“Two of those three games were against tough teams in this league, it says a lot to put up those kinds of numbers,” said Vees head coach Fred Harbinson. “We have our d-men back and it takes a lot of pressure off the back end and allows us to get the puck through neutral zone cleanly.”
The Vees saw the return of defenceman Luke Reid and forward Massimo Rizzo, both rostered with Team Canada Black at the U17 Hockey Challenge, also three games ago.
The result? First a 7-1 win over the Surrey Eagles then almost every single Vees player on the roster earned a point on the weekend as they thumped the West Kelowna Warriors 11-3 and then a 10-1 trouncing of the Cowichan Valley Capitals the next night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Defenceman Jonny Tychonick registered eight points across the three games.
“It was an offensive explosion for our team. It felt like every shot went in. We hadn’t had that type of goal scoring in a little bit. We just want to maintain that and keep hitting the net in practice, keep hitting the net in games and that puck luck will come,” said Tychonick.
The Vees will hit the road to face off against the top team in the BCHL, Trail Smoke Eaters, on Wednesday. If there was a time to make a statement, it would be against the top team in your own division.
“Yeah, I think so. Points in five straight games after our little slide, this could be a game to do that. Still though, this is the best team in the league and in our division. We want to win these big games,” said Harbinson.
The last time the teams tangled, the Vees offence was stagnant, with just three shots on goal in the first period. That game ended in a 4-1 win for the Smoke Eaters.
“It’s going to be a great test for our guys. Last time we were there we didn’t play well and it is not an easy place to pay. The atmosphere there and the crowds they get are good, they have a great building,” said Harbinson. “It is never easy to win there.”
Reid, Tychonick and O’Connell get invite to Team Canada West camp
Luke Reid made the jump from the midget Saskatchewan Battleford Stars to the Penticton Vees this season with a few goals to set.
“I think I have grown as a player, not only skill wise but mentally. That is the main reason I wanted to come here, to the best spot to become a better hockey player and this is it. I’ve always heard how good of a junior A program Penticton has and it is a real honour to be able to play here. It is unreal,” said Reid.
The boxes are already starting to be checked off his list. Having just returned from playing with Team Canada Black at the World U17 Hockey Challenge, his phone rang again with an invite to the Team Canada West tryout camp for the World Junior A Challenge.
The World Junior A Challenge tryouts take place in Calgary Dec. 2 to 5 and the tournament runs from Dec. 10 to 16 featuring Team Canada West, Canada East, the U.S., Russia, Czech Republic and Switzerland.
Jonny Tychonick, who racked up eight points in the last three games, was a member of Team Canada West last year that finished in fifth place. Ryan O’Connel is the other Vees player that will be at the tryout. He was a seventh-round draft pick on the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
“After coming back from last year, I think it will just be about taking it all in. It is another cool experience to wear the Maple Leaf but you have to make the team first. If you make the team, it is an unbelievable tournament and a great experience and it doesn’t happen a lot so you have to cherish every moment,” said Tychonick.