WJAC Semi-Final Thursday

Dante Fabbro, Tyson Jost and Canada West face Canada East in an all-Canadian Semi-Final match up at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Ontario this afternoon; 4 pm PST / 7 pm ET.

Canada West finished 2-0 in round-robin play, after picking up wins over the Czech Republic (7-3) and the United States (3-2). Jost leads Canada West in scoring through two games, with a goal and four points; Fabbro is tied for second with two assists.

Canada East split their two round-robin games, winning big over Switzerland (8-3) before being thumped 6-1 by the Russians. Canada East booked a spot in the Semis after edging the Czechs 3-2 Wednesday.

In other Semi-Final action, USA face Russia, also at 4 pm PST.

Fans can watch the all-Canadian Semi-Final for FREE on www.fasthockey.com 

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Post-Game Blog: Vees, OT Just Go Together

Post-Game Chart Dec 15

GAME RECAP

BOXSCORE 

  • Well, that’s some kind of stat. The Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane had a well publicized 26-game point streak in the NHL, which ironically came to an end last night in their 3-0 loss to Colorado. Kane had 16 goals and 24 assists during the run, which was the second longest in the NHL since Mats Sundin’s 30-game stretch in 1992-93. Why am I telling you this? Well, for comparison’s sake, Conway now has a point in very game but one he’s played in this season. He was shutout on opening night, missed two games due to a school visit but has points in the rest. His streak stretches all the way back to September 16th, ironically enough against Vernon. He’s got 30 goals and 68, SIXTY-EIGHT, points during his run. Just think about that for a moment or two. He was a man amongst boys last night. Two goals, two assists and he scored the game-tying goal and set up the game-winner in double-OT.
  • I think Vernon will deny enter to Kal-Tire Place for Conway next time the Vees come to Vernon. Conway after Tuesday now has seven goals and 11 points (yes that’s not a misprint) in four games against the Vipers. He’s got three two-goal games against Vernon in the season series. Snake charmer.
  • Conway was at the center of it all on Tuesday, not only did he bag four points in the win but he was also at the center of a controversial penalty-shot call against Penticton. This was the play:

  • Sorry, but that’s a textbook stick lift by Conway. The referee pantomimes a “holding” call on the play but as you can clearly see, Conway has both of his hands on his stick, he lifts Hunter Zandee’s stick twice and never turns over his blade. How is it a hold when he comes up from underneath and lifts his stick and then scoops the puck away? You can say I’m wearing my “Vees coloured glasses” but this was a flat-out missed call. Not only was it a terrible call but the time it was called at made it even more puzzling. It’s a 3-3 game with just over six-minutes left in the third period and that call could have decided the game. It was such a great play by Conway, who gave the puck away, to race back, change his angle to come at the side of Zandee and lift up his stick to prevent the shot. Luckily the Vees came back to tie the game and then win it in double-overtime. Heckuva play by Zandee to force the turnover and give himself an opportunity on the breakaway. He even recovered nicely on the penalty-shot, as he bobbled it somewhat before recovering and going five-hole. Fortunately that wasn’t the ending for the Vees.
  • Some Vernon fans won’t be happy about the penalty call that led to Conway tying the game late in the third on the power-play. But the Vernon forward left his feet and hit the back of Colton Poolman just off the boards. Here’s the reverse angle from behind the Vernon net:

  • That’s a textbook charging call. Brandt’s known to be a big hitter and his reputation for that is well-known around the league. So, he’s under the microscope and that hit won’t slide, especially when the optics look like that. I didn’t, from my angle, see him leave his feet when it happened but watching the video it’s pretty cut and dry.
  • Funny, because I thought the officials did a pretty good job last night up until the final minutes when all that controversy broke out. A shame that’s what the fans will remember most and not what was a pretty exciting game in the last two periods.

  • That’s the overtime-winner by Chris Gerrie above. So, this post-game blog is turning into the Scott Conway blog, but he made another great play on the winner. First, smart play by Luke Voltin to elude a defender in the neutral zone, before spotting Conway for the drop pass. He knew Conway was coming straight up the gut and would be in full stride so he just drops it for him to skate onto. Then Conway shows his smarts, as he comes down into the zone at top speed, sucks two defenders over to him, waiting for them to pinch over, before firing a dart back over to Gerrie for the shot. The Vipers knew all too well the OT prowess of Conway and you can see Jagger Williamson and Latrell Charleson key on Conway, as everyone thought he was going to shoot. Crafty play by the veteran to set up Gerrie for the winner.
  • Funny, talking with Vernon Broadcaster Graham Turnbull after the game, he jokingly said the Vees were just playing it safe it four-on-four to just get it to three-on-three and take their chances there. That was the Vees’ fourth double-overtime win this season, as they’re 4-0 in the three-on-three period, so maybe there’s some truth to Mr. Turnbull’s comments. They have a ton of skill and you can see it take over when there’s so much open ice with only six skaters out there. They sure know how to pick their spots and this team is now 7-0-1-0 beyond regulation. Undefeated in eight games.
  • Back to Gerrie for a moment, that was his first goal since November 25th, snapping a six-game scoreless drought. Coincidentally enough his last goal before Tuesday night came against Vernon too. Now, Gerrie and Conway have formed quite the OT pairing, as that’s back-to-back games they’ve manufactured the OT-winner. Saturday it was Gerrie setting up Conway and Tuesday they switched roles. I’m guessing we will see more of those two together in future overtime games.
  • One of the biggest problems for the Vipers this season? Their record against the top three teams in the Interior. They’re now 0-9-0-3 in 12 games against the Vees, Warriors and Silverbacks. Divisional points are so valuable and they’ve struggled to get points against teams that are ahead of them in the standings. Big reason why they’re in a dog fight with Trail for the fourth and final playoff spot. Big, BIG, game tonight in Trail, as the Vipers and Smoke Eaters go head-to-head.
  • How about Anthony Brodeur? Head Coach Fred Harbinson quipped this morning that it was a “Grant Fuhr” performance. He let in a few but didn’t let in the next one. After allowing three in the first period, Brodeur stopped 24 of the 25 shots he faced over the final 46-minutes and 41 seconds. He made an eye-popping pad save on Steven Jandric in the second to keep the game tied 3-3 and then, with the Vees down 4-3, he made three “Grade A” saves on Jagger Williamson and Riley Brandt. He stops Williamson on a breakaway, then stops his rebound AND THEN he stops Brandt on the follow-up try. He made the big saves when his team needed him to. Still undefeated.
  • Speaking of Brandt, some Vernon Vipers and their fans were upset there was no call when Andrew Shortridge got bowled over in his crease late in the third. Well, here’s the video:

  • Some friendly fire by Brandt, as he went to go make a hit on Voltin just at the top of the crease as Voltin was cutting to the net. Unfortunately when Brandt went to throw the hit he bounces right off of Voltin and flies into his own goalie. Voltin goes in after Brandt, as he trips over the sprawled out goaltender. You wonder if the risk there was worth it, as there’s a very good chance the goalie is going to absorb some of the impact when a hit is attempted that close to the crease. That just a bad luck collision in the Vernon crease.
  • Some solid play but three veteran blue-liners in Poolman, David Eccles and Dom Masellis. I thought the three really stepped up when the Vees needed a push from the back-end in the second and third period. Poolman did Poolman things, logging a lot of ice and playing in all situations. Same goes for Eccles but I thought Masellis took a step forward last night. He was solid in his own end and was effective at the offensive blue-line make nice plays by keeping pucks in and firing intentional shots off the end boards, looking for the lively bounce back out front.
  • Not to be buried at the bottom of the blog but Nic Jones may have been the Vees best forward outside of Conway. He had two assists in the win and was a puck magnet all night. Shift after shift, he was making things happen in the offensive zone. I’ve said it quite a few times before, but he’s one of the most competitive and hardest-working forwards I’ve come across.
  • Shots seemed to be a bit off too last night, as in building they had them 41-29 Vernon but the Vees had it 33-29 Penticton on their shot tracker app. Odd, because the Vees weren’t credited with a shot in OT, despite scoring. Head scratcher.
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Blog Preview: Vees First Visit to Kal-Tire Place

Dec 15

LISTEN LIVE 

WATCH 

For an in-depth look at the Vernon Vipers, check-out the Vipers blog here. 

  • The Vees play two of their final three games before the Christmas break on the road, and it starts tonight in at Kal-Tire Place with a match up against the  Vipers. This is the Vees first trip to Vernon this season, as the first three games of the season series were at the SOEC; the Vees won the previous three meetings.
  • It’s a two-for-one game day special, as prior to the Vees-Vipers game, Canada West face the United States at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Ontario; puck drop is 4pm PST. Both teams enter the game 1-0 records, as Canada West scored a 7-3 win over the Czechs Sunday; USA beast the Czechs 6-0 yesterday. Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro each had two points in their opener. You can watch the game, for free, on Fasthockey.com
  • The Vees snapped a two-game winless “skid” last Saturday, scoring a 4-3 double-overtime win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The Vees were up 3-0 and 3-1 heading into the third period against the ‘Backs but the visitors rallied to force OT. Scott Conway saved the day, scoring his fourth OT-winner in three-on-three, as the Vees picked up their first win against the Silverbacks this season. Vernon is coming off a 7-4 road win in Langley Saturday, as they were led by Odeen Tufto, who bagged four points in the win; Jimmy Lambert had two goals and three points.
  • Though the ‘Backs have given the Vees some fits, they’ve enjoyed quite a bit of success against Vernon. As mentioned, the Vees have won the first three games in the season series, scoring 3-2, 4-3 (OT) and 3-0 wins at the SOEC. Kal-Tire Place has been a comfort of sorts in recent memory too, as the Vees won all three regular season games in Vernon last year and have won seven of their last 10 trips to the “snake pit.” The Vees are 12-3-0-0 on the road, the best road record in the BCHL, but they’ve dropped two of their last three away from the SOEC.
  • Vernon has won three of their last five home games but on the flip side have lost two of their last three at home, including a 5-2 loss to Salmon Arm on December 9th; Vernon is 9-8-0-1 at Kal-Tire Place this season.
  • Patrick Kane’s 26-game point streak has been well publicized but how about the Vees’ Scott Conway? The 20-year-old enters Tuesday riding a 30-game point streak that stretches all the way back to the Vees home opener on September 16th, coincidentally enough against Vernon. Conway has 28 goals and 64 points in his 30-game streak, which is far and away, the longest streak in the BCHL this season.
  • The Vees will be short-handed yet again entering tonight’s game, as they’ll be missing six regulars from their line-up. They’ll only dress four regulars on the blue-line as well, as they’ve called up Daniel Stone and Ryan Morrell from the Osoyoos Coyotes; they’re the highest scoring defenseman on the Coyotes. Not dressing due to injury is Gabe Bast, Dixon Bowen, Seamus Donohue and Demico Hannoun. Dante Fabbro and Tyson Jost are away with Team Canada West at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge.
  • Penticton native and 17-year-old Nathan Iannone makes his Vees debut tonight in Vernon. The forward plays next door at the Okanagan Hockey Academy for the Prep Red team in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League. Iannone has 10 goals and 20 points in 18 games in the CSSHL. He’s also plays with a noticeable edge, as he has 72 penalty-minutes in those 18 games; 3rd most in the CSSHL. He played in the pre-season for the Vees when they hosted the Brooks Bandits and didn’t look out-of-place. Expect the AP to bring plenty of energy to the line-up.
  • With only four regular defensemen in the line-up the Vees will once again need big contributions from their veterans. Colton Poolman, David Eccles and Dom Masellis will need to be a factor on the blue-line. Poolman is a tone setter back there and the 20-year-old is coming off of one of his best outings of the season on Saturday. He’ll likely see a lot of the Odeen Tufto line, which has been hot for Vernon. The D-core needs to keep it simple with clean exits and not get burned by unforced turnovers.
  • Anthony Brodeur gets the start in goal and will be putting his undefeated record on the line. Entering tonight’s game, Brodeur is 16-0-1-0 on the season, sporting a 1.91 goals-against average and owns a .934 save percentage; he’s 2-0 against Vernon, owning a .912 save percentage.
  • The Vipers will be missing Liam Finlay from their line-up tonight, as he too is playing for Canada West. In his absence, Odeen Tufto has led the way, as the forward now leads the Vipes in scoring with 14 goals and 36 points. Tufto has seven points (3-4-7) in his last three games and points in four of his last six.
  • Andrew Shortridge is the likely starter for the Vipers, as he’s been a workhorse between the pipes for Vernon; he’s seventh in games played (24) and fourth in minutes played (1466). Shortridge has started all three games against the Vees this season, sporting a 0-2-0-1 record, with a 3.31 goals-against average and owns a .903 save percentage.
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Vees Bumped Out of Top Spot in CJHL Rankings

CJHL Top 20

From the CJHL:

As the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge gets underway in Coburg and Whitby, another battle is shaping up for number one overall in the CJHL between the newest top team, the Trenton Golden Hawks of the OJHL, and the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. This looks to be a long-term battle with both teams as we move into the second part of the season.

The Vees had a small stumble this past week in Salmon Arm, but got back on the winning track against those same Silverbacks back in their home rink on the weekend.

The Lloydminster Bobcats have also stumbled slightly in the AJHL, and have seen the Whitecourt Wolverines and the Brooks Bandits move closer to the Bobcats.

The Melfort Mustangs have been joined by the Battlefords North Stars as the two top teams in the SJHL.

The Portage Terriers remain strong at the top of the MJHL, but the Winkler Flyers and the Steinbach Pistons are right behind them in the overall MJHL standings.

The Fort Frances Lakers in the Superior International Junior Hockey League continue their strong grip on first place, while the Soo Thunderbirds, Powassan Voodoos, and Cochrane Crunch are continuing to separate themselves from the rest of the NOJHL.

The Trenton Golden Hawks are still running away from the rest of the OJHL, while the Carleton Place Canadians and the Cumberland Grads are holding their positioning in at the top of the overall standings of the CCHL.

The College Francais de Longueuil of the QJHL are tied in points with the Montagnards de Sainte-Agathe, but have one more regulation win and a game in hand on the Montagnards.

Meanwhile, the Summerside Western Capitals are locked in a pitched battle with the Dieppe Commandos for top spot in the overall standings in the Maritime Hockey League.

Top 20 Rankings

  1. Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) (2)
  2. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (1)
  3. Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (3)
  4. Portage Terriers (MJHL) (5)
  5. Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) (6)
  6. Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (4)
  7. Winkler Flyers  (MJHL) (11)
  8. Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL) (8)
  9. Lloydminster Bobcats (AJHL)  (7)
  10. Melfort Mustangs (SJHL) (10)
  11. Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (9)
  12. Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (13)
  13. Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) (12)
  14. Cochrane Crunch (NOJHL) (14)
  15. Whitecourt Wolverines (AJHL) (16)
  16. College Francais de Longeueil (QJHL) (15)
  17. Battlefords North Stars (SJHL) (20)
  18. Cumberland Grads (CCHL) (17)
  19. Summerside Western Capitals (MHL) (HM)
  20. Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) (NR)

Honourable Mention: Salmon Arm Silverbacks (BCHL), Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL), Weyburn Red Wings (SJHL), Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL), Dieppe Commandos (MHL) 

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Post-Game Blog: Conway, Vees Conjure Up More OT Magic

Post-Game Chart Dec 12

GAME RECAP 

Boxscore 

HIGHLIGHTS 

  • Quite the contest Saturday night at the SOEC. It was somewhat like two veteran boxers going at it. After a feeling out process in the first, the Vees came out swinging in the second scoring three times to go up 3-0. But Salmon Arm kept jabbing away and tied it up in the third to force OT but the Vees found a way to deliver the knockout blow in OT. Fun game to watch, call, as both teams were flying up and down the ice early, as Salmon Arm is faster than sin; right up there with the Vees in team speed.
  • First and foremost the Vees battled their butts off from start to finish, despite letting a 3-0 lead and a two-goal third period lead slip away. They’re not a team to make excuses but the short-handed line-up factored into the story line, as the Vees had just 11 regular forwards and four regular defensemen in the line-up; they only played five D. Not to take away from the Silverbacks, who cranked it up a few notches in the third, but the Vees legs started to get heavy towards the end of regulation but that made for a fantastic finish. The effort level was a complete 180 from Friday night, as all four lines brought something to the table Saturday. Just look at the scoring, through regulation, the Vees got goals from their first, second and fourth lines. That “team approach” was highlighted by AP forward Liam Lytton, just 15-years-old, scoring the Vees third goal in the second period. Even though the first period was a scoreless one, the Vees were noticeably better, as they tripled their shots from the first the night before and brought a noticeably physical edge.
  • Great moment to see Lytton get his first BCHL goal, in just his second game, in front of eight family members and friends; I know because I had to organize the tickets ;). No, it was a direct shot but a puck banking in but in the end, they all count the same. Liam won’t forget that any time soon, and hey, he can tell his friends he went bar down.
  • Also good to see Darius Davidson score his first as a Vee; nice one too. Great release early in the second to put the Vees up 1-0. He looked waaaaay more relaxed last night compared to Friday. I’m excited to see what he can do once he gets settled in.
  • All you have to do to look at how hard the Vees battled was the play of Colton Poolman. He was a beast on the blue-line. Easily had the most minutes out of any player, on both sides, and was going up against the ‘Backs best forwards all night. He was near the 30-minute mark in ice time Saturday, kept Ross Heidt in check and that’s saying something, as he’s arguably the fastest player in the BCHL. Poolman looked to be feeling the minutes as the game moved into the third, but there he was, closing down the gap on the speedy Salmon Arm forwards, shutting down opportunities. Assistant Coach Steve Cawley said post-game, that was the best individual performance he has seen from a Vee this season. He also made a heckuva play on the game-winner, on “the shift.” During the three-on-three OT, Poolman made a smart play, moving in front of the net, drew a defender with him, as he was setting up a moving screen for Scott Conway. Poolman, unintentionally or intentionally, opened up the legs and Conway fired right through for the game-winner; don’t think the goalie saw the release.Here’s what I’m talking about:

     

  • Great play by Poolman to drive down the middle of the zone and act as a moving screen; bit of a basketball pick and roll play. That sequence might be known as “The Shift” going forward. Chris Gerrie makes two determined plays to take the puck away on the boards and keep it in the zone for the Vees, which eventually led to Conway scoring. The play by Gerrie was his best during that shift, as he races back to the blue-line, settles the puck then quickly spins and flips it back down to Conway who does the rest. Gerrie had a backhand attempt that just missed seconds before the goal but he didn’t sulk, rather he raced after it in the corner and took it away from the defenseman. That shift I think captured what the Vees were all about on Saturday. Hard-work.
  • How about the bounce-back performance by Zach Driscoll? He gets pulled after 20-minutes on Friday, allowing two goals on seven shots. Great story about his character, was the fact he came to the coaches after that first period Friday and owned up to those two goals and said he wasn’t good enough. So, the coaches give him a shot to redeem himself and he takes the ball and runs with it. His best sequence was in the third and the first OT. I had him down for seven “Grade A” saves on my roster sheet. He made two clutch breakaway saves in the second too, robbing Mitch Newsome (five-hole) and Ross Heidt (glove). The Heidt save might have been the most flashy, as the Salmon Arm forward went backhand, but despite falling forward, Driscoll reached up and snagged it. In total, I have him down for four breakaway saves (Newsome, Heidt, Josh Blanchard and Elijiah Barriga). In OT, he made that HUGE right-pad save on Blanchard and then spread himself out in the crease, stuffing Newsome who walked out of the corner. If it wasn’t for him in the third and OT, the Vees don’t win this game. He’s performance can’t be overstated given how thin and fatigued the Vees were on the blue-line late. Big bounce back.
  • The Vees are now 3-0-0 coming off a loss the game prior. They’ve outscored their opponents 15-7 in those three games. They have yet to lose back-to-back games this season. It’s December 13th.
  • Scott Conway point streak update: 30-games, 28 goals and 64 points. He’s alright.
  • At the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Ontario, Tyson Jost, Dante Fabbro and Canada West opened their tournament this morning with a 7-3 win over the Czech Republic. Jost had a goal and two points and Fabbro had two helpers. This morning, Jost was named the team Captain and Fabbro was named an Assistant. Game recap can be found here 

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Blog: ‘Backs Take Weekend Opener; Vees Look to Bounce Back

Post-Game Chart Dec 11

GAME RECAP 

BOXSCORE 

  • An eerie foreshadow from the Vees Head Coach Fred Harbinson in my pre-game chat with him prior to Friday’s game. That was his last comment about what was going to be the difference between a win or a loss. Puck management was definitely a sore spot for the Vees last night, as they were sloppy in their own end in the first two periods and that ultimately led to their undoing.   The first four goals against originated after turnovers or miscues inside their own blue-line and you can’t afford those types of mistakes against a team as good as Salmon Arm.
  • “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” A famous quote that has been credited to a few but it certainly applied to Friday night. Yes, the ‘Backs first two goals weren’t conventional, and yes, they had some luck to them but they earned those bounces with their work ethic. Zach Driscoll will readily admit he wasn’t at his best of the first two goals against but the ‘Backs did get the home town bounce or bounce. The first goal against was a smart play by Carson Bolduc, as he fired a hard shot / pass out of the corner that went off Driscoll’s stick and in; maybe the forward saw the goalie cheating a bit. Then his second if the first has to be chalked up to a fortuitous bounce. Bolduc, again, from behind the net, had his reverse pass (?!) go off the stanchion behind the net, then off the back of Driscoll’s leg and in. Now it the ‘Backs didn’t draw it up like that to get a 2-0 lead but they earned their luck and the Vees weren’t playing up to the level we’re use to seeing from them. The harder I work, the luckier I get.
  • A few times you had a feeling a goal was coming for Salmon Arm after a mistake by a Vee. The one I think that was the straw the broke the camel’s back, was the 3-1 goal midway through the second. The Vees made it 2-1 a few minutes earlier and just killed-off a penalty. But seconds after the PK ended, the Vees had a chance to skate the puck out but two forwards looked at each other and did the old, “you take it, I got it,” routine which led to the ‘Backs making it 3-1. If one of those forwards grabbed the puck, took charge, it’s likely a two-on-one the other way for Penticton but there’s some hesitation and miscommunication and boom, its in the back of their net after a short scramble. A killer. The Vees wilted a bit there, as the ‘Backs scored 42-seconds later, after another turnover, to quickly go up 4-1.
  • Offensively speaking, the Vees had their chances in the first and had a nice little push early in the second but they’ll need to put more rubber on the Salmon Arm net tonight. Not taking anything away from the Silverbacks’ defensive effort but three shots in the first and 11 through two isn’t acceptable for this team, regardless of who is and isn’t here. They’ll have to find a way to funnel more traffic and more shots towards the Salmon Arm goal. I thought the Vees were guilty at times of being a bit too selective with their chances in the offensive zone; trying to make that extra play one too many times. When you’re going through some adversity, it’s best to dumb it down a bit. They need to simplify things: net drives, traffic and shots.
  • Salmon Arm hasn’t been kind to Vees’ starters. Now in two games, the starting goaltender hasn’t made it past the second period. Driscoll last night had some rotten luck but he would be the first to admit he wasn’t as sharp as he needed to be. He was caught napping a bit on the first goal against and was off his post, not alert enough, on the second goal against. I shrug my shoulders and give the ‘tender a Mulligan, because the Vees goaltending has been fantastic this year. Driscoll likely won’t repeat that performance anytime soon and he’s won a fair share of games for the Vees this season. After the game, I was told that he owned up to the first period right away to the coaching staff after they said they were making the switch. That’s a sign of a good character kid and the coaching staff won’t forget that.
  • Thought they didn’t score last night, I thought the best line, throughout the game for Salmon Arm was the trio of Ross Heidt, Taro Hirose and Mitch Newsome. The three were hard to play against, always on top of pucks and hounded the Vees on the fore-check. Their play is what the ‘Backs want to be known for: speed, hard-work and competitiveness. Hirose seems to have a magnet on his stick, because he seems to always have the puck on a string. Heidt can turn on the afterburners at a moments notice, and Newsome is just annoying to play against; he’s always in your way. The Vees will have to keep tabs on those three tonight.
  • One bright spot last night for the Vees was the debut of Liam Lytton. The soon to be 16-year-old made his BCHL debut last night and I thought he was effective when he was out there. First game, so he kept it simple, hit everything in white and was nuisance on the fore-check. I thought he, Taylor Ward and Desi Burgart actually were the Vees most consistent forwards in the first period. They brought energy, were good on the fore-check and created turnovers. Those three will need to bring that effort again tonight and provide that spark.

Dec 12

  • The Vees can take comfort in their record at home, as they’re the only undefeated home team in the BCHL, sporting a 15-0-1-0 record at the SOEC; 16-0-1-0 overall. All-Time, the Vees are 172-30-5-11 at the SOEC since it opened in the fall of 2008. The Vees were also 3-0 at home last year against the ‘Backs, winning 5-1, 1-0 and 2-1 (OT).
  • Zach Driscoll will get another crack at it tonight, as he’ll make his second straight start. Smart move, as Brodeur played the last 40-minutes and Driscoll will be motivated to make up for the first period let down.
  • There shouldn’t be any other changes to the Vees line-up, as they’ll be missing Gabe Bast, Seamus Donohue and Dante Fabbro on the blue-line. Up front, Dixon Bowen, Demico Hannoun and Tyson Jost are absent. The Vees again will have AP’s Liam Lytton and Daniel Stone in for tonight’s game. Lytton is a 15-year-old who plays at the Yale Academy in Abbotsford, and Stone is a 19-year-old defenseman from the Osoyoos Coyotes.
  • The Vees know how to bounce back, all be it they haven’t had to do it much this year. Coming off a loss, they’re 2-0 this season and have outscored their opponents 11-4 in those two games. Most recently, they thumped the Coquitlam Express 8-2 on November 21st.
  • With his two goals last night, Conway took over the Vees scoring lead from Tyson Jost, who’s away at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Ontario. Conway now has 27 goals and 62 points in 30 games. Nic Jones had his five game point and goal streak snapped in the loss though. Going into Friday’s game, he had six goals and 12 points in his previous five.
  • Easton Brodzinski leads the Vees against the ‘Backs this season, as the 19-year-old has a pair of goals and three points in the first two games against Salmon Arm. Scott Conway has two goals and Colton Poolman has a pair of helpers.
  • Taro Hirose leads the ‘Backs in scoring with 39 points and has two helpers in two games against the Vees. Barriga (3-0-3), Bolduc (2-1-3) and Riley Booth (0-3-3) have the most points in the season series, and Josh Blanchard (1-1-2) and Ross Heidt (0-2-2) have a pair of points.
  • Salmon Arm is one of only five teams in the BCHL with a record above .500 on the road, as they’re 10-4-0-0 away from the Shaw Centre. They’ve won their last two road games and three of their last five.

 

 

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Blog Preview: Vees, ‘Backs Start Home-and-Home

Dec 11

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  • It’s three months to the day since these two divisional rivals last played each other, as you have to go all the way back to opening night, September 11th. The ‘Backs skated to a 4-2 win on that night, as Elijiah Barriga had two goals in the win for Salmon Arm, and former Vee Josh Blanchard added a single and so did Ross Heidt. Easton Brodzinski scored both of Penticton’s goals in one of just their two losses this year. So, after playing just once in 90-days, these two foes will face each other twice in less than 24-hours, with tomorrow’s game scheduled at 6 pm
  • Cosmetically, both rosters have gone under a bit of makeover since they met on opening night. Brendan Barry, who took the loss in goal, is now with Vernon. Also the Vees traded away Tyler Niven and Jason Lavallee, and brought in David Eccles, Zach Driscoll, Nicholas Jones, Domenic Masellis, Luke Voltin, and most recently Darius Davidson. Since opening night, Salmon Arm shipped out Aiden Salerno, Brett Stewart, Matty Saharchuk, Brenden Wagner and Zach Dyment. They’ve brought in Chase Zieky, Kodi Schwarz, Mitch Newsome, Mike Winnitoy and Brandon Kegler.
  • The Vees are coming into tonight’s game short-handed, as they’ll be missing six regulars from their line-up. Not playing due to injury are Gabe Bast, Dixon Bowen, Seamus Donohue and Demico Hannoun. The Vees are also missing Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro who are with Team Canada West at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Ontario.To help fill the void the Vees have called-up two affiliate players for tonight’s game. 15-year-old Liam Lytton will make his BCHL debut up front and will wear number 97. Lytton plays for Yale Academy in the Canadian Sport Schools Hockey League. It’s a bit of an early Christmas and birthday present for Liam, as he was born on Christmas day, in 1999. 19-year-old defenseman Daniel Stone, from the Osoyoos Coyotes, will also be in the line-up and will wear number 15; Stone has played in four games with the Vees.
  • Tonight is also the debut of newly acquired forward Darius Davidson. The 19-year-old came to Penticton via a trade with the Surrey Eagles earlier the week. Davidson led the Eagles in scoring this year with 25 points in 30 games, and led the Eagles last year with 51 points in 58 games; he’ll wear number 28. For more on that trade, click here. Davidson will play on a line with Easton Brodzinski and Scott Conway. Davidson will line-up on the left and Conway will slid to the middle, with Brodzinski in his usual spot on the right-wing.
  • No doubt the Vees are hurting and will miss the offense that’s out of the line-up, but adding Davidson does cushion the blow, somewhat. They can’t replace Jost’s 61 points or Fabbro’s offense and poise on the blue-line, but collectively they can try to patch the holes. They’ve lost some skill from their line-up, no question, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t lost their work ethic. Tonight and over these next two weeks, will be about out-competing their opponent. Bring you work boots with you and see where the chips fall.
  • One guy that can and has stepped up is Nic Jones. The 19-year-old has 12 points in his five-game point streak and has scored a goal in five straight. His line of him, Chris Gerrie and Owen Sillinger will need to make an impact this weekend. As Assistant Coach Steve Cawley has said before, you can measure the Vees success on how that line is playing. If they’re moving their feet, creating, the Vees are usually in good shape.
  • Zach Driscoll gets the start in net for the Vees and is coming off his second shutout of the season last Friday; he stopped all 28-shots he faced in a 3-0 win over Vernon. Driscoll is 11-1 with a 1.75 goals-against and sports a .941 save percentage. Salmon Arm will likely counter with 20-year-old Angus Redmond in net and he is 14-6-2 with a 2.75 goals-against average and sports a .908 save percentage; Redmond didn’t play Wednesday against Vernon.
  • Both teams are at the top of the Interior Division standings and you can point to their success within the division as a major reason why. The Vees are 15-1-0-0 against the Interior and the ‘Backs are 13-2-0-1. Combined, they’ve only dropped seven out of a possible 64 points.
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Vees Week in Review: Dec 1st-6th

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The Penticton Vees remain undefeated in December, another player goes down with injury, a trade with the Surrey Eagles,  an International Exhibition announced for January, Nic Jones gets some BCHL recognition and a big weekend match up ahead, in this edition of the “Vees Week in Review.”

 Let’s Make a Deal

Wednesday morning the Vees announced a trade with the Surrey Eagles, which saw them acquire forward Darius Davidson. The 19-year-old led the Eagles in scoring this season, with 11 goals and 25 points in 30 games. The Surrey, BC, product also led the Eagles in scoring last year, putting up 25 goals and 51 points in 58 games.

Davidson is in his third season in the BCHL and has played in 144 regular season games, all with his hometown team. Davidson will make his Vees debut on Friday in Salmon Arm, when the Vees visit the Silverbacks; he’ll wear number 28.

Another Week without a Loss

The Vees picked up wins against Merritt and Vernon and tied Alberni Valley last week, as they remain undefeated at home. The Vees wrapped up their five-game home stand with wins over the Cents’ (5-3) and Vipers (3-0), before tying the Bulldogs (4-4) Saturday.

Nicholas Jones scored twice in the win against Merritt and finished with three points, en route to being named the game’s first star. Zach Driscoll stopped 28-shots for his second shutout of the season Friday against Vernon, and Colton Poolman scored his first career junior hockey goal, in the Vees tie with the ‘Dogs.

That tie did end the Vees 20-game regular season win streak at the SOEC, which dated all the way back to February of last season, but they’re still undefeated in 17 home games this year.

On Deck

The Vees now prepare for a home-and-home series with the second-place Salmon Arm Silverbacks this weekend. The ‘Backs, as of today, have 18 wins and 39 points in 29 games and have two games in hand on the Vees. They’ll use up one of those two games tonight when they travel to Vernon.

The Vees haven’t played Salmon Arm since opening night of the BCHL regular season, way back on September 16th, when they were dealt a 4-2 loss; just one of two regulation losses this season for Penticton. The two teams meet again one night later in Penticton on Saturday, December 12th; puck drop is 6 pm.

Infirmary is Full

The Vees were saddled with more injury woes over the weekend, as forward Demico Hannoun sustained a broken arm in the team’s win over Vernon Friday. Hannoun was struck in the arm with a teammate’s shot and his recovery time is forecasted to be about six-weeks.

Hannoun was placed on the 30-day Injured Reserve, joining Seamus Donohue on the IR. The Vees are also still missing Gabe Bast and Dixon Bowen with longer-term injuries.

On the Honour Roll

Nicholas Jones’ impressive week didn’t go unnoticed, as he was given an Honourable Mention for the BCHL Player of the Week award, for the week ending December 6th. Jones had four goals and seven points in three games and was named a first and third star last week. Jones has points in five straight games and has scored at least a goal in each of his last five.

Crack Open a Red Bull

Monday the Vees, in conjunction with the BCHL, announced a special international exhibition game with Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg and their Under-20 team. The Vees will host the Red Bulls on Wednesday, January 20th, at the SOEC and tickets are just $5 for adults and seniors.

Red Bull Salzburg will also play Vernon, Victoria and West Kelowna in a BCHL exhibition tour. The Red Bulls, like the BCHL teams they’ll face, will include players born anywhere from 1995 to 1999. Most of the players are Austrian but there are some German-born players as well.

Tickets go on sale to season ticket holders and the general public on Tuesday, December 14th, at 10 am.

Still Holding at Number One

For the sixth straight week the Vees are the top ranked team in the CJHL Top 20 Weekly Rankings. The Vees have held the top spot since November 2nd, and if you include the pre-season rankings, they’ve been the top-ranked team for seven of the first 10 weeks of the rankings.

The Chilliwack Chiefs (12) and the Nanaimo Clippers (18) are the other two BCHL teams inside the Top 20 this week.

Alumni Update

Mike Garteig (2012) is going to run out of room on his trophy mantle. The accolades continue to pour in for the Quinnipiac Bobcats senior goaltender. For the second straight week Garteig was named the ECAC Goalie of the Week and was also the NCAA Division l men’s ice hockey first star of the week.

Garteig led the Bobcats to back-to-back shutout wins over Yale (3-0) and Brown (3-0) on the weekend. Garteig set a new program record with his 60th career win on Saturday and moved his shutout streak to194:49. Garteig was also named the Hockey Commissioners Association NCAA Player of the Month for November, after going 7-0-2 in nine starts, picking up two shutouts along the way, while sporting a .946 save percentage.

Staying in the crease, Olivier Mantha (2014) was named the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week, after posting a .939 save percentage in Alaska Anchorage’s weekend sweep of Michigan Tech. Mantha made 32 saves on Friday night in a 3-2 win for the Seawolves, and then he made another 30 saves Saturday, in another 3-2 win over the Huskies.  Mantha is 7-6-2 on the year with a 2.63 goals-against average and owns a .913 save percentage.

Connor Reilly (2012) was a big contributor for Minnesota in their sweep over Ohio State. Friday the forward had an assist in the Gophers 3-2 win and he followed that up with a pair of helpers Saturday, as Minnesota edged the Buckeyes 5-4.

Steven Fogarty (2012) and Mario Lucia (2012) factored in Notre Dame’s sweep of Massachusetts. Friday Fogarty had a goal and Lucia an assist in the as the Irish downed UMass 3-1. One night later they did it all over again, as Fogarty scored and Lucia pick up a helper in ND’s 5-1 win.

In the American Hockey League, Curtis McKenzie (2007-2009) continues to regain his form after a long-term injury. McKenzie, playing with the Texas Stars, had three points in two games last week and now has three goals and nine points in 11 games with the Dallas Stars’ farm team.

Joey Laleggia (2009-2011) had an assist in Bakersfield’s 6-4 win last week over San Diego. The defenseman now has seven points, all assists, in 20 games with the Oilers affiliate; he owns a plus five rating as well.

Mike Reilly (2012) was called up by the Minnesota Wild on December 2nd, from their farm team in Iowa. Reilly signed with Minnesota in the summer and in his first pro season in the AHL, the rear-guard was the top scoring defensemen on Iowa with nine points in 23 games. Reilly has yet to make his NHL debut.

 

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Vees Acquire Darius Davidson from Surrey

Photo: Garrett James Photography

Photo: Garrett James Photography

The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Hockey Club has acquired forward Darius Davidson (96) from the Surrey Eagles for future considerations, the team announced Wednesday.

President, General Manager and Head Coach Fred Harbinson sees a good fit with the power forward, “Darius is a proven contributor on the offensive side of the game and his numbers reflect that. We feel his blend of skill and size will make him a very effective player at both ends of the ice.”

“With the amount of injuries we’ve had in recent weeks, we felt this move made more and more sense going forward.”

Davidson, 19, led the Eagles in scoring this season with 11 goals and 25 points through 30 games; he had a team-best four power-play goals too. The 6’1, 195 pound winger had a breakout sophomore season a year ago, when he racked up 25 goals and 51 points in 58 games for a struggling Surrey squad. He finished in the top 40 in the BCHL scoring race last season and was tied for 19th in goals.

Since the start of last season, the Surrey, BC, native has put up 36 goals and 76 points in 88 games. Impressive numbers considering Surrey finished 16th in the BCHL with nine wins and 22 points one season ago.

To make room on the roster, the Vees put injured forward Demico Hannoun (95) on the 30-day Injured Reserve after he sustained a broken arm in last Friday’s game against Vernon; Hannoun is expected to be out six-weeks.

Davidson is expected to join the Vees today and make his debut on Friday in Salmon Arm.

Vees fans can see the newest Vee on this Saturday, December 12th, when they host the Silverbacks at the SOEC; face-off is 6 pm. It’s a showdown of the top two teams in the Interior Division, and it’s the second to last home game of 2015! Get your tickets at the Valley First box office (at the SOEC), or online at www.valleyfirsttix.com

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Fabbro, Jost Back for More with Canada West

Dante Fabbro (98) and Tyson Jost (98) will dawn the maple leaf once again. The two Vees are among nine BCHL players named by Hockey Canada to Team Canada West’s roster, for the 2015 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge (WJAC).

The tournament runs December 13th-19th, in Cobourg & Whitby, Ontario.

With today’s announcement, the Vees have now been represented 28 times at the WJAC since the inception of the tournament in 2006, most of any team in Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL). Fabbro and Jost join Joey Laleggia (2009, 2010) and Troy Stecher (2011, 2012), as players who have represented the Vees twice at the event. Demico Hannoun (2013, 2014) and Paul Stoykewych (2012, 2013) also played twice in the tournament but with two different teams.

At the time of his departure for Canada West camp, Jost was leading the BCHL in scoring with 24 goals and 61 points in 30 games. The Vees Captain is still in the top three in league scoring entering this week’s slate of games and has the second-best point per-game average in the league (2.0); he left for camp riding an 18-game point streak.

Fabbro leads all BCHL defensemen in scoring with 39 points in 24 games and is fifth overall in the scoring race; his 32 assists are the fifth most in the BCHL. He left for Canada West camp with points in five straight and in 10 of his last 11 games; he’s second in the CJHL in scoring by defensemen.

Fabbro and Jost both played on Canada West last year, when the event was held in Kindersley, Saskatchewan. This will be the fourth time the two represent Canada at an international event. They’ve played at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, the 2014 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge and the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.

All preliminary-round games, quarter-finals, semifinals, and the bronze-medal game can be seen live and free through Fasthockey webcasts at www.hockeycanada.ca/wjac. TSN will carry the gold-medal on December 19th.

 

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