BCHL extends season, Penticton Vees add make-up games in March

Vees games added to season

The BC Hockey League has announced an extension to the 2021/22 regular season to allow for games that need to be rescheduled due to COVID-19, including some the Penticton Vees were unable to play.

The season is now slated to end Sunday, March 27.

Ten games have been added to the schedule that were previously postponed.

Games include two Penticton Vees home matches, against the Merritt Centennials and West Kelowna Warriors.

Those will take place on Sunday, March 27 and Friday, March 25 respectively.

Tickets for both games are available for purchase beginning at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, Jan. 25 at the Valley First Box Office at the SOEC or online at valleyfirsttix.com.

For Vees season ticket members, the games will be automatically added to their season ticket card with no further action required.

Individual tickets will be honoured for the new date.

If fans have lost or misplaced their original tickets for the postponed game, they are encouraged to go to the Valley First Box Office at the SOEC to have their tickets reprinted.

West Kelowna squander late lead in loss to visiting Bucks

Warriors collapse late

The Cranbrook Bucks scored four times over the last eight-and-a-half minutes Sunday, three in a two-minute span in a dramatic come-from-behind 5-3 upset of the West Kelowna Warriors.

Trailing 3-2 in the dying moments, Liam Hansson fanned on a shot from the top of the left circle. He got enough on to allow Tyson Dyck to tip home his second of the game to tie it with less than two-and-a-half minutes to go.

Carrying all the momentum, Johnny Johnson banged home the winner with 62 seconds left in regulation.

The Warriors were unable to mount any sustained pressure with Justin Katz on the ice for an extra attacker. And, with time running out, the Bucks created a turnover in their own end before Noah Quinn powered the puck into the empty net.

"I thought we played a good game, we played hard, battled through adversity,"said a dejected head coach Simon Ferguson.

"When your best players are on the ice, you got to expect them to get it done."

On Sunday, they didn't.

The Warriors rode a hot power play in building a 2-0 lead in the first.

Chase Dafoe opened the scoring with the man advantage five minutes in, banging home his own rebound during scramble in front of Nathan Airey.

Dafoe was instrumental in the 2-0 goal four minutes later. His shot from the slot deflected off a Cranbrook stick right to Cameron Hicklin who buried his first of the season from the bottom of the left circle.

Hicklin was the last player on the roster to register a goal this season.

The Bucks got one back on a power play of their own midway through the second, then had a great chance to get the equalizer seconds later when Riley Sharun was sent off for four minutes.

But, the Warriors penalty killers kept the Bucks at bay.

Tyler Cristall gave the Warriors a two-goal cushion midway through the third. Seconds after a Cranbrook penalty expired, Tyson Jugnauth's wrist shot caromed off the end glass right to Cristall, who beat Airey from a sharp angle.

The Bucks got that one back minutes later, then killed off a key minor to give them a chance at the late comeback.

The Warriors finished two for four with the man advantage, while the Bucks scored just once on their six opportunities.

Cranbrook outshot the Warriors 27-23, including 9-4 during the decisive final period.

The Warriors are now off until Saturday when they host the Trail Smoke Eaters for Pastor Don's annual Faith Night.

West Kelowna Warriors outlasted visiting Wenatchee 7-4 Saturday

Warriors survive late push

The West Kelowna Warriors built up a big lead, then held on to beat the visiting Wenatchee Wild 7-4 before 750 fans Saturday at Royal LePage Place.

The Warriors raced out to a 5-0 lead past the 13 minute mark of the second period, but a lack of focus and some untimely penalties gave the visitors an opening to make a game of it the rest of the way.

Felix Trudeau and Chase Defoe each scored twice for the Warriors in the hard hitting contest. Tyler Cristall, Damon Jugnauth and Nick Roukounakis with his first since opening night, also scored for the Warriors.

Parker Murphy, acquired at the trade deadline, scored three of Wenatchee's four goals.

Head coach Simon Ferguson had some harsh words for his team following Wednesday's 7-1 win in Merritt, saying they cheated too much and gave up too much after building a big lead.

He thought they were better Saturday, but eventually got away from their game.

"It's an immature group, younger in mind. When you go up 5-0 you start to feel that swagger, you think you can do things, you take longer shifts and start to take penalties,"said Ferguson.

He pointed to the Edmonton Oilers, a team with all the skill in the world but, if you play the wrong way, the puck ends up in your net.

"To me, you can play hockey, you can do skill training, but learning to win is a whole different skill. It's January, and we're still learning to win.

"It's a new group and we're learning how to win. It takes time."

Trailing 5-0, Wenatchee scored goals less than two minutes apart to cut the deficit to three before the end of the second.

A power play goal three minutes into the third brought them to within two and a ninth power play moments later gave the Wild a chance to pull to within a goal,but a stout penalty kill allowed the Warriors to right the ship.

Trudeau's second of the night and team leading 24th on a backdoor one-timer off a feed from newly acquired Christophe Farmer extended the lead back to three.

Despite Murphy's hat trick goal minutes later, the Warriors were able to weather the storm, and sealed it when Dafoe hit the empty net in the final minute.

Assistant coach Ayrton Nikkel was ejected near the end of the second period for vociferously arguing a blow to the head penalty handed out to Dafoe near the end of the second.

The extra minor put the Warriors down two men for an extended period, but they were able to skate away unscathed.

Saturday's game also marked the BCHL debut of 17-year-old forward Tomis Marinkovic who committed to the team earlier this year.

Marinkovic has been playing this season with Vancouver in the BC Elite Hockey League.

He didn't look out of place.

"I thought he came in for his first game...coming out of U-18 is always tough, but he played physical, played with composure, handled the puck well,"said Ferguson.

"He was a great asset for our lineup tonight."

The Warriors have a quick turnaround before hosting Cranbrook Sunday afternoon at 2:30.

It will be the Bucks third game in four days after dropping a pair of 3-2 decisions in Wenatchee Thursday and Friday.

Sunday's game is the second annual Hockey Day in West K., with youngsters 18 and under gaining entry free if they are wearing a hockey jersey.

Former Penticton Vees goalie on watch list for the Mike Richter Award

Former Vee to watch

A Vees alumni and University of Quinnipiac netminder Yaniv Perets was spotted on the watch list for the Mike Richter Award, which was announced on Thursday and is given annually to college hockey’s top goaltender.

Perets, 21, has gotten into 13 games during his second season at Quinnipiac and is having a season to remember, posting 11 wins along with a 0.74 goals against average and a .954 save percentage with eight shutouts for the Bobcats this season, which ranks second amongst all goaltenders in the nation.

Perets has allowed in just one goal in the third period this season, a combined stretch of 13 periods of play.

In 37 regular season games with the Vees during the 2019/20 season, the Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec native played to a 2.19 GAA and .918 SV% with five shutouts while also spending part of the 2020 season in Penticton, playing with the Vees during the four-team Okanagan Cup tournament.

Perets is one of four BCHL alumni who are in the running for the award, joining University of Connecticut goaltender Darion Hanson (Vernon Vipers), Norte Dame’s Matthew Galajda (Victoria Grizzlies) and Bentley University’s Evan DeBrouwer (Prince George Spruce Kings & Nanaimo Clippers).

Former Vee and current Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Jack LaFontaine won the award last season, becoming the first Vees alumni and BCHL alum to receive the Mike Richter Award.

The list will be cut down to 15 players with the next two weeks by a voting committee, with the winner being announce in April at the Frozen Four Tournament in Boston.

Penticton Vees sweep their game against the Merritt Centennials with an 11-0 victory

11 goal shutout win for Vees

There was no stopping the Penticton Vees's scoring on Friday night, using a four-point effort from Brett Moravec, including a hat-trick, and the ninth career BC Hockey League shutout from Kaeden Lane to earn an 11-0 victory over the Merritt Centennials at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

The Vees got the scoring going early and often in the with seven goals in the first period. Casey McDonald was first to strike for Penticton, snapping a shot past the blocker side of Centennials goaltender Jackson Baker at the 2:21 mark.

Moravec earned the first of his three goals of the night at the 4:16 mark of the first period, taking a pass from Ethan Mann and beating Baker through the legs fo a 2-0 lead.

Only 37 seconds later, Adam Eisele got his first goal as a Vee at the 4:53 mark, taking the puck to the edge of the left circle and zipping a shot over the glove side of Baker to make it a 3-0 game.

Merritt switched up their goaltender as Peyton Trzaska came on in relief.

During a power play for the Vees, the team jumped ahead with a goal that took a bit of time to review but ended up counting for the Vees. Moravec batted the puck out of the air and had that attempt stopped by Trzaska before McDonald got the puck over the goal line before having it come out of the net quickly and was ruled a goal at the 7:53 mark of the period for a 4-0 lead.

Luc Wilson extended the Vees lead again with a power play marker of his own at the 16:37 mark of the period, sliding the puck past the glove side of the right-handed catching Trzaska.

Under a minute later, Stefano Bottini increased the Penticton lead to 6-0 by driving hard to the net and redirecting a pass from Thomas Pichette past the glove side of Trzaska.

Concluding a seven-goal first period was Wilson, who grabbed his second goal of the period in the left face-off circle and shooting the puck over the left shoulder of the Centennials netminder.

Midway into the second period, Josh Nadeau got in on the scoring after a pass from Ryan Hopkins in the left face-off circle from the cross-ice feed landed into an open goal to push Penticton ahead by an 8-0 margin.

Another good moment for the Vees came in the way of Mason Poolman registering his first career BCHL goal at the 15:03 mark, with a shot from the left point carrying through the glove side of Trzaska for a nine goal lead.

Moravec completed his hat trick with a pair of goals in the game’s final period, scoring at the 3:02 mark of the frame to push the Vees ahead by a 10-0 score before earning his third goal of the game on a breakaway at the 15:49 mark of the period for an 11-0 final score.

Lane made his first appearance since December 11th and made 13 saves for his fourth shutout of the season. Baker turned aside four of the seven shots in 4:53 of action for his third loss of the season while Peyton Trzaska made 48 saves on 56 shots in relief.

The Vees make their way to Washington State for the first of a three-game set against the Wenatchee Wild beginning on Thursday night. Puck drop is slated for 6 p.m. at the Town Toyota Center.

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