PENTICTON, BC– Recapping a busy Halloween weekend, a win streak that moves into November, goalie garners league attention, more injuries on the blue-line, trade news, climbing the national rankings, international duty and a few firsts for alumni.
An Historic Win Streak
The Vees pushed their win streak to 18-games over the weekend, with wins against Merritt and Trail. The 18-game win streak is now the second longest in franchise history, only being the record setting 42-game streak set in the 2011-12 season. The Vees pushed the streak to 18 with back-to-back-to-back wins over Merritt Friday (3-0) and Saturday (8-4), and Trail Sunday (6-1).
The Vees haven’t lost since opening night, which was over seven weeks or 54 days ago. They ran the table in October, going a perfect 12-0, which as the second straight season they didn’t drop a game in October.
Driscoll the Best Last Week
Monday the BCHL announced Vees’ goaltender Zach Driscoll as the Player of the Week, for the week ending November 1st. Driscoll won both his starts over the weekend and stopped 75 of 76 shots. He picked up his first career BCHL shutout Friday, blanking Merritt 3-0 and was named first star. Sunday afternoon he stole the show, stopping 48 of 49 shots in a 6-1 win in Trail; he again was named first star. Driscoll had a 0.50 goals-against average and a sparkling .987 save-percentage in his two starts.
The Apple Valley, Minnesota, native now leads all BCHL goaltenders in goals-against average (1.67) and save-percentage (.946). Teammate Nicholas Jones was given an Honourable Mention after he had two goals and seven points in his first three games as a Vee.
The Vees blue-line was dealt another blow, as defenseman Seamus Donohue (96) was placed on the long-term injury reserve Tuesday, after being injured Sunday. With injuries already to Gabe Bast and Dante Fabbro and Griffin Mendel away at the World Under-17 Challenge, the Vees were in need of help on the blue-line. Tuesday they got the helped they needed, announcing they acquired defenseman Domenic Masellis (97) from the Langley Rivermen for future considerations.
Masellis, 18, is already in his third season in the BCHL, splitting time between Langley and Surrey and has over 100 career games under his belt. The Burnaby, BC, product is a big body on the blue-line, standing at 6’3 and weighing in at 225 pounds. Masellis will arrive in Penticton Wednesday and make his Vees debut Saturday against Nanaimo.
Atop of the Rankings
The CJHL came out with its weekly rankings Monday and the Vees have moved into top spot in the country, surpassing the Powassan Voodoos of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. This is the second time this year the Vees have held the top spot, as they were number one in the CJHL pre-season rankings. The Vees are the only BCHL team inside the CJHL Top 20, with the West Kelowna Warriors receiving an Honourable Mention this week.
Griffin Mendel is wearing the maple leaf this week, as he’s playing for one of three Canadian teams at the 2015 World Under-17 Challenge in Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, BC. Mendel is playing on Canada White, which is 1-1 heading into Day Three of the tournament. Canada White earned a 5-3 victory over Canada Black in their tournament opener but lost 7-5 Monday to the Americans. Canada White plays the Czechs today in their final preliminary game. You can follow the tournament online at www.hockeycanada.ca/WU17
After a busy weekend the Vees have just one game this week and what a game it is. The Vees host the Nanaimo Clippers on Saturday at the SOEC, a rematch of last year’s Fred Page Cup Final. Nanaimo (11-7-0-0) is second in the Island Division, one point back of the Cowichan Valley Capitals heading into the weekend.
The Vees beat the Clippers in six games in last year’s memorable BCHL Final. The Vees have four returnees from last year’s championship team and the Clippers have eight. The Clippers are on a three-game Interior Division road trip, also making stopping in Trail Friday and West Kelowna Sunday afternoon.
The Quinnipiac Bobcats have had a terrific start to the season and two Vees alumni have received more accolades. Travis St. Denis (2012) and Mike Garteig (2012), both seniors, were given monthly awards by the ECAC Wednesday. St. Denis was named the Player of the Month. St. Denis led the ECAC in goals (6) goals per game (1.00) and multi-goal games (2).
Garteig was named the Goalie of the month, after starting 6-0 with a .947 save percentage and a 1.33 goals-against average. Garteig leads all ECAC goaltenders in wins and is ranked fourth in goals-against average and fifth in save percentage.
It was a week of first for a few Vees alumni, as Cam Amantea (2013-2015), Cody DePourcq (2012-2015) and Patrick Newell (2015) scored their first NCAA goals. Patrick Sexton (2013-2015) and Lewis Zerter-Gossage (2015) picked up their first NCAA points.
Amantea scored Saturday in Alaska-Anchorage’s 4-2 win over Bowling Green. Amantea now has three points this season, as the Seawolves are off to a 5-2-1 start. Newell scored his first two NCAA goals Friday in St. Cloud State’s 3-0 win over Miami (Ohio); the Huskies went on to sweep the Redhawks. DePourcq scored in Bentley’s 6-2 win over Arm Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center. Sexton picked up an assist in Wisconsin’s 2-1 win over Arizona State Saturday, helping the Badgers sweep the Sun Devils, and Zerter-Gossage had a helper in Harvard’s 5-2 win Sunday against Dartmouth.
Sean Flanagan (2013) had a big night Friday, scoring twice and finishing with four points, as Minnesota State beat Alaska-Fairbanks 5-2; Bryce Gervais (2012) had a goal and two points in the weekend sweep of the Nanooks. Flanagan is now tied for first in team scoring.
Steven Fogarty (2012) and Mario Lucia (2012) combined for four points in a sweep over Connecticut. The Irish outscored the Huskies 10-3 on the weekend.
Penn State’s Curtis Loik( 2011-2012) is still inside the top 10 in NCAA scoring, with 10 points, which good enough for 8th. Clarkson’s James de Haas (2013) and North Dakota’s Troy Stecher (2011-2013) are tied for third in the country in scoring by defensemen; they each have seven points.
Across the border in Ontario, Connor Chartier (2015) is off to a solid start with the Western Ontario Mustangs in CIS men’s hockey. Chartier has three assists in seven games, helping the Mustangs to a 6-1-0 record; they’re first in their division.