Vees Remain Atop CJHL Rankings


For the third straight week the Penticton Vees are the top ranked team in the CJHL Top 20 Rankings. The Vees pushed their win streak to 22-games with victories over Trail, West Kelowna and Cowichan Valley.

From the CJHL:

The Penticton Vees saw their unbeaten streak hit the 22-game mark with another strong weekend in the BCHL. Meanwhile, the Chilliwack Chiefs joined the Top 20 this week as their nine-game winning streak has propelled the Chiefs to the top of the BCHL’s Mainland Division.

In Alberta, the Spruce Grove Saints and Lloydminster Bobcats are starting to create some room atop the overall standings in the AJHL, while several teams, including the Brooks Bandits, the Whitecourt Wolverines and Camrose Kodiaks are within three points of third place overall.

The Battlefords North Stars and the Melfort Mustangs are starting to dominate the SJHL, while the Portage Terriers and Winkler Flyers continue to run away from the rest of the MJHL.  

The Fort Frances Lakers in the Superior International Junior Hockey League continue their strong grip on first place, while the Soo Thunderbirds – who slipped ever so slightly this past week – the Powassan Voodoos, Cochrane Crunch all continue to dominate the NOJHL.

The Trenton Golden Hawks are rolling again and have strengthened their stranglehold on first place overall in the OJHL, while the Kingston Voyageurs are staying close in second place.

The Carleton Place Canadians and the Ottawa Jr. ‘A’ Senators also had small slips this past week, but remain on top of the overall standings in the CCHL, while the Smith Falls Bears and the Brockville Braves have found their game as of late and are making a charge up the standings.

The College Francais de Longueuil, and the Montagnards de Sainte-Agathe are in a dogfight for the top spot in the QJHL, while the Summerside Western Capitals continue to have the most overall wins in regulation in an extremely even and well balanced MHL.

Top 20 Rankings

  1. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (1)
  2. Portage Terriers (MJHL) (3)
  3. Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) (4)
  4. Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) (5)
  5. Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (2)
  6. Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (7)
  7. Lloydminster Bobcats (AJHL)  (8)
  8. Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL) (9)
  9. Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (6)
  10. Ottawa Jr. A Senators (CCHL) (11)
  11. Winkler Flyers  (MJHL) (13)
  12. Cochrane Crunch (NOJHL) (15)
  13. Battlefords North Stars (SJHL) (17)
  14. Melfort Mustangs (SJHL) (10)
  15. Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) (NR)
  16. Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL) (20)
  17. Summerside Western Capitals (MHL) (16)
  18. Salmon Arm Silverbacks (BCHL) (NR)
  19. College Francais de Longeueil (QJHL) (18)
  20. Montagnards de Sainte-Agathe (QJHL) (19)             

Honourable Mention: Brooks Bandits (AJHL), Steinbach Pistons (MJHL), Smith Falls Bears (CCHL), Brockville Braves (CCHL), Woodstock Slammers (MHL) 

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Post-Game: Vees Feeling 22; Topple Caps

Post-Game Chart Nov 14_



(Cherie Morgan Photography)

  • As Taylor Swift says in her hit song, “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.” The Vees pushed their win streak to 22 games Saturday, in an entertaining 4-3 win over the Cowichan Valley Capitals at the SOEC, and in front of over 2,500 fans. The Vees came back from a late first period deficit, then held off a pesky Caps team that erased two, one-goal leads for the Vees. Tyson Jost was at it again, scoring twice, including the game-winner with just over two-minutes remaining in regulation.
  • Alright, Tyson Jost. The Vees Captain scores two goals, both on the power-play, and the game-winner with just 2:09 left on the clock in regulation. His first power-play was a rocket, as he absolutely hammered a one-timer from the right-wing circle, just five seconds into the power-play. If you blinked, you missed it. Then he puts his team on his back, scoring the GWG, on a great passing play between him and Nicholas Jones. The kid sure knows how to pick his spots. Remember, in the last home game on November 7th, it was Jost going end-to-end to tie the game against Nanaimo to force OT; that goal too came late in the third. Jost now has 21 goals and 46 points, eclipsing his total of 45 from last year and in half the games. How good has he been? Well, the Vees leading scorer in the regular season last year had 47 points. He’s one back and it’s mid November.
  • It was a great game for the fans, as two division leaders went toe-to-toe for sixty back-and-forth minutes. The Caps and their fans were a bit jaded with the late penalty call against them that led to the game-winning goal. I went back and watched the video, making sure to take off my Vees-coloured glasses ;). When watching back, Nicholas Jones, a few feet off the boards, has his backed to the Caps’ Matt Hudie as he was stopping up to play the puck. Hudie, who had Jones’ number to him, did come up and it looked like he got his stick on the small of Jones’ back. That push, contact caused Jones to lose his balanced and crash into the boards. It wasn’t good optics, but by the letter of the law, it’s a penalty but I understand their grief of when it was called. I’ll put it this way, if that was say, Ryan Burton instead of Nicholas Jones, would you be OK with a non-call? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
  • I think most of the frustration stems from the Caps not coming away from the game with at least a single point. I can definitely agree with that, as they played a great road game and, yeah, were deserving of coming away with something. Oh, and yeah they did have a power-play with six-minutes left in the game, when it was tied 3-3. They had their chance too.
  • You can say the Caps were the better team five-on-five in the two-game season series, as they did outscore the Vees 5-3 but hockey is married to special teams. The Vees went 5-12 on the power-play in two games against the Caps. The Caps went 1-10. Penticton made the most of their chances. That says something too.
  • Quite the game-winner too, as Jones and Jost team up for a great passing sequence, check it out:
  • The goal all starts with the face-off win, critical. If you don’t win the draw your chasing back for the puck in your own end and that’s another 10-15 seconds shaved off the clock. Jost takes the puck, circles up to the high-slot, sucks a defender in thinking he’s shooting but drops it smartly to Jones. Jones then makes a great fake of his own, loading up a shot on the right-wing, bringing two PK’ers towards him. That opens up the seam for him to slide the back-door pass over to Jost; automatic after that.
  • How about the supporting cast Saturday? I say that in the utmost respect as the Vees definitely got some secondary scoring. David Eccles, he of two assists, scores his first of the season to tie the game early in the second; as expected. Then it was Mitch Brooks, a key penalty-killer and depth forward, moving up on the second-line and scoring the 3-2 goal in the third. Jost did get two but the Vees got some key contributions from outside of their big guns. You can tell what it means to the team when good team guys like Brooks and Eccles score. Watch the highlights at the top of the page and watch the reactions after the goals by Brooks and Eccles. First, when Eccles scored, he looked like he was a bit shocked but his teammates were ecstatic. Demico Hannoun looked more excited than Eccles and even went and picked up the puck if I’m not mistaken. The guys on the ice were so excited for “Ecks”. Then Brooks, who isn’t one who lacks energy, had the celebration of all celebrations. Out comes the knee drop slide, arm pump combination, then it was the glass jump to cap it off; very fitting. That’s huge for a team’s confidence. morale when they get guys like that scoring.
  • I thought the best line for Cowichan Valley was their “second line,” of Matt Hudie, Patrick Geary and Jared Domin. That line combined for two of three goals and as a unit, they finished with a combined five points. Hudie, for my money, was their best forward on Saturday. Had a goal and an assist and was always a threat off the rush. He has great wheels and showed them off quite a few times; quite the crafty player. Their first line has been good this year, with Kade Kehoe, Ryan Burton and Adam Osczevski but teams will have to be weary of Hudie, Domin and Geary going forward.
  • Lost maybe in the win was the fact the Vees only had five defensemen in their line-up Saturday. With Domenic Masellis suspended, the Vees didn’t have the time to call-up a defenseman. So, it was up to Dante Fabbro, Colton Poolman, David Eccles, Sam Jones and Griffin Mendel to hold the fort. The group did a very admirable job and kept one of the highest scoring teams in the BCHL, to just two even-strength goals. Masellis will have to sit out one more game Wednesday before he can return on Friday, fittingly against his old team, the Langley Rivermen. But big props to those five for taking on the extra minutes and responsibility and finding a way to help push the streak to 22.
  • So Cowichan Valley did something that many have struggled to do against the Vees this year: score a power-play goal. Believe it or not, Hudie’s goal in the second was just the ninth power-play goal given up this year by the Vees. NINTH. Just the second in their last 11, as they were 40-41 on the PK in their last 10 games, entering Saturday’s showdown. Big reason why the Vees are on this run is the play of both their PK and power-play.
  • Cool moment that was pointed out to me Saturday, was the Vees and in particular Anthony Brodeur, getting some love from the folks on Hockey Night in Canada. During one of the intermissions in the Canucks-Leafs telecast, the intermission panel talked about Brodeur’s great start and the Vees streak. You can see that segment here. (Near the two-minute mark).
  • Finally, a very touching and classy tribute prior to the game by the great people behind the scenes at the SOEC, paying tribute the victims of the tragic events in Paris, France, on Friday. I admittedly get caught up living in a “hockey bubble” but events like that jolt you and make step back and think. Wins and losses sometimes seem so insignificant.
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Vees Hit Blackjack in West Kelowna, Host Caps at SOEC

Post-Game Chart Nov 14

(Photos Courtesy of Jeff Hook / South Okanagan Events Centre)

  • Anthony Brodeur, Anthony Brodeur, Anthony Brodeur. The Vees netminder stole the show on Friday in West Kelowna, stopping 45 of 46 shots, 18 in the third, and was named the game’s first star. He was nearly unbeatable, as it took a Jonathan Desbiens dart in the first period to beat him; that was the only puck to go by him though. He was so good in high traffic, high pressure situations throughout the game and especially in the third, when the Warriors emptied the tank. Plus he did this late in the game:
  • Quite the sequence of saves by Brodeur, or should I say State Trooper Brodeur (his mustache is impeccable). I think the best part of that video is if you pause it at the four-second mark. The screenshot is him, on his knees, leaning forward, as the Warriors Nick Rutigliano is loading up his shot. Somehow Brodeur ends up making a glove save but whilst on his butt. Acrobatics.
  • One more Brodeur nugget, because he was that good, in his last two starts, he’s stopped 81 of 84 shots for a mind-blowing .964 save-percentage. The bigger the stage, the better he plays. Guy seems to love the pressure.
  • Opportunistic first? Opportunistic first. The Vees didn’t have the best first periods but found themselves ahead 2-1 after 20-minutes. Assistant Coach Nick Fuher put it best, saying the Vees didn’t necessarily execute the game plan to a “T” but they scored on plays where their guys were working hard; they earned the two goals. First, Ben Brar makes a great play to drive wide down the wing, throw the puck low on net hoping for a rebound. Meanwhile his linemate Owen Sillinger is driving the middle, gets past two defenders and bangs in the rebound off the goalie’s pad; that’s what they practice 100 times. Then late in the period, two skilled players make a play out of nothing. Nicholas Jones and Tyson Jost play give-and-go up ice, before its Jones firing a dart to the middle for Jost, who reaches out and tips the puck past the goalies glove / pad. Another play where the puck carrier drives wide as his linemate has the “middle lane drive” to the net. The two goals  weren’t cheapies.
  • Back to Ben Brar for a moment. The rookie really embraced the opportunity he was given Friday. He jumped up to the second line, after the Vees shuffled the deck with the absence of Scott Conway. Of the get go, Brar was flying, going hard in on the fore-check, making smart reads with the puck and doing the little things well. Coach Fuher said in the post-game show, that Brar is a quick study, as you tell him once what to do and he executes. A very accountable player. Brar gelled well with Sillinger and Chris Gerrie and I look forward to him building upon Friday’s performance.
  • Brodeur was excellent but so too was the Vees penalty-kill. For the second time in three games, they shutout the BCHL’s second-best power-play. Saturday it was Nanaimo’s red-hot power-play that was shutout on eight chances and Friday West Kelowna came in with the best power-play outside of Penticton. They were stymied on four chances. As pointed out on the broadcast, the Vees did an excellent job at shutting down the middle of the ice, a very strong four-man box. The Warriors didn’t have much to shoot at and they couldn’t get to rebounds-if there were any. The forwards that play the PK were great at pressuring the point and not allowing the Tribe to roll into the middle and rip off one a one-timer.
  • Speaking of the penalty-kill, the Vees have only surrendered one power-play goal in their last 10 games. That’s a run of 40-41 in those 10 games. phenomenal
  • The Warriors had a pretty clear game plan of throwing a lot of shots toward the Vees net Friday. It was more about volume than quality and trying to find a rebound by bringing traffic. That’s how teams are going to play against a team as defensively sound as the Vees are. What impressed me was how well the Vees defensemen handled said traffic and didn’t allow their forwards to make life miserable for Brodeur.
  • How about Easton Brodzinski. I half-jokingly called him “Mr. Power-Play,” on Twitter but that might just stick. He’s got 18 goals on the season with 11 of those coming on the power-play. I referred to him as the “garbage man,” in front of the net pre-game but Coach Harbinson made a great point. He said he doesn’t believe in “garbage goals” as it’s more of a reflection of a smart player knowing where the puck will be. Brodzinski has a knack for getting to pucks in front of the net. But Friday he made a great play off the rush to pad the Vees lead. He faked the drop pass as he was curling in on the right-wing. He then quickly turned the puck back on his fore-hand and surprised the goalie by squeezing the puck between the pad and the post. Heads up play by Brodzinski. Crucial goal late in the second, as the Vees carried a 3-1 lead into the third. If it was just 2-1, pressure ramps up a bit and that may lead to players gripping their stick a bit tighter. That goal gave them some comfort going into the final period.

Nov 14



The Vees pushed their win streak to 21 with a 3-1 win in West Kelowna over the Warriors Friday night. Owen Sillinger, Tyson Jost and Easton Brodzinski scored for the Vees, and Anthony Brodeur was sensational in net, stopping 45 of 46 shots and was named the game’s first star.

Friday was the fourth win in as many games for the Vees over the Tribe, as they improved their record to 10-1 against their own division.

Elsewhere, Salmon Arm came back from a 2-0 first period deficit, scoring five unanswered in a 5-2 win over Merritt; the ‘Backs remain 11 back of the Vees in the Interior. Cowichan Valley, tonight’s opponent, opened their road trip with a win in Trail, thumping the Smoke Eaters 6-1.  Alberni Valley scored five goals in five and a half minutes, beating Nanaimo 7-3 at Frank Crane Arena, Wenatchee held off PG 2-1, Coquitlam edged Victoria 4-3 in OT, Chilliwack goose-egged Surrey 7-0 and Powell River crowned Langley 9-3.

It’s the second and final regular season meeting between the Vees and Capitals, as the two non-divisional foes square-off at the SOEC. The Vees beat the Caps 5-3 back on October 24th in Duncan in a very entertaining game at the Island Savings Centre. Scott Conway had two goals in that game and Tyson Jost had a game-high four assists.

It’s a stiff test for the Vees, as the Caps are first in the Island Division with a 12-6-1-2 record, two points up the Nanaimo Clippers. The Caps have won three of their last five games, with the only blemish being a pair of losses to the Victoria Grizzlies. After tonight the Caps are in Merritt tomorrow afternoon for a matinee encounter with the Centennials.

Like the Vees, the Caps pack an offensive punch, as they’re the sixth-highest scoring team in the BCHL and have seven players with 15 or more points on the season. Leading the way is Ryan Burton, Kade Kehoe and Adam Osczevski, the Caps top-line who’ve combined for 29 goals and 61 points.

The Vees are undefeated at the SOEC this season and as the home team this year, they’re 10-0-0-0; one win coming at the Bauer BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack. Cowichan Valley has been great at home also (9-2) but are a pedestrian 3-4-1-2 away from the “Big Stick” in Duncan.

The Vees will be without defensemen Gabe Bast, Seamus Donohue and now Domenic Masellis. Masellis is suspended an automatic two-games after he was handed a five-minute major penalty last night; the Vees will dress five defensemen. Scott Conway missing tonight’s game as well, as he’s on a school visit south of the border.

Zach Driscoll will start in net and will put his perfect 7-0 record on the line; Driscoll leads the BCHL is goals-against average (1.57) and save percentage (.948). Storm Phaneuf will start at the other end of the ice for the visitors.

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Game Preview: Vees (20-1-0-0) at West Kelowna (12-6-0-2)

Nov 13



The Penticton Vees (20-1-0-0) head up highway 97 to face the West Kelowna Warriors (12-6-0-2) tonight, searching for their 21st straight win. The Vees win streak hit the twenties on Tuesday, when they thumped the Trail Smoke Eaters 7-1 on the road. The Warriors haven’t played since Sunday afternoon when they beat the Nanaimo Clippers 7-4.

It was a terrific start on Tuesday for the Vees, as they scored three times inside the first seven-minutes of the first period in Trail, and they added four in the third to put the game out of reach. Easton Brodzinski (2), Domenic Masellis, Chris Gerrie, Demico Hannoun, Tyson Jost and Desi Burgart all scored in the win. Zach Driscoll made 26 saves for his seventh win and second in nine days against the Smokies.

West Kelowna won a penalty-filled affair last Sunday against the Clips’ as the two teams combined for 22 power-plays, the Tribe scored four times on 10 chances; only half the game (30:09) was played at five-on-five. West Kelowna led 2-1 after the first, and then scored four in the second to go 5-2 after 40. Sunday was their fifth win in their last six games and seventh in their last 10.

This is the Vees second trip to West-K this season, as they won 4-1 back on September 19th at Royal LePage Place. The Vees are 3-0 against the Tribe this season, picking up two wins at home, 4-3 (OT) on October 9th and 4-2 on October 21st. After tonight, these two play three more times, two of those at the SOEC. Up next is home and home before the Christmas break on December 18th and 19th, then it’s the season series finale on February 12th in Penticton.

The Vees are only one of four teams with a winning record on the road (10-1-0-0) in the BCHL and Salmon Arm is the only other team in the division with a winning road record (7-3-0-0). The Vees have had a lot of success in West Kelowna over the years, winning 27 of 36 games at RLP since the Warriors relocated from Langley in the 2006-07 season. West Kelowna will be tough at home; as they and Cowichan Valley are tied for the most home wins in the league outside of the Vees.

A few Vees are wielding hot sticks, as Scott Conway is tied with one other player for the longest active point streak in the BCHL. The 20-year-old has at least a single point in his last 20 games and was only held off the scoresheet on opening night. Dante Fabbro hasn’t missed a beat since returning from injury, as the rear-guard’s point streak has hit 13-games; he’s the highest scoring defenseman in the league too. Tyson Jost has a nine-game point streak heading into Friday’s game and Easton Brodzinski and Demico Hannoun have points in four straight.

Conway’s 20-game streak is only matched by the Warriors’ Liam Blackburn, who has at least a point in every Warriors’ game this season. Blackburn has 10 goals and 27 points in 20 games and 16 of those points came in the month of October. No coincidence the Warriors had a very respectable 7-2-0-2 record last month. Jonathan Desbiens liked October too, as the 19-year-old had 13 points in 11 games.

The Tribe come in winners of five of their last six and seven of their last 10 games; they’ve won four of their last five at home. The Warriors have only lost back-to-back games once this season and both those games went beyond regulation. However, if they want to continue the positive trend, they’ll have to cut down on their trips to the penalty-box.

West Kelowna has been short-handed 32 times in their last five games, 25 of those short-handed situations coming in just their last three games; they’ve been short-handed seven or more times in four of their last five outings. The run of penalties will need to be nipped in the butt tonight, as they’re facing the league’s best overall and road power-play. The Vees’ power-play is humming along a shade over 30 percent and they’re even better on the road, converting over 35 and a half percent of their opportunities.

There’s a new face in the Warriors’ crease since the Vees last saw the Tribe, as Keelan Williams came over from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks, in exchange for forward Paul Lovsin. Williams started the season with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice before going back to Camrose. The 19-year-old split last season between the Ice and the Okotoks Oilers in the AJHL. The Calgary product has won two of his first three starts with West Kelowna. His partner in the crease is 20-year-old Stephen Heslop, who faced the Vees back on October 21st. Heslop is 4-3 on the year and owns a .898 save-percentage.

Gabe Bast and Seamus Donohue remain out of the Vees’ line-up with long-term injuries. West Kelowna also has a defenseman on the mend, as it’s not known if Kristian Blumenschein will play tonight. He missed over a month with a lower-body injury, before coming back and playing on October 23rd against Vernon. However, Blumenschein hasn’t played since.

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Harbinson on TSN 1040

This morning, President, General Manager and Head Coach Fred Harbinson joined hosts Matt Sekeres and Blake Price on TSN 1040 out of Vancouver for the BCHL report. They talked about the Vees impressive win streak, winning year in and year out and they even floated a hypothetical question at the Vees bench boss.

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Post-Game #21: Vees Score Early, Often in 20 Straight Win

Post-Game Chart Nov 10


(Photos: Randy Emery / Trail Smoke Eaters)

  • The Vees didn’t look like a team travelling on a bus all afternoon, at least not early anyways. They scored three goals on their first four shots in just under seven-minutes, as they cruised to a 7-1 win in Trail Tuesday. It’s a four-hour ride, one way, but the Vees didn’t seem to have “bus legs” at the start, as they built up a three-goal lead in the first six-minutes. 97-seconds in Dom Masellis made it 1-0 and then they got two in 38-seconds just after the six-minute mark, on goals from Chris Gerrie and Demico Hannoun. That forced Bailey MacBurnie out of the net, the reigning BCHL Player of the Week, after he allowed three goals on four shots; MacBurnie stopped 81 of 84 last weekend in two games. It was a dream start for the visitors.
  • Despite building up the 3-0 lead just under seven-minutes in, the coaching staff wasn’t overly enthused with the Vees first period. Assistant Coach Nick Fuher said post-game that they weren’t executing on the details they touched on pre-game. You look at it, and you can see where he’s coming from. The Vees had just six shots in the first and gave up 12. Credit them for adjusting in the second and third because they outscored Trail 4-0 and outshot them 24-15 in the final two periods. Despite not scoring in the second, I liked what the Vees did with the puck and they continued that positive trend into the third where they pulled away, with four goals in the final 20-minutes.
  • Pre-game Head Coach Fred Harbinson said he wanted his team to do a better job with their in-game adjustments. He cited that as one area that needed to be improved upon and the stats above says they did just that as the game moved into the second and third. As Coach pointed out, what separates teams from winning and losing in the playoffs is how they adapt, adjust in games; the margin of victory is so narrow.
  • Back to the start for a moment, the Vees made some smart plays with and without the puck on their first three goals. On their first, Masellis makes a nice pinch down from the point, finding a soft spot out front. He commands the puck and then blasts a shot short-side and upstairs; nice pass too by Gerrie from behind the net. On the second goal it was a sequence of inches. Trail almost tied it at the one end, as they just missed a tip in front. Nicholas Jones wisely races the puck quickly back the other way, catching the Smokies up ice and then fires a nice pass over to Gerrie. The goalie gave him up high on the short-side and a guy of his skill wasn’t going to miss. Boom. It was an inch or two from being 1-1 but it’s 2-0 just over six-minutes in. Inches. On the third goal it was a bit of luck and hard-work by Hannoun. He smartly pressures the point-man, who promptly fumbles the puck and falls at the Vees’ blue-line. Hannoun chugged down the ice the other way, held off a back-checker and he too went upstairs, short-side. Three savvy plays by veteran players.
  • Back to Masellis, it was just his second game as a Vee but you could see how much more comfortable he looked tonight. He was much more assertive in his own zone, throwing that big frame around, flattening a few guys in front of his own net and was mean when it mattered. He had a really nice hip-check in the second period, as he came across and threw himself, perfectly timed, into the side of Kale Howarth; he isn’t a small customer either. Masellis is only going to get more comfortable as time passes and I look forward to what he can do. He was effective Tuesday.
  • I talked about this post-game with Coach Fuher but I thought it was a good team approach to the defensive side of the things. The Vees played well in their own end for the most part and it wasn’t just the defense stepping up. I thought the forward group did a good job at back-tracking, coming back on plays and negating secondary chances in front. Gerrie, Hannoun, Jones, Sillinger all had notable moments where they got their butt back after being all the way down in the other end. Hannoun’s back-checking prowess led to his goalie and Gerrie had a nice break up in front of his net on a Trail chance. When the forwards are playing that “200 foot game” it takes an immense load of the defenseman’s shoulders.
  • Nice to see guys like Gerrie and Hannoun start putting some points up. They’ve been playing well for a while but the points haven’t necessarily been coming steadily. Now, Hannoun has five goals in his last six games and is up to eight on the season. Gerrie had two points tonight and has quietly gone about getting 17 in 19 games. Those two will be key guys down the stretch and into the playoffs. When everyone is keying on the top-line, its guys like them that need to make hay. So far, so good.
  • They were justly rewarded when they got on the scoresheet at the end of the game, as I liked the fourth-line trio of Mitch Brooks, Ben Brar and Desi Burgart. They worked their butts off on Tuesday, were a thorn in Trail’s side on the fore-check and got some power-play time at the end, which Burgart ended up scoring a goal. They’re not here to score but to provide quality minutes, be hard to play against and provide energy. I thought all three were impactful and played at good pace. Maybe we can call the three the “Killer B’s?” There’s competition for playing time up front and that will only force these guys to be better. I think we’ll see more nights like this going forward. You can never have enough depth.
  • Scott Conway picked up a pair of assists on Tuesday, as he now has 16 goals and 40 points in 21 games. Pretty good day for him, as earlier Tuesday morning he was named the CJHL 2nd Star of the month of October. Conway’s point streak is now at 20-games and that’s tied for the longest active streak in the league with West Kelowna’s Liam Blackburn. Conway was dangerous on the power-play and was unlucky not have scored.
  • A couple of guys that love playing in Trail? Zach Driscoll and Hannoun. Driscoll got his second win against Trail in as many starts. He’s now stopped 74 of 76 shots against Trail in the last nine days. He stopped 26 of 27 Tuesday and 48 of 49 on November 1st. He is so calm, cool and collected in the crease. Sometimes I wonder if he’s got a pulse. He made three nice stops on Cooper Leitch on Tuesday night and nice breakaway save, whilst on the power-play, against Max Newton. Leitch had a threatening wraparound attempt in the second that was kicked-out and a backhand attempt and rebound off the rush, but Driscoll kept both out. Newton early in the third was essentially on a two-on-oh rush after a turnover by the Vees at the offensive blue-line, but his breakaway attempt was turned aside by Driscoll’s blocker. At the time I believe it was still 4-1 and a goal would have made it very interesting, as there was a lot of time left. Hannoun scored in the first and now has four goals in two trips to Trail. He had a hat-trick on November 1st and a goal Tuesday. That’s four goals in six periods in Trail this season.
  • Driscoll by the way improved his record to 7-0 in the win and shaved his goals-against average down to 1.57 and bumped up his save-percentage to .948. Going into the night, his even-strength save percentage was at .956 %, meaning he’s nearly unbeatable during five-on-five. Anthony Brodeur and he are now a combined 19-0. NINE. TEEN. AND. OH. Good grief.
  • Remember a couple of years ago it was the infamous “The Ghosts of Cominco,” tagline when referring to the Vees luck, or lack there off in Trail. Well, if you go back to last season, they’re now 5-0-0-1 in their last six visits to Trail. They’ve won their two games there this season by a combined score of 13-2. A building that once was hard to get a point out of is now a home away from home almost for the Vees. They play there once more in late January.
  • At the junior level, successful teams have great special teams and boy are the Vees firing on both sides. Their power-play was 3-6 Tuesday and now is just over 30 percent on the year; they’ve scored 13 power-play goals in their last six games. The PK has been stellar too, only allowing one power-play goal against in six and is 28 for its last 29. On the year it’s now over 90 percent, at 90.59, which is also a league-best. No shock to see those numbers and then see where the Vees are in the standings.
  • 20 wins is mighty impressive but they still need one more-to get to half way of 42. Think about that for a moment. They’re still one win from reaching the halfway mark of the record setting win streak in the 2011-2012 season.
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Game Preview: Vees (19-1-0-0) at Trail (8-11-0-0)

Nov 10



On Deck

The Penticton Vees (19-1-0-0) look to push their BCHL-best win streak to 20-games tonight in Trail, when they face the Smoke Eaters (8-11-0-0) at the Cominco Arena in the West Kootenays. The Vees are coming off a 3-2 double-overtime win over Nanaimo on Saturday. The Smokies went into Merritt Saturday and beat the Centennials 3-2.

A rare busy Tuesday in the BCHL as there’s four games in total, three others around the league. Vernon hosts Merritt tonight and are coming off a three-game road trip over the weekend. Nanaimo heads over to Alberni Valley to face the Bulldogs and Victoria makes a trip up to the Sunshine Coast to face the Powell River Kings.

We Meet Again

This is the second game in nine days between Penticton and Trail, as they last met on November 1st, and that too was at Cominco Arena. The Vees skated away with a 6-1 win but it was a close affair, as the Vees scored their final three goals inside the final three-minutes. Zach Driscoll was sensational in that game, taking home first start honours after stopping 48 of 49 shots; he went on to be named the BCHL Player of the Week. Demico Hannoun had a hat-trick in that win against Trail and has scored five goals in his last four games.

Speaking of hot goalies, Trail’s Bailey MacBurnie was just named the BCHL Player of the Week, for the week ending November 8th. MacBurnie backstopped the Smokies to two wins over Nanaimo and Merritt and he stopped 81 of 84 shots in his two starts; that’s a sparkling .964 save percentage. MacBurnie was named second star in their win Friday and the game’s first star Saturday in Merritt.

This is the third meeting of the season between the two teams, with the Vees winning the previous two encounters. Penticton won 5-3 at home on October 7th, and 6-1 most recently on November 1st. After tonight the Vees face the Smokies four more times: November 28th, January 29th and February 13th at home and January 30th in Trail.

Roster News

Zach Driscoll is your probable starter for the Vees, if you go by the goalie rotation implemented by the Vees. Driscoll is 6-0, with a 1.67 goals-against average and sparkling .946 save percentage. He was the winning goaltender last time out against Trail.

Griffin Mendel has rejoined the team after winning gold and will be in the line-up tonight. That means the Vees will have six healthy defensemen at their disposal tonight, after Dante Fabbro returned to the line-up Saturday. Gabe Bast and Seamus Donohue are sidelined with longer-term injuries.

Rising Star

Not only was Scott Conway the Vees’ Player of the Month for October but he was also named the BCHL Player of the Month, and the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s 2nd Star of October.  Conway tallied 11 goals and 15 assists for 26 points as the Vees went 12-0 in October. The 20-year-old had at least a point each of the 12 games in October and is currently riding an 18-game point streak. Conway had five game-winning goals last month and five games where he had three or more points. He’s only been held pointless once this season.

Gold Rush

Whilst the Vees were busy winning their 19th in-a-row Saturday, Vees’ defenseman Griffin Mendel was busy winning gold at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek, BC. Mendel and Team Canada White came back to beat Russia 6-2 in the Gold Medal game in front of a sold out Encana Events Centre. Canada trailed 2-1 at one point but scored five unanswered goals to cruise to the victory. It was the first time a Canadian team won the Under-17’s since Team Ontario struck gold in 2011.

Canada White went 1-2 in round-robin play but peaked at the right time, beating Finland in their Quarter-Final match-up and just edged out Sweden in a thrilling Semi-Final. The Vees’ 16-year-old defenseman picked up one assist in six games and was a key contributor on the blue-line. Mendel has since rejoined his teammates and will be in the line-up Tuesday when the Vees visit Trail.

Staying on Top

The Penticton Vees remain the top ranked team in the weekly CJHL Top 20 national rankings this week. The second straight week they’ve held down the number one spot and the third week this season they’ve been ranked number one; they were the top ranked team in pre-season rankings.

The Vees are the only BCHL team in the Top 20 national rankings this week after Salmon Arm cracked the list last week; West Kelowna was an Honourable Mention one week ago.

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