Vees win finals rematch

In six years that the BCHL showcase tournament has taken place, only one team has never lost at the event.

That's the Penticton Vees, who in that time are now 12-0 at the league showcase after a pair of wins this weekend. 

The Vees beat the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Friday night and, on Saturday night, doubled up the hometown Chilliwack Chiefs 6-3 in a rematch of last spring's BCHL final.

Penticton had six different goal scorers and went 2-6 on the powerplay en route to Saturday's win.

The Vees improve to 4-0 to start their season, and are the only BCHL team that hasn't yet lost a game.

It's been a different story for the Chiefs; only four players have returned from last year's club that came within one goal of winning the BCHL championship, and the team has just one win in its first six games.

Despite the slow start, Chilliwack will have lots to look forward to this season, as they are the host team for the national junior A championship in the spring of 2018.

The Vees are now off until Friday night, when they make their home debut at the South Okanagan Events Centre against the West Kelowna Warriors.

Warriors sweep showcase

For the fourth year in a row, the West Kelowna Warriors have returned from the BCHL Showcase with the maximum four points.

The Warriors completed a sweep of the Chilliwack event Thursday afternoon with a nail-biting 2-1 victory over the Cowichan Valley Capitals.

The win came less than 24-hours after they drubbed Coquitlam 7-2.

Chase Dubois and Stephen Kleyson with the game winner scored for the Warriors.

Dubois got the Warriors on the board just 44 seconds into the opening period.

His long-range wrist shot that beat Capitals netminder Adam Marcoux on the glove side for his first goal of the season.

The Capitals got that one back a little more than eight minutes into the middle frame.

A little less than three minute later, Kleyson's point shot found its way through a maze of bodies. It was his second goal in as many games, and stood up as the winner.

Cole Demers and Marcoux took over from there, shutting the door the rest of the way.

Demers turned away 26 of 27 shots he face for his second straight win of the season.

The power play went 1-7, while holding the Capitals without a goal on six opportunities.

The Warrior are off until Tuesday when they make another trip west to face the Langley Rivermen. They play in Penticton Friday before hosting the Chilliwack Chiefs Saturday.

Warriors derail Express

Matt Kowalski continued his hot start to the BC Hockey League season.

Kowalski scored once and added a pair of helpers leading the West Kelowna Warriors to a 7-2 drubbing of the Coquitlam Express Wednesday.

Kowalski now has five goals in four games to start the season.

It was the Warriors first of two games at the Bauer Showcase in Chilliwack.

The Warriors erased an early 1-0 deficit with seven unanswered goals to win going away.

Kowalski tied it for the Warriors late in the opening period before the team exploded for three in the second.

Stephen Kleysen two minutes into the middle frame gave the Warriors their first lead of the night. Willie Rein, with his first career BCHL goal and Chase Stephenson gave West Kelowna a 4-1 lead after 40.

Rookie Max Bulawka with his first career goal, Matthew Campese and Jared Marino all scored by the midway mark of the third to give the Warriors an insurmountable lead.

The Warriors peppered Coquitlam netminder Reid Cooper with 52 shots, their largest shot total of the young season. Nik Amundrud stopped 30 of 32 shots he faced for his second win of the season.

The power play, which has struggled to score early in the season, connected on two of three opportunities. The Express were unable to score on their three chances.

The Warriors, winners of seven in a row at the showcase event, wrap up their Chilliwack trip against the Cowichan Valley Capitals at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Warriors streak on the line

The West Kelowna Warriors will put a three-year winning streak on the line when they kick off the Bauer BC Hockey League Showcase Wednesday night in Chilliwack.

The Warriors are unbeaten over the past three events, winning six in a row overall.

Over the first five seasons of the Chilliwack event, the Warriors sport an 8-2 record.

Only the Penticton Vees, 10-0, have recorded more wins.

Wednesday, they open the event against the Mainland Division Coquitlam Express.

The Warriors are 2-1 on the regular season heading in the showcase. They're coming off a convincing 3-1 win over the Merritt Centennials. The Express are in the basement of the Mainland Division with a single tie to show for their first three games.

The two teams met at the event last year, with the Warriors winning 5-3.

Faceoff Wednesday night is 7:30.

The Warriors close out the showcase Thursday afternoon at 4 against the Cowichan Valley Capitals.

The showcase, entering its sixth year, brings all 17 teams together over five days in one venue.

It's an opportunity for college and pro scouts to get a look at players at one time, in one place.

According to the league, the event continues to produce more scholarships to U.S. colleges for players each year.

Following Thursday's game, the Warriors will be off until next Tuesday when they travel to Langley.

They'll play in Penticton the following Friday before returning home to host the Chilliwack Chiefs Saturday, Sept. 30.

Vees ready for showcase

Colton Davies

The Penticton Vees jumped all over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in their lone game last week, scoring five times in the first period en route to a 6-2 victory, last Friday at the Shaw Centre.

The win improved the Vees to a perfect 2-0 to start the season.

After scoring 1:40 into their opening game, Sept. 8th against the Merritt Centennials, the Vees struck at 2:04 in game two against the Silverbacks.

"Both of our first two regular season games we've come out of the box real quick," Vees head coach and GM Fred Harbinson said. "This one, obviously getting out and scoring five goals in one period, was pretty outstanding for us."

The first two Vees goals came from Owen Sillinger, before Joe Leahy, Ryan Sandelin and Lucas Sillinger lit the lamp in the opening frame, respectively.

Jared Nash would score the club's sixth goal late in the third period. Goalie Adam Scheel made 30 saves in the win.

Next on the Vees' agenda is two games at the BCHL's annual league showcase, played at the Prospera Centre in Chilliwack, beginning for them against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Friday afternoon.

Each team in the league plays two games during the showcase event, giving hockey scouts from around North America a chance to view the league's talent. The games are staggered throughout the five-day event, and often don't see as much fan activity.

"What we've done in the past is kind of use it as an experience that we can lean on later in the year," Harbinson said. "You have to try to create your own energy, your own excitement."

The marquee game of the showcase event for fans will be the Vees matchup in game two, when they face the hometown Chilliwack Chiefs on Saturday night in a rematch of last spring's BCHL final. 

That series went the distance, as the Vees scored in overtime of game seven to win the Fred Page cup.

"When you go against those elite programs, you want to show who should be on top," Harbinson said of the coming matchup with the Chiefs.

"I know there's a lot of pride in their room, as there is in ours. And there's some returning guys on both sides that played for a trophy last year. So it should make for a great evening."

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