Mat Robson believes joking around with teammates will go a long way in the Penticton Vees’ playoff run.
An example of that was on display during their Game 2, 4-1 win at the South Okanagan Events Centre on March 18. Trading high-fives and signature handshakes is common-place among the teammates.
“We’re just cooking up,” said Robson of the joke with his mates. “Everyone has kind of got their own thing with each and every guy in the locker room. It’s routine. A little bit of fun we like to have, keep it loose. I think it’s helping our group. It’s helped us get real close over the course of the year. When things are going well, it’s easy to have fun out there for sure.”
Robson, 20, added they know it’s going to be a long playoff run and it won’t always go smooth as the first two games, both 4-1 wins, did. Monday in Merritt resulted in a 5-1 loss at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. The Vees didn’t get on the board until 14:42 of the third period while trailing 4-0. Robson finished with 24 saves on 28 shots.
Game 4 was in Merritt (check www.pentictonwesternnews.com for game story) with Game 5 bringing the series back to the South Okanagan Events Centre Thursday at 7 p.m.
Playing with the stars
After commiting to the University of Minnestoa Golden Gophers late in 2016, Twin Cities.com wrote a story on Robson and how he is the first Canadian to play for the Golden Gophers since 2006. Before that it was goalie Frank Pietrangelo from 1982-1986. At age 15, Robson played on a Toronto Marlboros team that featured Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, as well as NHL first-round picks Dylan Strome (Arizona Coyotes), Sam Bennett of the Calgary Flames and Josh Ho-Sang of the New York Islander.
“It was unbelievable,” said Robson to play with McDavid. “We had a great team growing up. I was fortunate enough to play for the Toronto Marlies for seven years. Every year of my minor hockey career. Guys came and go in that locker room. A lot of them are in the NHL right now.”
Robson said he made friendships that will last a lifetime. They catch up over the summer.
“Playing with guys of that calibre, especially at a young age, you know they are special,” he said. “It’s like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Hopefully one day people are saying, oh, you got to play with Mat Robson.”
Robson learned from McDavid and company because of the mistakes he made against them.
“People used to put knocks on me saying you don’t get enough shots in a game, but when you get to play against those guys, every single day in practice, you are going to get better,” he said.