Defence key to Vees

Penticton Vees captain Tyson Jost talks about the forwards commitment to helping defend

EVAN MACEACHERN OF the Trail Smoke Eaters’ strongarms Penticton Vee Mitchell Brooks back from the Smoke Eaters goal during BCHL action last weekend. Brooks will likely expect the same against Salmon Arm and Victoria this weekend.

Strong defence play has always been the Penticton Vees mantra.

Like last year, the Vees have allowed the fewest goals in the BCHL with 113. The next closest team to them is the Wenatchee Wild with 134, as of Thursday. The effort they have put in has contributed to them scoring a league high 236 goals, already 20 more than last year.

Tyson Jost, captain of Canada’s top junior A squad, likes the job they have been doing, especially the forwards giving support.

“Our tracking has been really good, just helping out our D,” said Jost. “When you’re getting the puck from the opposing team, you’re going to be in the offensive zone a lot more. That’s kind of one of the things we’re trying to harp on.”

That work has also helped their goalies be among the BCHLs top 10 in wins. Anthony Brodeur leads with 26 in 30 games, while Zachary Driscoll has 19 in 24. They are first and second in goals against average as Brodeur leads with a 1.96 figure and Driscoll not far behind at 2.02. The save percentages are strong at .934 for Brodeur and .929 for Driscoll.

Jost said they are making sure they play smart in both ends, work hard in the defensive zone then have “fun in the fun zone.”

“I’m pretty happy with how we’re implementing that little game plan that we wanted to push for here the last few games,” said Jost, as he and his teammates kept the West Kelowna Warriors and Trail Smoke Eaters to 20 shots a piece last weekend.

The importance of forwards backchecking to help the defencemen is huge, Jost said. The group embraces it.

“There is so many players in the NHL that, every single forward is good in both ends,” said Jost, who has 37 goals and 91 points in 43 games. “It’s something you just got to try and key on.”

The Vees will continue that focus as they visit Salmon Arm Friday to take on the Silverbacks, 29-16-4-4, at the Shaw Centre, then host the Victoria Grizzlies, 22-27-4-0, Saturday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson said their focus in practice this week was on all three zones.

“It’s just kind of like you’re studying before your final exams, you’re just kind of going over each aspect of your game,” said Harbinson. “Making sure guys remember and understand and ask questions about different things we are trying to do.”

Harbinson liked their performance defensively last weekend. He said they did a lot of good small details.

“Saturday was not an easy one,” he said. “We’re showing in a lot of our games lately that we have that extra push in the third period. It shows that we’re in good shape and that the guys never give up.”

Having the ability to win in different ways, Harbinson said, is invaluable come playoffs.

Facing Salmon Arm, a team that has beat them three times, the Vees are excited for that matchup. Jost said their final two games against the Silverbacks should be good.

“Salmon Arm is a really good team. It’s fun when you have the little battle,” he said. “They work really hard. They are really good in their  end too. They kind of wear you down.”

Vees notes: Mike Reilly, who helped lead the Vees to a 2012 national championship scored his first NHL goal for the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 13 against the Boston Bruins. In 10 games, Reilly has a goal and three points and is plus-one.

 

 

 

Just Posted

Penticton’s second Snakebite festival hits the screen Jan. 31

Snakebite Film Festival showing LBGT, Indigenous and other diverse films

Penticton Vees clinch fifth straight win

The Vees bested the Prince George Spruce Kings in a shootout on Jan. 18

Crosswalk coming to intersection near Penticton events centre

After years of plans a crosswalk is expected to be built on Alberni Street on Highway 97 this year

SOWINS dinner and concert fundraiser Jan. 25 at the Nest & Nectar

Yanti & Company will be performing a partially by-request concert

South Okanagan dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Video: 100 days until the David E. Kampe Tower opens

Penticton Regional Hospital started the 100-day countdown until the new tower opens to the public

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Osoyoos has opened applications for 2019 Community Service Grants

The deadline for applications is 12 p.m. on Feb. 22

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

Most Read