Netminder Jack LaFontaine in action for the Penticton Vees. LaFontaine was named the B.C. Hockey League player of the week ending Jan. 20. He went three wins and no losses during the week.                                Mark Brett/Western News

Netminder Jack LaFontaine in action for the Penticton Vees. LaFontaine was named the B.C. Hockey League player of the week ending Jan. 20. He went three wins and no losses during the week. Mark Brett/Western News

Okanagan goalie stingy in the twines as Vees head out on weekend road trip

Penticton Vees have the hottest goalie in the league as they embark on weekend road trip

The Penticton Vees are sporting the B.C. Hockey League’s hottest goalie, heading into a three-game road trip starting Friday in Powell River.

Boasting a three-win, no-loss record and a .957 save percentage Jack LaFontaine was named the B.C. Hockey League player of the week, the second time this season he has received the honour.

From Jan. 14 to 20, he won all three shootout games against the Wenatchee Wild, Prince George Spruce Kings and Merritt Centennials.

The 2016 third-round pick of the National Hockey League Carolina Hurricanes is riding a streak of seven wins in his last eight starts, with a save percentage of .942 during that time.

To date, LaFontaine sits at 23-8-0-1 on the season with a .921 save percentage and 2.16 goals against average.

His 23 wins are tied for first in the BCHL while his save percentage and goals against both rank second.

He has also posted two shutouts. James Miller, currently the club’s leading scorer, was the other Vees player of the week, back in October.

On Saturday the Vees, riding the crest of a six-game winning streak, head to Vancouver Island for the second game in two nights when they invade the Weyerhaeuser Arena to do battle with the Alberni Bulldogs. Sunday they will be in Nanaimo for a matinee match against the Clippers.

Heading into the weekend, Powell River is currently one point back of the Victoria Grizzlies in the Island Division, the Bulldogs are in fourth and Nanaimo is third among Island teams.

At press time, the Vees were atop the Interior Division standings, four points ahead of the Merritt Centennials and in second spot overall with 63 points after 45 games (30-12-1-2) two points behind the league-leading Chilliwack Chiefs (-32-12-1-0).

Related: Vees meeting Centennials in division showdown

“Team’s doing well right now, obviously we’re on a little bit of a hot streak, knock on wood, we’re finally getting everyone back healthy I think the biggest thing for the first half was guys are dropping dead with injuries and sickness,” said LaFontaine. “I don’t think we really had the team on paper that we had at the beginning of the year.

The scary part is we didn’t have Sandy (Ryan Sandelin) at the beginning of the second half. We get Sandelin back and then Andre Ghantous, who’s still out. Those guys are really hard working, kind of like heart and soul guys.

“Everything is a process. There’s going to be ups, There’s going to be downs. The hard part of the season is trying to stay on the course.”

LaFontaine earned the player of the week honours starting out in Wenatchee Jan. 16 where he turned aside 37 shots over 65 minutes, stopped four of five shooters in the shootout to help the Vees to a 4-2 win over the Wenatchee Wild, the Vee’s first victory there in nearly three years.

Related: Penticton Vees win border battle shootout against Wild

Two nights later the 21-year-old made 35 saves in 65 minutes, including 17 in the second period alone and then stopped all three Prince George Spruce Kings shooters to help the team to a 3-2 victory.

Last Sunday’s game was his best performance of the week, stopping all but one of the 40 Merritt Centennials shots in regulation and overtime and going nine for 10 in the shootout to help the Vees to a 2-1 decision.

The Vees will next be at home Friday, Feb. 1 when the Wenatchee Wild will be at the South Okanagan Events Centre looking for revenge. Game time is 7 p.m.


 

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Penticton Vees goalie Jack LaFontaine was the BC Hockey League player of the week ending Jan. 20, the second time this season he has received the award.                                Mark Brett/Western News

Penticton Vees goalie Jack LaFontaine was the BC Hockey League player of the week ending Jan. 20, the second time this season he has received the award. Mark Brett/Western News

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