Miska snags Vees MVP

Hunter Miska names the Penticton Vees MVP and wins BCHL's best goalie award

HUNTER MISKA was named the most valuable player for the Penticton Vees during the club's annual awards ceremony. Miska was also the BCHL's best goalie finishing with a 1.88 goals against average. He also teamed up with Brendan Barry to claim the Wally Forslund Trophy (tandem with lowest combined GAA) at 1.92.

Eating pop rocks and pixie sticks has helped Penticton Vees goalie Hunter Miska have the MVP season he has. Miska ended the season with a 34-9-3 record with five shutouts and a league best 1.88 goals against average and .931 save percentage. The last two figures helped him earn the BCHL’s best goalie award. Miska said the candy gets him a little fired up. Prior to Saturday’s regular season finale against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, Miska downed sweet tarts. “That obviously helped a bit,” said Miska, following the 2-1 overtime win helped the Vees end the regular season with six straight wins. “Whenever I have any candies, it does the job.” Jack Ramsey, who received the Vees’ Humanitarian Award, said Miska’s habit is the weirdest thing. “I will be drinking a protein shake or an energy shake before the game and he’s over there eating Skittles,” smiled Ramsey. “Then he goes out there and stops 40 shots. Whatever works for him. I will buy him all the candy he wants for the playoff run.” While Miska hits the ice with a sugar rush, Ramsey said the Stacy, Minn., native gives them a chance to win every night. “He stole a lot of games for us,” said Ramsey. “Sometimes we hang him out to dry. He makes an incredible save, our jaws drop to the bench.” After splitting starts last season with Olivier Mantha, Ramsey said Miska has a maturity level that makes an impact in the locker room and on the ice. “His composure, he’s always calm,” added Ramsey. “His compete is huge. I always yell at him in practice because he’s always bringing down our confidence because we can’t score on him. We will put up 100 shots on him in practice and he will let in three goals. It’s a testament to what he does. It shows up on the ice.” “He’s been outstanding. We only gave up 115 goals this year,” said Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson. “It’s pretty amazing to be able to do that. Obviously Brendan (Barry) was a big part of that as well. Hunter just kind of was our backbone day in and day out. One of the hardest working players in practise.” Despite his penchant for a pre-game sugar buzz, Harbinson said that Miska is more calm in his crease. The Minnesota-Duluth Bulldog commit, who has been playing the position since he was 14, also improved by working with goalie coach Kyle Hamaguchi and Tyler Love. Miska takes advantage of that support staff to improve. Miska, 19, said being the Vees’ MVP means a lot but he couldn’t have done it without his teammates. Miska praised the defence and everyone playing their roles. Contributing to his play is having more confidence and patience. “I’m not scrambling like I used to be,” said Miska, adding that he focused his summer on slowing his game down, while simplifying his technique. Now he will be put to the ultimate test in the playoffs as he is being counted on to lead the Vees to a Fred Page Cup championship and more. Vees notes: Matt Serratore was recognized with the Robert Skinner Courage Awards; Miles Gendron, the most improved player; Steen Cooper, the best conditioned athlete; Cam Amantea, the academic achievement award; Riley Alferd, the unsung hero; Cody DePourcq, the fan favourite award; Patrick Newell, the most sportsmanlike award and leading scorer; Mitch Newsome, the Vees most popular player; Gabe Bast, best defenceman award; Tyson Jost, rookie of the year.

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