Game 7 Preview: Vees Back Home, Welcome Merritt to the SOEC

Oct 2










Date Away Home
October 2nd Merritt Penticton
October 30th Merritt Penticton
October 31st Penticton Merritt
December 2nd Merritt Penticton
January 15th Penticton Merritt
January 27th Penticton Merritt
February 26th Penticton Merritt

The Penticton Vees welcome the Merritt Centennials to the SOEC for the first of seven meetings between the two divisional foes. This marks the first of three games in Penticton between these two teams and the first of three match ups this month; they’ll face-off in a Halloween weekend home-and-home.

The Vees have been off since September 25th, when they beat the Chilliwack Chiefs 2-1 in overtime at the Bauer BCHL Showcase and are making their much anticipated return home. This is the Vees’ first home game since their home opener 16 days ago. The Vees won 3-2 on that night against the Vernon Vipers to open their home schedule.

It was another sweep for the Vees at the Showcase beating Chilliwack as mentioned and also beating Alberni Valley 4-1 on September 24th. As a franchise, they’re 8-0-0 at the Showcase dating back to the inaugural event in September of 2012.

Tyson Jost and Anthony Brodeur both had great showings in Chilliwack and that didn’t go unnoticed, as they were both given honourable mentions for the BCHL Player of the Week Award. Jost had a hat-trick against Alberni Valley and finished with four points on the weekend. Brodeur won both his starts and stopped 56 of 58 shots he faced.

Tonight will future two teams with two very potent top lines in the early going. The Vees trio of Jost, Scott Conway and Chris Gerrie have combined 10 goals and 25 points in six games. Jost and Conway are one, two in team scoring and Gerrie sits fifth.

The dynamic trio of Zak Bowles, Colin Grannary and Gavin Gould have been lights-out for the Cents’. They occupy the top three spots in the team scoring race and have scored 18 goals in eight games. To put that into perspective, the rest of the Centennials have combined for 17. That trio torched the West Kelowna Warriors for fifteen, yes FIFTEEN, points in their 9-1 win Wednesday at Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.

There’s been a lot of change behind those three, as they make up half of the returning players on the Cents’ roster. The only other returning forward is Nick Fidanza and the other two familiar faces are Malik Kaila and Tyrell Buckley on the blue-line.

Change has been the off-season theme for the Cents’ as 16 new players were ushered in, including a new Head Coach in Joe Martin. Martin was an Assistant to Luke Pierce last season but Pierce has now moved on to the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League.

There’s been even more change just this week, as Martin has added defensemen Ryan Coghlan and Mark O’Shaughnessy and has also signed goaltender Cole Kehler. Kehler made his Cents’ debut Wednesday and stopped 29 of 30 shots for his first BCHL win.

After tonight these two teams meet back at the SOEC on Friday, October 30th.

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Two Vees Earn “A’s,” Top 20 Rankings & BCHL P.O.W.

It was a busy news day around the BCHL Tuesday and the Penticton Vees were a part of it.

First, NHL Central Scouting released its September “Players to Watch” list for the 2016 NHL draft and Dante Fabbro and Tyson Jost were identified as “A” prospects, which means they’re projected as first rounders. There was nine BCHL’ers identified as possible NHL picks but the seven others were rated as “C” prospects or mid to late round picks. The full story can be found HERE.

Pretty special for Fabbro and Jost to be ranked that high, as the BCHL hasn’t had a player ranked that high since, I believe, Beau Bennett was with the Vees in 2010. To put the ratings into perspective, the USHL has two “A” prospects  this year but both are on the US National Development Team. So That’s pretty special billing for Fabbro and Jost.

The mighty CJHL came out with its first regular season addition of the Top 20 CJHL rankings and the Vees, despite winning five in a row and tied for first overall, were dropped from first to 12th. Because, the CJHL. The Vees are behind the Powassan Voodoos of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League; they’re 11th. The CJHL also misspelled Wenatchee and Cobourg in their news story, so don’t get too busted up about the rankings. Complete list of rankings can be found HERE. 

The BCHL announced it’s Player of the Week Tuesday, for the week ending September 27th and the honours went to Powell River’s Mitch Hawes. Tyson Jost (3-1-4) and Anthony Brodeur (GP 2 2-0 / .966 sv %) were given honourable mentions. The story can be found HERE. 

And the Merritt Centennials, the Vees opponent on Friday, made a switch in the crease as well this week. Tuesday they announced they’ve signed Cole Kehler and released Anthony Pupplo. Kehler, 18, spent the last two seasons with the Kamloops Blazers in the WHL and before that played at the Okanagan Hockey Academy. Here’s their STORY.

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Vees Solidify their Crease

Driscoll playing High School hockey in Minnesota

Driscoll playing High School hockey in Minnesota











The Penticton Vees went out and strengthen their goaltending tandem Monday, with the acquisition of 18-year-old Zach Driscoll from the Omaha Lancers of the USHL. To make room for Driscoll, the Vees sent 18-year-old Emilien Boily to the OCN Blizzard of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League for future considerations.









Driscoll, who’s from Apple Valley, Minnesota, split last season with the Austin Bruins of the North American Hockey League and the Lancers. With the Bruins he sported a 2.19 goals-against average and owned a .920 save-percentage in 14 games. He was then acquired by the Lancers last December and picked up six wins in 18 games and had 2.86 goals-against average a .900 save-percentage; not bad for a 17-year-old in the USHL.

Driscoll is committed to St. Cloud State University for next season but he may be available to return for a second season, depending how things shake down. St. Cloud knows what they’re doing with goaltenders as they’ve had Anaheim Ducks draft pick Ryan Faragher and USHL standout Charlie Lindgren in their program recently. Driscoll comes with high praise by quite a few in the NCAA circles and was a standout in High School hockey in Minnesota.

Driscoll joins teammate Anthony Brodeur, who’s playing lights out right now and the pair make up a pretty formidable tandem. Driscoll will come in and compete for playing time and that type of competition will be great for both goaltenders; makes them better. Having two strong goaltenders has been the Vees mo in recent years, as the team has won the Wally Forslund Memorial Trophy for the past three seasons, which is given to the team with the best combined goals-against average.

Driscoll might play as soon as this weekend, as the Vees face the Merritt Centennials Friday and then bus up to Prince George on Saturday. With the travel and the quick turnaround between games, it’s likely Driscoll gets one of the two games.

Welcome to the South Okanagan Zach.

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Vees Sweep Showcase Weekend

Showcase Recap

(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.

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Game #6 Preview: Vees Closeout Showcase Against Hosts

Sep 25

LISTEN (Yes, we’re on the radio tonight!)


The Penticton Vees wrap-up their Showcase schedule against the Chilliwack Chiefs tonight at Prospera Centre. Yesterday afternoon the Vees made it four-straight wins, beating the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 4-1. The Chiefs didn’t play on Day 1 and will be playing back at home for just the second time this season.

Tyson Jost led the way yesterday for the Vees, as the Captain bagged a hat-trick in the Vees win. Read all about yesterday’s game HERE.

The Chiefs had a rough road trip last weekend through the BC Interior as they mustered just a single point out of a three-game trip. They lost in Merritt (4-3), Vernon (8-3) and then tied Salmon Arm (4-4). Never an easy road trip for teams to do, especially early when you’re still trying to iron out the wrinkles.

After tonight the Vees return to Penticton and are off until next Friday when they host the Merritt Centennials at the SOEC. The Chiefs play the Victoria Grizzlies in the nightcap on Day 3 of the Showcase tomorrow.





  1. Snowball: The Vees will want to carry over the momentum from yesterday to tonight and against a hungry team in Chilliwack. The Vees have a good thing going right now, as they’re playing some good hockey at both ends of the rink and their special teams are starting to take off. They’ve won four in a row and you don’t want to have that streak end with a clunker tonight against the home team. They’ll need another balanced approach and will need to bring some energy against a team playing in front of their fans for just the second time this season; the first time since September 12th. Like yesterday, managing momentum will be crucial.
  2. Don’t Get Pinched: Much like Alberni Valley, the Chilliwack Chiefs have an active defense that isn’t shy about joining the offense and pinching up into the play. The Vees will have to cognizant of the active blue-line Chilliwack employs. That means the Vees forwards have to pick up that guy or guys creeping down into the slot or through the neutral zone. The forwards will play a key role in back-tracking and not letting the Chiefs outnumber the Vees through the neutral zone and in their own end.
  3. Vicious Cycle: The Chiefs have a skilled, fast group of forwards that want to get the puck down low and attack from the goal-line. The Vees can’t let the Chiefs establish that cycle game and will have to make sure they’re not outnumbered below their own circles. Guys like Jordan Kawaguchi are smaller in stature but like water bugs on the ice; they’re always moving. Don’t get caught puck watching and running in circles. The Vees will have to lean on guys and force turnovers by being physical on the puck carrier.

The Vees will more than likely ice the same line-up as they had on Thursday afternoon. We know for sure that Anthony Brodeur will get the call between the pipes and why not? He’s undefeated as a starter, sporting a 3-0-0 record and owns an eye-popping .956 save-percentage. No changes up front and when we get to the rink, we’ll see if there’s any tinkering on the back-end. Hard to meddle with the blue-line, considering the team has only surrendered six goals in their last four games.






I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about this year’s addition of the Chiefs and like you, I’ll be learning about them as we go tonight. They do have some speed and skill upfront and that’s highlighted by Captain Jordan Kawaguchi but there’s a lot of new faces surrounding him. They have some AP’s from last year that are now full-time guys, like Ryan Roseboom, Jesse Lansdell and Kohen Olischefski. Also Mitch Skapski returns to the Chiefs after spending the last three seasons in the WHL. One newcomer who’s made some noise is Vimal Sukumaran, who leads the team in scoring with four goals and six points. Sukumaran played the last couple of seasons at Salisbury Prep School in the States and on the Connecticut Wolf Pack U-18 travel team; he was one of eight Wolf Pack players that committed to the Chiefs over the summer.

That blue-line is a bit more seasoned as they have Mark Esposito, Bennett Morrison and Dennis Cholowski all back from last-year. Sprinkle ex-WHL product Austin Adam and that’s four experienced players out of their regular six. Back in goal is Aidan Pelino and looking to improve on an up and down rookie campaign. Joining Pelino in the net is Matteo Esposito, the younger brother of Mark.



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Game Story: Jost, Vees Keep Rolling


Tyson Jost is at home at the Bauer BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack. The Vees’ Captain picked up his second hat-trick at the event in as many years, as the Vees downed the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 4-1 Thursday night.

Jost picked up his first BCHL hat-trick last year at the Showcase, yes that too was against the Bulldogs. The Vees have now rattled off four-straight wins and sit atop of the Interior Division standings, after Salmon Arm lost earlier this afternoon to Langley.

Gabe Bast was the only Vee outside of Jost to find the back of the net and Scott Conway finished with three assists; assisting on all three Jost goals. Anthony Brodeur remains undefeated in his young Vees career, as he turned aside 27 of 28 shots for his third straight win.

Special teams dominated the game and the Vees penalty-kill was excellent, going a perfect six-for-six, including killing-off a four-minute Bulldogs power-play in the second.

The Vees’ Captain broke a scoreless tie late in the first period, as he made the most of the Vees’ first power-play. Jost broke down the middle, held off two defenders and forced a backhand through Bulldogs’ goaltender Chris Tai at 17:38.

He was at it again in the second, as Jost doubled the Vees lead eight-minutes into the middle stanza. The puck came to the Vees’ centerman in front of the net and he spun away from his check and fluttered the puck over the goalie’s glove on the far-side at 7:58.

Nathan Dingmaan cut into the Vees’ lead less than two-minutes after Jost’s second. Dingmaan parked himself in front of the net and tipped the puck through his own legs and underneath Brodeur at 9:20.

The Vees were then put to the test, as two-minutes later Chris Gerrie picked up a four-minute high-sticking penalty. The PK was up the challenge as they held the Bulldogs man-advantage at bay and that paid dividends in the third.

The dagger came early in that third period, as the Vees’ defense got involved in the offense. Taylor Ward found an open Gabe Bast with a cross-zone pass and the defenseman, with lots of room, walked in and forced a shot past the goalie on the near-side; Bast picking up his first at 3:02.

Jost put the finishing touches on the game inside the final minute, as the Captain found a rebound in front of an empty Alberni Valley net, and popped in his hat-trick goal at 19:46.


Shots: 28-23 Alberni Valley

Power-Plays: Vees 1-2 Alberni Valley 0-6

Three Stars: 1) Tyson Jost 2) Gabe Bast 3) Scott Conway

With the win, the Vees as a franchise are 7-0-0 at the Showcase dating back to the 2012-2013 season. Brodeur is now 3-0-0 after tonight and sports a sparkling .956 save-percentage.  Tyson Jost now has two hat-tricks in three career games at the Showcase.

The Vees (4-1-0-0) face the Chilliwack Chiefs (1-2-1-0) in the night cap of Day 2 of the Showcase, tomorrow night at 7:30 pm. The Chiefs didn’t play Thursday and are coming off a 4-4 tie in Salmon Arm last Sunday. Fans can listen to tomorrow’s game on EZ Rock AM 800, or they can watch online at

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Game # 5 Preview: Vees Open Showcase vs. ‘Dogs

Sep 20



*PROGRAMMING NOTE: Dude to scheduling conflicts, today’s game WON’T be on EZ ROCK AM 800. Click the above “Listen” link for a FREE audio stream of today’s broadcast.


The home of the BCHL Bauer Showcase

FACE-OFF: 4pm, Prospera Centre

The Penticton Vees roll into Chilliwack this afternoon for the fourth installment of the BCHL Bauer Showcase at Prospera Centre. Penticton starts their two-game Showcase schedule at 4 pm today against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

The Vees as a franchise have a bit of a streak going when it comes to the Showcase. Since it’s inception in the 2012-13 season, the Vees are 6-0-0 at this event and if I’m not mistaken, the only BCHL team that hasn’t lost in the three-year history. Also, this will be the third straight year the Vees face the ‘Dogs at the Showcase, the Vees winning the previous two encounters 3-2 and 4-3.

Last year Tyson Jost picked up a hat-trick in that 4-3 win but the Bulldogs nearly came back from a 4-1 deficit after two periods.

Penticton is off to a good start, again, as they sit second in the Interior Division, one point behind the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. After dropping their season opener to Salmon Arm on September 11th, the Vees have rattled off three straight wins, which all came last week in the span of four days. They beat Vernon 3-2 on September 16th, then posted back-to-back wins over Surrey (6-2) and West Kelowna (4-1) on September 18th and 19th.

That strong week earned the team some league-wide attention as forward Scott Conway was named the BCHL Player of the Week. Conway had five goals and seven points in the three wins. READ HERE. Conway is third in the BCHL scoring race and line-mate Tyson Jost is also inside the top 10 with seven points as well.



  1. Manage Momentum: The Vees were on a roll last week, running the table on their three-game schedule and climbing up to second in the Division standings. Now they have to keep that momentum rolling into Chilliwack and against two non-division opponents. Also they’re playing in a neutral site, in front of NCAA & NHL scouts and bipartisan fans. That means they’ll have to create their own energy and won’t be able to feed off a home crowd or hostile one at that. It can be easy to fall into a lull and come out flat-footed considering the circumstances. The Vees need to avoid that and find a way to continue where they left off last week.
  2. Don’t Get Pinched: From what I remember with last year’s Bulldogs, they like to involve their defense into their offense. Meaning their defensemen are aggressive at the points, not hesitating to pinch down in the offensive zone and take cracks at the net. Guys like Garrett Halls, Troy Dobbs and Taylor Derynck will have to be closely watched. There always seems to be a fourth guy lurking up high in the zone. That means the forwards will have to make a concentrated effort in dropping back and covering the points. Don’t let the Bulldogs out number you in your own zone.
  3. Transition: As I pointed out, the Bulldogs ‘D’ likes to be active but that means there will be opportunities to counter-attack. If the Bulldogs d-men pinch, the Vees will have chances at odd-man rushes the other way, IF they’re transition game is on point. That means quick exits out of their own zone, bump and run plays to get the Bulldogs defensemen turning. Prospera Centre seems to have a fast track, so the Vees need to find a way to take advantage of the aggressive blue-line the Bulldogs have.

Alberni Valley

Last year’s squad went 27-25-2-4, grabbing the fourth and final playoff spot in the Island Division. The Bulldogs almost came all the way back against Nanaimo in the Island Division Semi-Final, as they lost in seven games after going down 3-0.

Seven players are back from that team and they’re off to a bit of a slow start, dropping two of their first three games. The Bulldogs dropped their season opener 6-3 in Cowichan Valley on September 12th, before rebounding with a 3-2 win in their home opener against Victoria on September 19th. But they were left with a bad taste in their mouth last weekend, as the Powell River Kings handed them a 7-0 loss at home last Sunday.

Three of their top six scorers are back from last season, including Scott Clark, who finished second in team scoring behind then Captain Mitch Makin. Chris Schutz is also back and will be leaned on to help lead the offense with Clark.

Not only is the Alberni Valley D-core, aggressive but they’re big too. Only one of their eight defensemen is under six feet. They’re average height is 6’2 and five of those eight defensemen are 6’2 or taller. They have size but do they have speed? The Vees will have to try and get these big boys chasing the puck.

Last year Billy 20-year-old Billy Christopoulos was the backbone in net for the ‘Dogs. This year they’ve handed the keys to another 20-year-old in Chris Tai. The North Delta, BC, product was with the Express last year and had mixed results. This year his early numbers don’t jump out at you but he had success in the AJHL before landing in BC last year. Can he translate that success in Alberni Valley this year?

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