Scott Conway delivers big for the Penticton Vees.
Of his 31 goals this season, 10 are game-winners and four have come in overtime.
“He calls himself Mr. OT for a reason,” said linemate Easton Brodzinski.
Earlier in the season, Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson said they knew that Conway, named to the Big 10 all-rookie team last year, would contribute offensively after he had a big performance.
“He’s gotten some big goals, a lot of game winning goals for us,” said Harbinson.
Brodzinski said he hasn’t seen a player as clutch as Conway has been.
Brodzinski, committed to the St. Cloud Huskies next fall, said he learns a lot of new skills from Conway.
“You have to pick up on things. You develop new habits,” he said. “You just get better as a player.”
When asked about his play of late, Conway said the last couple of games, a 2-0 loss at West Kelowna against the Warriors on Dec. 18 and a 3-2 win over the Warriors in the South Okanagan Events Centre the next day, were a struggle without captain Tyson Jost, who was away winning gold with Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge in Ontario.
“That guy is phenomenal,” Conway told the Vernon Morning Star. “That’s why he’s going first round. He makes it so easy.”
Conway had one goal in those games where he felt he struggled. Over the six games without Jost, Conway racked up seven goals and three assists. Regardless of who he plays with, the Basingstoke, England product said he has to keep playing the way he does.
“Overall, I thought I have been doing pretty well,” he said.
Conway plays hard every game in all three zones. He has a knack for stepping up. That was the case in a 5-3 win over the Trail Smoke Eaters in early October. Conway was pumped up after scoring the eventual winner in the SOEC.
“Obviously it was a big goal, right. We had to have someone to step up,” he said. “I guess that’s one reason why they brought me in. A little bit of experience there.”
Conway, who sits third in the Canadian Junior Hockey League with 31 goals and 69 points, said one of his goals at the start of the season was to hit 100 points. He is 31 away with 24 games left while averaging 2.03 points per game. Barring any setbacks, he should hit the century mark. He has found that producing in the BCHL comes with a price.
“You have to take a lot of stuff. You’re getting punched in the back of the head all the time, and cross checked,” said Conway. “You just kind of have to eat them. It gets frustrating sometimes. You just have to fight through it. Kind of ignore them. They try to get you off your game as best they can. That’s their game plan right.”
Halfway through his lone season in the BCHL, Conway said it’s a good league and he’s happy he came to Penticton, especially because of his great teammates and coaches. His play over the season has attracted the interest of a few National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 schools. Conway said over the next week or so he will be making a decision between Denver University, Maine and Providence.
“It’s going to be a close one no matter what I choose,” said Conway, who will be spending part of his Christmas break at home in Florida and the Bahamas. “Gonna be probably the hardest decision of my life so far.”