Rookies dazzle at Showcase

Penticton Vees line of Tyson Jost, Lewis Zerter-Gossage and Liam Finlay rack up 16 points on weekend

LEWIS ZERTER-GOSSAGE of the Penticton Vees uses his size well against opponents and battled Alberni Valley Bulldog Kurt Gosselin for the puck in the offensive zone.

LEWIS ZERTER-GOSSAGE of the Penticton Vees uses his size well against opponents and battled Alberni Valley Bulldog Kurt Gosselin for the puck in the offensive zone.

Tyson Jost, Lewis Zerter-Gossage and Liam Finlay have become a dominant line for the Penticton Vees early.

The trio put up 16 points in an impressive performance during the Bauer BCHL Showcase last weekend.

Zerter-Gossage and Jost scored hat-tricks in back-to-back games, Zerter-Gossage in an 11-2 thumping of the Surrey Eagles and Jost in a 4-3 win over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

“It’s kind of crazy to think that all three are rookies,” said Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson. “The three of them don’t keep the puck on the stick very long. When it’s on it, they are moving it again, jumping into the holes.”

Against the Bulldogs, Jost scored his first goal on a backhand shot, then his second came while trailing the play and blasting the waiting puck from high in the middle of the slot through Billy Christopoulos’ five-hole.

“It was a gift from Liam,” said Jost, who on Tuesday was named the BCHL’s player of the week thanks to a seven-point weekend.

Jost’s third goal came as he skated down the left side and picked the top corner on the glove side. Jost, who scored 44 goals for the Okanagan Rockets in the B.C. Major Midget League playing alongside Finlay, finished that season with several hat-tricks. However, he humbly denied that it’s nothing new for him.

Tyson Jost getting three goals as a 16-year-old is pretty impressive,” said Harbinson following the game.

“He’s a special player,” added Vees co-captain Patrick Sexton. “At only 16 years old to be as good as he is, it’s remarkable. He’s got a great shot, he’s strong, he’s fast, he’s smart. He’s got all the tools he needs to be a strong NHL player.”

There have been moments sitting on the bench when Sexton has been shaking his head at what Jost does.

“It’s fun playing with a special kid like that,” he said.

Zerter-Gossage, more known for his playmaking abilities, was just happy to help his team win. The most goals Zerter-Gossage has scored in a season was 18 in 43 games for Laval-Montréal Rousseau Royal in 2011-12. He credited his linemates for making it “really easy for me.”

Over the summer, Zerter-Gossage worked on his shot and strength and it’s paying off early.

“Steve (Cawley, the Vees assistant coach) has kind of been trying to force me to take some shots and that’s something I’ve been doing ever since I got to Penticton,” said the six-foot-two, 195-pound forward.

“He’s really been pressuring me into taking more shots. Ever since the exhibition, that’s what I’ve been doing. Hopefully this isn’t my only one this year. Hopefully I can put up a few and we can get some wins out of it.

“I was definitely ready and I was glad that I made an impact,” continued Zerter-Gossage, on his performance against the Eagles.

“He’s been outstanding game in and game out,” said Harbinson of Zerter-Gossage, who finished the weekend with five points.

The Vees rookie trio will look to continue their offensive magic this weekend against the Trail Smoke Eaters on Friday and then the Merritt Centennials Saturday.