It is a two-horse race in a mid-term straw poll vote of who the Penticton Vees’ most valuable player is.
Goaltender Adam Scheel and captain Owen Sillinger were the nominations given by their teammates and for good reason.
“It is kind of a toss up,” said defenceman Nicky Lievermann. “Owen has done it all on the ice, and off the ice he has been an unbelievable captain and leader. Then when we had a rough patch and even on our 12 game winning streak Adam Scheel was a stud in his net and no goalie in the league was better than him. And he is still playing well.”
Jackson Keane, who hit a milestone of 200 career junior games in December, was also split on Sillinger and Scheel.
“Adam Scheel has been solid for us throughout the whole year. Owen Sillinger is one of our most consistent players. It is a bit of a toss up because they are both equally as valuable,” said Keane. “I think both on and off the ice Owen is great. He has been here three years and knows the culture and knows how things need to be done. Adam is quiet, but on the ice he is one of our best players.”
Through 35 games Sillinger has netted 19 goals and 18 assists, leading the Vees in scoring. Even in the two losses to Wenatchee while on the road last weekend (6-3 and 3-1), Sillinger was trying to spark something. Perhaps a little too feisty, as he was handed a two-game suspension and will miss this weekend’s action. However, he was the only Vees player to get on the board during the two games, a hat trick in the first game and the solo Vees goal in the second game.
“I would go with our captain, Owen. Right now he is pretty much doing everything right,” said occasional linemate Jack Barnes.
The only two not to have picked the pair together were Scheel and Sillinger themselves. The goaltender, who was quick to deflect any attention on himself to the rest of the team, gives his nominations to Taylor Ward and Sillinger.
“Taylor is just good all over the ice. Owen is great, too, whether that is killing penalties, on the powerplay, even strength or getting that goal when we need it,” said Scheel. “Those two are the funniest on the team too. They always give us a good laugh and just are really good guys too.”
Sillinger was not asking for a recount or searching for a spoiled ballot upon hearing that Scheel’s name sits right with his. After all, Scheel does have the best save percentage in the league and is second only to Vernon Vipers goalie Ty Taylor in goals against average.
“These are my teammates and I go through a lot with them thick and thin situations every day. It means a lot to me to have them look up to me as their leader. As far as MVP goes, I would say Adam. The way he has been competing for us, the way he has been holding us in games — well, you can win a lot of games with a strong goalie and I think that shows a lot in his case,” said Sillinger.