The Penticton Vees kept on winning, pulled the trigger on a three-team trade, climbed the CJHL Rankings and alumni continued to make headlines at the collegiate and professional levels in a busy week that was.
Mr. Jones and the Vees
The Penticton Vees swung a three-team trade over the weekend which saw them land the playing rights to 19-year-old Nicholas Jones from the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL). To make the deal happen, the Vees sent forward Jason Lavallee (96) to the Flin Flon Bombers in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. The Vees then packaged a defenseman from the Bombers and future considerations to Sherwood Park for Jones.
The Edmonton, Alberta, native had played parts of two years at Ohio State University before coming to Penticton. Jones was a standout in the AJHL, scoring a league-best 41 goals in the 2013-14 season and finished third in league scoring with 72 points. Jones will make his Vees debut on Friday night when they host the Merritt Centennials.
Six Weeks into the Streak
The Vees win streak is up to 15 games and they haven’t dropped a game in six weeks, going all the way back to opening night, September 11th, in Salmon Arm. The Vees won all three of their games last week, starting with a 4-2 win over West Kelowna Wednesday. Then, with five regulars out due to injury, the Vees headed down to the coast for an Island Division road swing, picking up wins over Powell River & Cowichan Valley.
Friday they started the trip with a 3-0 win over the Kings, handing them just their second home loss of the season and their first shutout at home. A night later they went into Duncan and saddled the Capitals with their first loss at the Island Savings Centre, winning 5-3. The Vees are now 3-0-0 against the Island Division and are 7-1-0-0 on the road.
Speaking of streaks, Scott Conway extended his point streak to 15-games last week. Conway enters this week as the top scorer in the BCHL, with 15 goals and 32 points; one point up on teammate Tyson Jost.
Climbing up the Ladder
With their win streak hitting 15, the Vees climbed one spot to second in the Canadian Junior Hockey League Top 20 National Rankings. The only team ahead of the Vees is the Powassan Voodoos of the Northern Ontario Hockey League; they remain undefeated. The Vees are the highest rated BCHL team, with Salmon Arm debuting this week at 18.
The complete list of rankings can be found on the BCHL’s website, at www.BCHL.ca
Griffin Mendel left Penticton Monday for Calgary, as joins up with Team Canada for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, which gets going November 1st and runs through to November 7th, in Dawson Creek & Fort St. John, BC. Mendel will be on Team White, one of three Canadian teams in the event (Red & Black the other two).
You can follow the tournament online at www.hockeycanada.ca or on Twitter @HC_WU17
It’s another busy week for the Vees, as they play three games in two and a half days this Halloween weekend. Friday they start a home-and-home against the Merritt Centennials, before wrapping up the weekend in Trail on Sunday afternoon.
The Vees beat Merritt 6-2 in their first meeting back on October 9th and that too was at the SOEC. The Cents’ are coming off a 5-4 loss Sunday to Salmon Arm and sit fifth in the Interior, four points back of Vernon. The Vees make their first trip to Merritt Saturday.
Speaking of firsts, the Vees make their first visit to the West Kootenays on Sunday, when they face the Smoke Eaters. Going into the weekend, the Smoke Eaters are sixth in the Interior, 18 points back of Penticton, but have won their last two. It’s the only Sunday matinee game the Vees have this season.
The Quinnipiac Bobcats are off to their best start in program history and two former Vees are a driving force. Travis St. Denis (2012) & Mike Garteig (12) have had terrific starts to their senior seasons and they were recognized with weekly honours. Tuesday, St. Denis was named the ECAC Player of the Week and Garteig was named the Goalie of the Week.
St. Denis scored four goals in two games against St. Cloud State last weekend, as the Bobcats swept the Huskies to improve their record to 6-0. St. Denis is second in ECAC scoring with eight points and is second in the nation in goal scoring (6).
Garteig stopped 73 of 76 shots last weekend against the Huskies and is .947 save-percentage is 8th best in all of NCAA Division l Hockey. Garteig posted a stellar, .961 save-percentage on the weekend.
Speaking of Goalies, Olivier Mantha (2014) was named the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week. The sophomore goaltender stopped 72 of 77 shots on the weekend, helping Alaska-Anchorage to a win and tie against Alabama Huntsville. Mantha has the second-best WCHA conference save-percentage at .935; he’s 3-1-1 on the year.
Curtis Loik (2010-2012) leads the Big Ten in scoring with 10 points and the Penn State Senior is tied for third in the country in scoring.
Steven Fogarty (2012) continues to lead the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in scoring (3-3-6) and is 10th in Hockey East. Notre Dame tied Minnesota-Duluth twice on the weekend.
And finally, Brendon O’Donnell (2011) is having a terrific start to his first professional season. O’Donnell, who spent the past four years at North Dakota, has seven points in his first six games with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL; he’s 12th in the ECHL scoring race.