A goal from a near impossible angle by Tyson Jost turned out to be the winner for the Penticton Vees over the Merritt Centennials in a 5-3 decision Wednesday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Leading 3-0 midway through the second period, the Vees captain found enough of a gap to fire a shot above the shoulders of Cole Kehler to score. That goal, along with a blast by defence men Griffin Mendel were key.
Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson said his team worked hard, but were “sloppy in our own end.”
“I thought a couple of defenceman really struggled,” said Harbinson.
Leading 5-2 in the third, the Vees failed to clear the crease for goalie Zachary Driscoll leading to a goal by Michael Faulkner on a shot from the point.
“No. I never saw the shot,” said Driscoll, who turned aside 31 of 34 shots for his 10th win. “I picked it up at the end there. Our defenceman usually do a really good job of blocking out. That time I think we just got caught on a long shift. So we were a little tired.”
Harbinson said his group was strong in the offensive zone. In the first period, they scored three goals (Luke Voltin and Nicholas Jones with two) on 17 shots. He also liked their neutral zone play, but couldn’t pin point why they were poor in their zone.
The Centennials outscored the Vees 2-1 in the third period as they pressured the Vees. Driscoll said they were expecting that push adding the Centennials came out hard.
“I thought the boys battle hard to the end,” he said.
“They are a hungry team. They don’t want to fall out of the playoff hunt,” said Harbinson. “They played with a lot of energy. There was no quit on their side.”
Harbinson added that Mendel’s goal was big because the Centennials kept coming. He also said they got a big kill on Dante Fabbro’s late penalty for interference. The Vees were two-for-two on the penalty kill.
Jones said they got a tough battle from the Centennials and had to deal with the usual little things after whistlers such as cross checks and verbal jabs.
“Always in your face chirping,” said Jones. “Definitely a hard team to play against.”
Jones liked how the group played in the offensive zone saying they cycled the puck well low, which allowed them to hem the Centennials often. Had they not had a few breakdowns, he felt the could have caused more damage offensively.
The win was the fourth in a row for the Vees and fourth in as many games against the Centennials this season. Jones led the way with two goals and three points, Scott Conway and Demico Hannoun each chipped in with two assists.
Conway and Jost extended their point streaks in the win. Conway has at least a single point in 26 straight games; Jost 17 and counting. With his second period goal, Jost has surpassed his total from last year (23), which was also a team high in 2014-15. Wednesday’s win improved the Vees record to 13-1 against the Interior Division and their home record to 15-0-0.
A crowd of 2,219 attended the game.
On Friday and Saturday, the Vees host the Vernon Vipers (13-16-0-2) at 7 p.m. and Alberni Valley Bulldogs (10-15-1-1) at 6 p.m., respectively.
Vees notes: Jost and Fabbro will play Friday then fly out to Leduc, Alta. Saturday morning for the Team Canada West World Junior A Challenge camp. Should both players make the team, the tournament begins Dec.13 and continues until Dec.19.
Quinnipiac senior goaltender Mike Garteig (2012) hit a milestone this week, as he tied the program’s all-time wins record of 59 after the Bobcats swept Massachusetts. The milestone win came Saturday as Garteig and Quinnipiac shutout the Minutemen 1-0. Garteig made 28-saves for his fifth shutout. Garteig leads the country in wins (13), is second in shutouts (five) and fourth in save percentage (.946). Garteig was named the Hockey Commisioners’ Association as the NCAA Division I National Player of the Month for November.
Travis St. Denis (2012) had a pair of assists in the Bobcats 4-1 win Friday night against UMass.
Joey Benik (2011-2012) and Patrick Newell (2015) helped the St. Cloud State Huskies to a weekend sweep on the road over the Minnesota Gophers. Benik picked up a goal and Newell had a helper in the Huskies 3-2 win Friday night. Then the two combined for three assists in SCSU’s 7-4 win Sunday afternoon. Benik is tied for 14th in the country in goal-scoring with eight.
Speaking of Benik, Mick Hatten of the St. Cloud Times recently profiled the Huskies Sniper. The article can be found here.
Lewis Zerter-Gossage (2015) won’t soon forget Harvard’s win in South Bend, Indiana, Friday. The freshman forward scored his first career NCAA goal, as Harvard knocked-off Notre Dame 4-1. Mario Lucia (2012) scored the only goal for ND in the loss.
Bryce Gervais (2012) was all over the scoresheet for Minnesota State on the weekend as the Mavericks swept Alaska-Anchorage at home. Friday Gervais has a goal in the Mavs’ 2-0 win over the Seawolves, and then on Saturday he had a pair of goals as Minnesota State thumped UAA 6-2.
On Sunday, Troy Stecher (2011-2013) had an assist in North Dakota’s 4-1 road win at Michigan State as the Fighting Hawks swept the Spartans; Stecher is tied for 12th in scoring by defensemen in the NCAA with three goals and 13 points.
Curtis Loik (2011-2012) had an assist in Penn State’s 4-0 win over Mike Lee (2015), Travis Blanleil (2013-2014) and Vermont on Sunday, at the Philadelphia College Hockey Face-Off, at the Wells Fargo Center.
Joey Laleggia (2010-2011) had a big game for the Bakersfield Condors in the American Hockey League last week. He scored and finished with three points in a 6-5 win over Stockton last Tuesday. Laleggia has six points in 15 games and is a plus five with the Edmonton Oilers farm team.
Curtis McKenzie’s (2007-2009) stint in the AHL after a long-term injury is off to a good start, as he scored in the Texas Stars’ 3-2 win over the San Jose Barracuda on Sunday. McKenzie has six points in eight games with the Dallas Stars’ affiliate, after missing a month with a hip injury.