Big weekend for Vees’ rookie Coatta

Minnesota native nets four goals in two games to become team's leading scorer

PENTICTON VEES FORWARD Travis Blanleil cruises into the Trail Smoke Eaters zone during their 5-1 win at Cominco Arena. On Saturday

PENTICTON VEES FORWARD Travis Blanleil cruises into the Trail Smoke Eaters zone during their 5-1 win at Cominco Arena. On Saturday

After going pointless in his first two BCHL games, Max Coatta hit the scoresheet in a big way.

Friday in Trail, the Minnetonka, Minn., product scored a hat trick and set up Cody DePourcq for a goal during a 5-1 Vees win in Cominco Arena. On Saturday, Coatta scored his fourth goal of the season and set up another.

Coatta, who played high school hockey with fellow Vees rookie Jack Ramsey, finished with six points and said he felt good on the ice. He credited some of it to previous chemistry with Ramsey.

“Played with Cody DePourcq and he’s a really easy player to play with,” said the 19-year-old, adding that he was on the receiving end of good passing. “Felt like we played well as a line. It paid off.”

When asked if he scored a lot of hat tricks in high school, Coatta said it’s not an easy thing to do, though he did get a few. Last season for the Minnetonka High School Skippers, Coatta scored 28 goals and finished with  59 points in 27 games. He holds program records with 89 goals, 101 assists and 190 points in 113 career games.

Coatta said the big weekend helped his confidence.

“Just kind of lets me know that I can play in this league,” said Coatta, who hopes to be a regular point producer for the Vees. “That I can be a factor in games. Definitely gives me more confidence to keep shooting the puck.”

Coatta said it’s been a good adjustment to the BCHL and he’s getting more comfortable as he plays. Wearing No. 9, Coatta said he’s adapting to the speed and physical play.

“Everyone is bigger and stronger,” said Coatta, listed at 5-foot-10, 170 pounds. “Every night is going to be a battle out there.”

The Vees’ new scoring leader said playing in Cominco Arena was different because of everything he heard about the arena in regard to its boards and square corners. He said the key was just being ready. He also felt how uncomfortable the boards are.

“The boards were pretty hard, too,” said Coatta. “Try not to get hit on the boards as much as you can.”

The Vees (4-0-0) join the Nanaimo Clippers (3-0-0) as the only two teams with perfect records in the BCHL, while the Langley Rivermen have two wins and one overtime loss.

Coatta said the Smoke Eaters were tough to play against, describing them as “chippy” but added he liked the way the Vees performed.

“Not taking anything away from them, we just played well,” he said. “Definitely a good weekend to get two wins on the road.”

Around the league Saturday, Powell River doubled up Victoria 4-2. Cowichan Valley dumped Alberni Valley 5-1, Chilliwack edged Prince George 2-1 in double-overtime, while West Kelowna defeated Merritt in Nicola Valley Arena 4-3. Salmon Arm defeated the Vernon Vipers 6-5 in overtime and Coquilam defeated the defending BCHL champs Surrey 5-2.


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