(Photos: Garrett James Photography 2015)
For the fourth straight year, the Penticton Vees are coming home from the Bauer BCHL Showcase with two wins. The Vees swept their two-game schedule, again, as they picked up wins over Alberni Valley (4-1) and Chilliwack (2-1 OT). That’s eight games and eight wins, going back to the inaugural event in September of 2012. Not sure what to make of that stat, as there’s so much turnover year to year in junior hockey but we do know the coaching staff knows how to prepare Vees teams for this event. 8-0 at the Showcase, it’s something.
OK, let’s get right into it shall we? Prior to Friday’s game with the Chiefs, the Chilliwack Progress had a story in their newspaper how the Chiefs Head Coach was still a bit sore how the BCHL Round-Robin finished last spring. If you’re
new to the league, the BCHL has an explanation of the format HERE Basically, Chilliwack, in particular their Head Coach Jason Tatarnic, was a bit sour about the line-up the Vees iced in Nanaimo, in a game the Chiefs needed the Vees to win to keep the Chiefs Fred Page Cup hopes alive. Here’s a quote from Tatarnic:
“You’re sitting back waiting for another game to take place, with the results of that game affecting the outcome of your season,” Tatarnic said. “When you see some regular players not playing, it does leave a sour test in your mouth. Some could question the integrity of the game.”
The Chiefs’ bench boss did acknowledge the Vees earned the right to rest guys with their record but again was sour they exercised that right. That prompted this response from Vees Head Coach Fred Harbinson on Friday’s pre-game show:
So, we had some fireworks before the puck even dropped; these two aren’t even in the same division. I can’t see what the Chiefs can be mad at? They had three opportunities to win a game in the round-robin and couldn’t, including a HOME game against the Vees. Coach Harbinson was right but expressed it in a more colourful way. Golly, what a quote. If the Chiefs want to be mad at someone, they can only look at themselves. Anyways, that provided quite the subplot going into Friday’s game.
Back to what transpired on the ice, the Vees got quite the goaltending performance from Anthony Brodeur. He stopped 56 of 58 shots at the Showcase and has won every game as a starter this year. Oh, that’s a .966 save-percentage at the Showcase for Brodeur and a .958 save-percentage overall. Like, you can’t even have those types of numbers on EA Sports NHL 16 in “Rookie” mode. Are these crazy numbers sustainable? Probably not but I don’t expect a dramatic drop off either. Brodeur looks so poised in the Vees crease as nothing seems to rattle him. The bigger the moment, the better he plays. He made an eye-popping save on Friday in the dying minutes of the third period to preserve a 1-1 tie. Mitch Skapski was on the door-step but his one-timer was kicked out by Brodeur’s quick reactionary save, saved the Vees bacon. He’s fitting in real nice.
Tyson Jost likes playing at the Showcase. He now has six goals and 11 points in four Showcase games going back to last year. He had a hat-trick his second ever BCHL game last year and had a hat-trick in his first Showcase game this year. He wasn’t “very good” on Friday, only picking up an assist in the OT win. Terrible. Might as well trade the kid.
Great to see a guy like Dixon Bowen finally pick up his first BCHL goal. Bowen was more than due and it was a beauty solo effort too. He shows off his great acceleration when he darts into the zone, then he showed his strength by shrugging off the defender in the corner to walk out in front. THEN he showed off his skill with that snipe short-side over Aiden Pelino. Nice way to score your first. Hopefully this gets him going and spurs some secondary scoring.