Ho's shorthanded hat trick leads Vees in Game 1

Vees take Game 1

The Penticton Vees received a shorthanded hat-trick from Tyler Ho and cruised to a 7-1 victory over West Kelowna Thursday in Game 1 of their best-of-seven Interior Division Quarter Final.

The visitors took a one goal lead 3:13 into the first period, when John Evans got behind the Vees defence and beat goaltender Yaniv Perets on a partial breakaway.

Penticton tied the score at the 9:54 mark on a Liam Malmquist goal. 

Down two men on a 5-on-3 penalty kill, the Vees collected their first lead of the hockey game at the 17:54 mark of the opening period with a strong play from Colton Kalezic. The Vees forward chipped the puck past a Warriors defender and fed Tyler Ho on the right side, who tapped in his first goal of the playoffs shorthanded to give the Vees a 2-1 lead.

The Vees come out strong in the second period and took a 3-1 lead at the 2:38 mark on a scramble in front of the Warriors net. Danny Weight sent a pass from below the goal line to Evan McIntyre, who buried his first of the playoffs into an open goal for the two-goal lead.

The Vees increased their lead to three goals when Ho collected his second shorthanded goal of the contest on another odd man rush.

Just over a minute later, Jay O’Brien pushed the Vees lead to 5-1 after lifting a shot off the crossbar and into the back of the net at the 11:26 mark.

Danny Weight, and Tyler Ho, with yet another shorthanded goal, capped off Vees scoring.

Yaniv Perets turned aside 22 of the 23 shots he faced, while Johnny Derrick started the game for the Warriors, pushing aside 27 of the 33 shots thrown his way in his first playoff loss before Riley Morgan stopped 9 of the 10 shots he faced in the third period in relief.

There were 2,618 fans in attendance at South Okanagan Events Centre.

The Vees and Warriors will face-off in Game 2 of their best-of-seven Interior Division Quarter Final Friday. Puck drop is slated for 7 pm.

Trail players snag three of six major BCHL awards

Smokies dominate awards

The play of second year forward Kent Johnson was one of the main reasons why the Trail Smoke Eaters had the success they did in the BC Hockey League this season.

His dominance didn't go un-noticed as the league announced its regular season individual award winners Wednesday.

Johnson, the league's scoring leader with 101 points, was named the league's most sportsmanlike players and MVP.

He led the league in almost every offensive category in 2019-20, including points, goals (41), assists (60), power-play goals (14), power-play assists (25), power-play points (39) and points-per-game (1.94).

Johnson was also assessed just seven minor penalties during the season.

Because of his late birthday, he isn’t eligible for the NHL draft until 2021, but he is committed to the University of Michigan next season.

Johnson's teammate, goaltender Logan Terness, was named the league's top rookie.

Terness won 27 games in 44 appearances. He finished the regular season with a .932 save percentage,  2.36 goals against average and one shutout.

Other award winners include:

  • Top defenceman - Akito Hirose (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)
  • Top goaltender - Clay Stevenson (Coquitlam Express)
  • Coach of the Year - Jason Fortier (Coquitlam Express)
  • Top goaltending duo - Clay Stevenson & Jack Watson (Coquitlam Express)
  • Regular season champions - Coquitlam Express

Playoffs in the BCHL open up this week.

The West Kelowna Warriors and Penticton Vees get a head start on the rest of the league.

They open up their best-of-seven first round series Thursday night at the SOEC.

Ninth-straight Interior title has Vees preparing to face rival Warriors

Vees ready for post season

On paper, the series is a mismatch.

However, as the Penticton Vees found out one year ago in a six-game opening round loss to Cowichan Valley, the underdog can rise to the occasion at any time.

The Vees are preparing to face West Kelowna in the first round of the BCHL playoffs, with Game 1 slated for South Okanagan Events Centre Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 pm.

Penticton captured its ninth-straight Interior Division title with a record of 44-12-1-1 and 90 points, six back of Coquitlam, which claimed the overall regular season title. The Vees had a goals for/against of plus 90.

West Kelowna qualified for the playoffs with a record of 16-33-6-3, good for 41 points. The Warriors had the league's second-worst record, and were a minus 63 through the regular season.

Penticton took all six games from the Warriors through the regular season.

The Vees enter the playoffs red-hot, having won three straight, and 17 of 19 games since the Christmas break.

Penticton is also 16-1-1 at South Okanagan Events Centre since Nov. 27.

Game 2 of the series will be played in Penticton Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 pm.

The series then shifts to Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna for games Sunday afternoon and Tuesday evening.

Penticton Vees player named First Team BC Hockey League All-Star

Vees player named all-star

Penticton Vees forward Jay O’Brien has been named a First Team BC Hockey League All-Star.

O’Brien, 20, capped off his first season with the Vees in heroic fashion, scoring the overtime game winning goal in a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Wenatchee Wild to conclude the regular season.

The Hingham, Massachusetts native was the Philadelphia Flyers 19th overall selection in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

He finished the regular season tied for 4th in overall points in the BCHL, posting 25 goals and 41 assists for 66 points in his 46 games played this season.

O'Brien joins Trail Smoke Eaters forward Kent Johnson, Surrey Eagles forward Cristophe Tellier, Salmon Arm Silverbacks defenseman Akito Hirose, Cowichan Valley Capitals defenseman Dimitri Mikrogiannakis and Coquitlam Express goaltender Clay Stevenson as members of the BCHL’s First Team All Stars.

Playoff tickets are on sale now as the Vees take on the West Kelowna Warriors in the opening round of the Shaw BCHL Playoffs. Game #1 of the best-of-seven Interior Division Quarter Final takes place on Thursday, February 27th at the South Okanagan Events Centre with a 7:00 PM puck drop. Tickets are available for purchase at the Valley First Box Office as well as ValleyFirstTix.com. 

Vees-Warriors meet in all-Okanagan playoff series

BCHL playoffs set

Playoff positions and one division title were decided on the final day of the BC Hockey League regular season on Sunday.

In the Interior Division, the Salmon Arm Silverbacks leapfrogged over two teams to claim third, and guaranteed home ice advantage in the first playoff round by beating Merritt 3-2.

The Centennials were playing out the string, having been eliminated from the playoffs long ago.

The Silverbacks and Wenatchee finished tied for third, a point better than Vernon. However, Salmon Arm claim third by virtue of more head-to-head wins against the Wild.

That result means the Vernon Vipers slip to fifth, and will open the playoffs on the road in Wenatchee. The Silverbacks will begin at home against Victoria, the top last-place finisher.

Nanaimo claimed the Island Division crown, pounding Alberni Valley 6-1 Sunday. The Clippers finished a point better than Cowichan Valley.

Chilliwack moved ahead of Surrey and into second place in the Coastal Division, thumping Langley 7-0 Sunday.

With only the Centennials missing the playoffs, the fifth placed team in the island and coastal divisions (Victoria and Prince George) slide into the interior to make an eight-team playoff bracket.

The West Kelowna Warriors, who finished with fewer points than both those teams, are the eighth seed, behind the Grizzlies and Spruce Kings.

The Warriors will face Penticton in the first round, while second place Trail gets Prince George.

On the coast, regular season champion Coquitlam will face Langley, and Chilliwack host Surrey.

On the island, Nanaimo draws Alberni Valley in the opening round, while Cowichan Valley face off with Powell River.

The Warriors and Vees open their best-of-seven series at the South Okanagan Events Centre. The opening two games are set for Thursday and Friday, with games three and four at Royal LePage Place Sunday afternoon, March 1 and Tuesday, March 3.

The Vipers travel to Wenatchee for games one and two next Saturday and Sunday. Dates for games at Kal Tire Place have not been announced.

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