The Penticton Vees earned three out of a possible four points in their home-and-home set against the Vernon Vipers with only five defenceman, including Jonny Tychonick. Emanuel Sequeira/Western News

Vees defence rises to occasion

Penticton Vees defenceman step up after losing Joey Leahy to injury against Vernon

The Penticton Vees picked up three of four points against the Vernon Vipers, and did so short on defenceman.

After edging the Vipers 3-2 at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Oct.6, the Vees came out of Kal Tire Place with a point from a 2-2 double overtime finish on Oct. 7. Already without Ryan O’Connell for family reasons and Greg Brydon to injury, then Joey Leahy was hurt late in the second period. Vees defenceman Kenny Johnson said it was a great feeling to have the success they did.

“You can’t ask for more, besides the four out of four,” he said. “All of us stepped up. A lot of extra ice time on the back end. I think that actually helped a lot of players get more into the game.”

Johnson added it’s not good to see any teammate go down.

“I don’t think pressure came on,” he said. “Everyone stepped up. They just came out clutch and we just finished off the game. We did really well for going down from six to five down to four.”

Coaches told the players that they were proud of them. The players were a proud group.

Vees goalie Adam Scheel was named BCHL player of the week for the week ending Oct. 8 after he made 69 saves over the weekend. In Saturday’s game, Scheel made a highlight-reel stop on Connor Marritt in the second period, sliding to his left to rob Marritt who appeared to have a wide open net. He also helped the team go a perfect eight-for-eight on the penalty kill.

“Our bench was short tonight so it was a grind coming in here,” said Scheel. “We were banged up from last (Friday) night but the guys came together and played a good game. I saw most of the shots and the guys really helped me; we got a lot of big blocks.”

Defenceman Nicky Leivermann (second of season) and Grant Cruickshank (second) registered power play goals six minutes apart in the second period for the Vees, who improved to 6-0-0-1.

In other Vees news, Cassidy Bowes locked up a National Collegiate Athletic Association Div. 1 scholarship with the University of Michigan Wolverines. He becomes the 18th player on the team with a college commitment.

“We’re thrilled to see Cassidy earn an opportunity at the University of Michigan to continue his development,” said Vees head coach and general manager Fred Harbinson in a team statement. “Cassidy has worked hard over the past two seasons with our program to get where he is today.”