Cherie Morgan / Cherie Morgan Photography

Vees in the season: October 2020

 

Spooky season has come and gone, and the Vees ran wild in the Okanagan Cup.

October started with a bang. The Vees traded defenceman Tanner Komzak to the Cowichan Capitals for future considerations and also shipped forward Drew Elser to the Trail Smoke Eaters for futures.

On the ice, the team from the Peach City continued its winning ways. The Vees began the month playing a home and home with the West Kelowna Warriors. They took both games by a combined score of 6-4, continuing their flying start in the Okanagan Cup.

The Vees brought their modest four-game winning streak into a series against the Vernon Vipers. With another home and home, Vees goalie Kaeden Lane turned aside all 18 shots to earn his first shutout of the tournament in a 4-0 win.

At Kal Tire Place, the Vees opened the scoring with two quick goals in the first six minutes. Ryan McGuire and Luc Wilson both added empty-net goals to give Penticton the 4-1 win.

Vees go streaking

West Kelowna didn’t have to wait long to try and avenge the loss earlier in the month. The two teams squared off with another back-to-back home and away fixture. The first game took place at Royal LePage Place, where the Vees put the pressure on in the second frame and scored five times to build a 5-1 lead en route to a 7-3 victory.

The return fixture saw a feisty affair with a combined 25 penalties, of which 12 were misconducts. Yaniv Perets turned away 29 shots to give himself his second shutout and the Vees third overall in the Okanagan Cup.

Winning eight straight games, the Vees had the pedal to the metal. Next up, the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The Vees were on cloud nine after beating the Silverbacks 3-2. With the game tied at two, the Vees left it late and Jackson Niedermayer scored his sixth of the tournament to give his squad their ninth straight victory.

However, the cloud nine feelings didn’t last long as the Silverbacks took the second game at Shaw Centre on October 24. With a 4-2 defeat, the Vees saw their nine-game win streak come to an end at the hands of a hungry Salmon Arm team.

The Vees hope that was a blip on the radar as they look to get back on track next month when they end their 12 game tournament schedule with a date with the Vipers.

Welcome to the NHL

While current Vees locked in and preparing to add another trophy in their cabinet, one of their own got a call that many dreams of.  Matteo Costantini was drafted 131st by the Buffalo Sabres at the NHL Draft. Also, one-time Vees affiliate Jack Finley got the call in the second round, 57th overall from the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

Now NHL teams have set their sights on the 2021 draft and four current Vees have cracked NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary Players to Watch List. Jack Bar, Jason Marsella, Owen Murray, and Fin Williams could all hear their names called, whenever the 2021 NHL Draft takes place.

As for former Vees star Troy Stecher, he’ll play in the Motor City this upcoming NHL season. Stecher left to join the Detroit Wings on a two-year contract. It’s his second NHL team after spending the last four seasons with his hometown Vancouver Canucks.

October was a busy and fun month for the BCHL’s southernmost Okanagan team with eight games played and a 7-1 record. Toss that in with milestone achievements for Costantini and Finley, and a move southeast for Stecher.

November will likely be just as jam-packed for the Vees as they barrel closer to the start of the 2020-21 BCHL season.