Newton, with his net empty for the extra-skater, tried to play the puck back to the point. Well, he split his defensemen and for Trail, the puck painfully slid down the ice into their net. Owen Sillinger was credited with the goal after he got a stick on it, scrumming with Newton after the face-off.
  • Last night was just the second time this year the Vees were scored on first and just the second time they trailed going into the third. The last time that happened was on opening night in Salmon Arm, a game in which they lost 4-2. The Vees found a way to avoid the same fate Wednesday.
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Game #9 Preview: Vees, Smoke Eaters on a “Wicked Wednesday”

Oct 7











The Penticton Vees get their first look at the Trail Smoke Eaters tonight at the SOEC, another “Wicked Wednesday.” The Smoke Eaters are the only Interior team the Vees haven’t faced yet but they’ll be seeing a lot of them in near future. The Smokies will be a regular opponent of the Vees over the next seven weeks, as they play Trail four times in their next 19 games.

Penticton comes into Wednesday’s game winners of seven straight and they sit atop of the Interior Division and the BCHL overall standings. They even shot up the CJHL national Top 20 rankings, climbing from 12th to fifth this week.

Trail has stumbled a bit out of the block, as they’re 2-5-0-0 through seven games and have lost their last three, including Saturday’s 5-2 loss in Salmon Arm. One thing the Smokies have going for them is the amount of games in hand they have on the rest of the division. They have a game in hand on Penticton and Salmon Arm, two on West Kelowna and three on Merritt and Vernon. They have actually played the least amount of games of any team in the BCHL outside of Wenatchee. They’ll need to make a push and soon and their schedule sets them up well. After tonight five of their next six games are at home.

Special teams, again, was the story in the Vees 5-2 win in Prince George on Saturday. The power-play got another goal but the main story was the penalty-kill, as the Vees killed-off five of six Spruce Kings power-plays. Now, the coaching staff has made it clear they want the team to be more disciplined going forward but are they more undisciplined than last year? Through eight games this year, the Vees have been short-handed 35 times, compared to the 32 times they were short-handed through eight games last year. So, the numbers tell us they’re taking less than half a penalty more (.36) per game this year, compared to last year. A small increase but it’s an increase.

The PK has eased their time served, as the Vees own the BCHL’s third-best penalty-kill at 88.57 percent, allowing four power-play goals in eight games. Though their PK has been excellent, they’re going to need to find a way to cut down on their trips to the penalty-box.

Secondary scoring was another area they wanted to shore up and Saturday might have been the step in the right direction. The Vees scored five goals outside of their top three of Tyson Jost, Scott Conway and Chris Gerrie. When those three combined for just one assist (power-play) in a five goal win, you know you’re getting secondary scoring. They’re getting some scoring from their back-end too, as Dante Fabbro had two goals and five points in two games last week. They now have six players that have scored three or more goals and seven that have five or more points. That number could be improved upon but it’s a good start.

Goaltending has been another storyline in the early going, as the Vees Anthony Brodeur owns the league’s best goals against average (1.13) and save-percentage (.957) among starters (three or more games). Newcomer Zach Driscoll won in his debut Saturday, turning aside 22 of 24 shots in an efficient outing in PG.

It also was a weekend of firsts for the Vees, as Ben Brar and Jason Lavallee scored their first BCHL goals on Saturday. Lavallee scored in the second period, the Vees third goal and Brar scored the Vees fifth and final goal in the third period. Now Seamus Donohue, Sam Jones and Griffin Mendel are still in search of their first BCHL goal. Maybe, we see one of those three make it happen tonight.

One of Trail’s issues early has been their goal differential; they’ve been struggling on both sides of the puck. Their 21 goals scored isn’t a huge issue, unless you look at their goals against. They’re giving up nearly two more goals than they’re scoring per game. Their 33 goals against this season is fifth worst in the BCHL and their goal differential (-12) is 13th out of 17 teams.

Is it goaltending, or better put, green goalies? They have two rookies manning the net this season in Bailey MacBurnie and Linden Marshall. MacBurnie is 20 but is in his first season of junior after playing prep school hockey with Salisbury in Connecticut. Marshall is just 17 and played with the Pacific Coast Academy last year in the Canadian Sports Schools hockey league. Maybe their inexperience is showing, as MacBurnie is 21st in goals against average (3.54) and 19th in save-percentage (.897). Marshall has only played in one game this year and that was an 8-3 drubbing in West Kelowna on September 15th.

Trail has gone out and tried to shore up their defense with the acquisition of defensemen Cole Arcuri and Bennett Morrison from Merritt and Chilliwack respectively. Those two came over to the Silver city in the last two weeks and both are experienced d-man that should help stabilize things on the backend.

Their offense has been hit hard by departures, as they’ve graduated or traded 109 goals and 265 points from last year to this year. Gone are Jake Lucchini (35-48-83), Charlie Zuccarini (27-30-57), Craig Martin (19-27-46), Dallas Calvin (16-29-45) and Bryan Basilico (12-22-34). That’s a lot of offense.

They do have Harlan Orr back who was fifth in team scoring last year (18-17-35) and they’ve welcomed back Jake Kauppila who spent last year in the USHL with the Green Bay Gamblers; he should help out up front. Also back to try and provide some offensive punch is OHA grad Kienan Scott and former Merritt Centennial Rhett Wilcox.

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Sillinger Commits to Arizona State

Yesterday Owen Sillinger officially announced his commitment to Arizona State University. The 18-year-old is the second player in the Vees’ history to go the Valley of the Sun after Wade Murphy transferred from North Dakota this past off-season.

Sillinger is off to a great start with the Vees, scoring twice and picking up four points in his first eight games. The Regina, Saskatchewan, native is developing into a very good two-way centerman for Penticton, as he sees key minutes both on the power-play and penalty-kill. He thinks the game very well and by the way he plays, you can tell he takes pride in how he plays at both ends of the ice.

“Silly” had a standout season last year in midget hockey, leading his hometown Regina Pat Canadians to the Saskatchewan AAA championship and a berth in the Semi-Final at the national midget championship, the Telus Cup. There he was the top scorer and named the tournament’s MVP, after racking up 17 points in seven games.

He comes from a hockey family, as his father Mike played over one thousand games in the NHL over a 15-year career.

Sillinger will be back next year for the Vees, before heading down to Tempe, Arizona, for the 2017-2018 season. When he arrives in Arizona, the Sun Devils will be playing a full-time NCAA Division l schedule and will be playing in either the WCHA or NCHC conferences. This year ASU is playing a hybrid schedule and next year they’ll play as an independent in Division l men’s college hockey.

Sillinger is the ninth player on the Vees roster to secure an NCAA Division l scholarship.


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Vees Climb CJHL Rankings, Again.

CJHL Top 20

After rattling off their sixth and seventh wins in a row over the weekend, the Vees have climbed up the CJHL Top 20 Rankings. After improving their record to 7-1-0-0, the Vees have vaulted up to 5th from 12 in the Country. The Vees are the top ranked BCHL team, as Wenatchee fell to 15th and the Powell River Kings jump on the board at 20th.

The Vees will look to keep their streak going on Wednesday, October 7th, when they host the Trail Smoke Eaters (2-5-0-0) at the SOEC. Then it’s a date with the West Kelowna Warriors (5-3-0-0) Friday at the SOEC, before going back on the road to face the Chilliwack Chiefs (3-3-1-2) Saturday.

From the CJHL:

With the regular seasons for all ten leagues in the CJHL now well underway, only three teams remain unbeaten in the nation; the Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL), the Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL), and the Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL).

The Penticton Vees have moved into first place overall in the tough Interior Division of the BCHL, while the Wenatchee Wild stumbled ever so slightly and the Powell River Kings have settled into a nice winning streak.

The AJHL just wrapped its Showcase Weekend and the powerful Spruce Grove Saints have reeled off ten victories in a row to start the season, and remain ahead of the Camrose Kodiaks and Lloydminster Bobcats in first place.

The SJHL has also completed its Showcase Weekend, and the Melfort Mustangs and Nipawin Hawks are rolling along early in the season. The Portage Terriers and Winkler Flyers are keeping pace with them in the MJHL.  

The Fort Frances Lakers and the Dryden Ice Dogs are also off and running in the SIJHL with very strong starts, while the Powassan Voodoos and their unbeaten streak are leading the way in the NOJHL.

The Trenton Golden Hawks lead the nation in victories with eleven against no losses, while the Georgetown Raiders and Markham Royals are leading their respective divisions in the OJHL.

The Carleton Place Canadians and Smiths Falls Bears have had great early starts in the CCHL while the Montagnards de Sainte-Agathe remain atop the overall standings in the QJHL.

In the MHL, the Dieppe Commandos are being closely pursued by the Summerside Western Capitals in actual regulation wins, but it is the Woodstock Slammers who are in first place overall.

Top 20 Rankings

  1. Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) (3)
  2. Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (1)
  3. Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL) (11)
  4. Melfort Mustangs (SJHL) (13)
  5. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (12)
  6. Sainte-Agathe Montagnards (QJHL) (17)
  7. Portage Terriers (MJHL) (5)
  8. Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL) (NR)
  9. Dieppe Commandos (MHL) (6)
  10. Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL)  (18)
  11. Cochrane Crunch (NOJHL) (9)
  12. Nipawin Hawks (SJHL) (7)
  13. Georgetown Raiders (OJHL) (NR)
  14. Lloydminster Bobcats (AJHL) (2)
  15. Wenatchee Wild  (BCHL) (4)
  16. Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) (8)
  17. Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (HM)
  18. Smiths Falls Bears (CCHL) (HM)
  19. Winkler Flyers (MJHL) (NR)
  20. Powell River Kings (BCHL) (NR)            

Honourable Mention: Dryden Ice Dogs (SIJHL), Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (NOJHL), Markham Royals (OJHL), Mustangs de Vaudreuil-Dorion (QJHL), Summerside Western Capitals (MHL) 












Also on Monday the BCHL announced Matthew Hoover of the Nanaimo Clippers was named the BCHL Player of the Week, for the week ending October 4th. The Vees’ Dante Fabbro was given an Honourable Mention after picking up five points on the weekend (2-3-5). Full story HERE 

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Post-Game #8: Vees Win 5-2 in PG, Win Streak at 7

Post-Game Chart Oct 3














  • OK, warning, you might see the word “secondary” pop up in this blog post. The coaching staff wanted more secondary scoring going into the weekend and they definitely got that on Saturday night. Before Saturday’s game, the top line of Tyson Jost, Scott Conway and Chris Gerrie had accounted for half of the team’s goals. Well, the Vees scored five goals Friday and none of those three scored and only Conway got an assist (power-play point). So, the Vees got five goals from outside of their top line, two rookies scored their first BCHL goals and they got another goal from their blue-line. It looks like that secondary scoring is starting to come and hopefully it carries into next week too.
  • Great to see guys like Dixon Bowen, Jason Lavallee and Ben Brar score. Bowen is starting to heat up after being snake-bitten in the early going. Since last Friday, Bowen now has three goals in as many games. He had two on Saturday against PG and both coming a key times. His first made it 2-1 Penticton midway through the second when he cleaned up a rebound in front. What made that goal even better was the fact the Vees were held without a shot for the first six and a half minutes of the second before getting that power-play marker. Then his second made it 4-1, 25-seconds after the Vees scored their third goal. The Spruce Kings were forced to call a timeout and they even changed their goalies. Bowen has three goals now but he’ll get more, as he is one of, or the fastest skaters in the BCHL. I haven’t seen someone with more explosive first two-three strides than him. He took off short-handed in the third period and was only a few inches away from getting a hat-trick. He’s going to create breakaway chances with that speed, it’s just a matter time before he starts cashing in consistently. Lavallee was due, as he’s been flirting with a goal for quite some time. He actually almost scored seconds before on the shift that saw him in fact score his first BCHL goal. He just missed one tip before moving back in front and tipping in Griffin Mendel’s point-shot. He went in front, camped out in a high traffic area and then showed some great hand-eye coordination to make it 3-1. Like Lavallee, Ben Brar was also knocking on the door in the last few games. Last Friday he had what he thought his first BCHL goal waved off against the Chilliwack Chiefs. Fast-forward to Saturday and he finds a soft spot in coverage out front, takes a nice dish from Easton Brodzinski and one-times the puck past Liam McClusky. That will be a huge confidence boost going forward.
  • Special teams, again pretty good for the Vees. Now, they’re probably taking one too many penalties for their liking but the PK was strong Saturday, going five for six and 12 for 14 on the weekend. The Vees have the third-best power-play and penalty-kill in the BCHL right now. Despite the PP going 1-5, I thought it again looked very dangerous throughout the game. The Vees had a few real good looks at the net that they just fumbled on or just missed. This power-play seems to be the real deal and it will only get more dangerous as the season wears on. If it wasn’t for a flub here or there, we could have been talking three power-play goals from Saturday’s game. The PK, operating at 88 and a half percent, is really giving the opposition fits. The Vees’ PK guys are hound that puck carrier and sometimes are the most dangerous of the two units. Demico Hannoun and Griffin Mendel I thought were terrific on the penalty-kill on Saturday. The two were constantly breaking up passes and making plays all while down a skater. I forget sometimes that Mendel is just 16, which is lost on you when you watch him play; so poised. Hannoun has really embraced a newer roll this year with lots of reps on the PK and he was a thorn in the side of the Prince George power-play. Other guys who should get some praise are Colton Poolman and Owen Sillinger. Both very good as well on the PK.
  • Zach Driscoll looked good in his Vees debut, stopping 22 of 24 shots in an environment that isn’t always kind to goaltenders. Cramped conditions and lively old boards, means crazy bounces and frantic action at times; not always the best for goalies. However, Driscoll looked composed in the net throughout the game and the two shots that got by him were bombs from Adam Brubacher. I thought he made quite a few under-the-radar type saves throughout the game, including a breakaway stop on Bryan Basilico. But his best was a point-blank glove save off of Jarod Hovde. Puck came right out front to Hovde, who was on the front porch but Driscoll flashed his glove and just got enough of the quick shot to steer it wide. He may not officially look the part yet with those orange pads, but he’s sure playing like it.
  • So, Tyson Jost has a lot of points yes, but Dante Fabbro went about a one goal, three point performance, good enough for third star honours Saturday. By my count, Fabbro is now the highest scoring defenseman in the BCHL with three goals and 12 points in 8 games. His heavy shot from the point has developed into a real nice weapon for the Vees and he keeps getting it done in his own end. He’s the real deal too.


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Teeing Things Up from the Bus: Vees Trek North to Face PG

Matt Serratore scoring the OT winner last year in PG

Matt Serratore scoring the OT winner last year in PG






Penticton Vees (6-1-0-0, 1st Interior) vs. Prince George Spruce Kings (1-5-0-1, 5th Mainland)

7pm, Prince George Coliseum (EZ Rock AM 800, Fasthockey Pay-Per-View)

A night after an emphatic 6-1 win at the SOEC, the Penticton Vees hit the road Saturday, as they trek north to Cariboo country, as they face the Prince George Spruce Kings at the Prince George Coliseum. This is the Vees first and only regular season trip to PG, before the Spruce Kings make their way to Penticton on October 16th.

Friday the Vees power-play flexed it muscle against Merritt, as they scored three goals on six power-play opportunities. The penalty-kill was no slouch, as the PK unit killed-off seven of eight Merritt power-plays.

Captain Tyson Jost paced the attack with a five-point night, scoring once and finishing with four helpers for first star honours.  Chris Gerrie and Scott Conway each had three points in the win and Anthony Brodeur stopped 20 shots for his fifth win in as many starts.

The Spruce Kings are coming off a 5-2 loss at home to Cowichan Valley Friday. The Caps sunk PG with a three-goal third period, as the Kings have just one win in their first six games.

Like Merritt, Prince George has made a change behind the bench in the off-season, as Chad Van Diemen is the new Head Coach, taking over for Dave Dupas who stepped down. Van Diemen came over from the Powell River Kings, where he was an Associate Coach under Kent Lewis.

Eight players are back from last year’s squad, four defensemen and four forwards, including Prince George native Jake LeBrun. The hometown kid is in his fourth BCHL season and was named the Captain going into the 2015-16 season. He should be and needs to be a catalyst to their offense going forward. It was two years ago he rattled off a hat-trick against the Vees in PG.

Scoring has been the biggest issue to the Spruce Kings slow start, as they’ve scored a league-low 11 goals in seven games. The next lowest scoring team is Victoria who has 14 goals in seven games. Corey Hoffman is the Spruce Kings leading scorer with two goals and four points.

The Vees will ice the same line-up as Friday with one change coming in goal. Zach Driscoll will make his Vees debut tonight between the pipes. The 18-year-old was acquired earlier this week from the Omaha Lancers of the USHL. Driscoll is committed to St. Cloud State University and was a standout in High School hockey in his hometown of Apple Valley, Minnesota.

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