No losses yet for Vees

Colton Davies

The Penticton Vees are the B.C. Hockey League's only team without a loss, thanks to six wins and one tie to begin their regular season.

The club amassed three out of a possible four points in last weekend's pair of games against a tough Vernon Vipers team, despite playing with slightly depleted lineup.

The Vees were without defenseman Ryan O'Connell for both games, and lost Joe Leahy to injury midway through Saturday night's game in Vernon.

But Penticton battled in two close games, earning a 3-2 win on Friday and playing to a 2-2 tie on Saturday. 

"We were real happy with the way the group on back-end battled through the first game," Vees head coach and general manager Fred Harbinson said.  "Second night, being on the road when you have last change, and then you lose Joe Leahy... I think it played a little into, in the third period, looking a little tired on the back-end, but we found a way to get the point."

Goaltender Adam Scheel turned in an impressive weekend in the Vees' crease, stopping 69 of 73 shots in the two combined games.

His strong play earned him the notion as the BCHL's player of the week.

"We didn't give up a lot of grade-A chances five-on-five, but when we did he was there," Harbinson said.

Harbinson noted Scheel was a big part of the team's penalty kill as well, which went 15 for 16 in two games last weekend.

The Vees now turn their attention to upcoming games on Friday at the Merritt Centennials and on Saturday at home to the Victoria Grizzlies, respectively. 

The Centennials began the season with six straight losses, including a 4-2 loss to the Vees on the league's opening night, but they've bounced back with three wins in their past four games.

Merritt also plays in Prince George on Wednesday night, before heading home and getting set to host Penticton on Friday.

Saturday night will see a battle of two defending division champions at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

The Vees won the Interior division a season ago, and the Grizzlies finished on top of the Island division.

The Grizzlies have won seven of 10 games to begin the season, and only Penticton, Powell River and Vernon have a better winning-percentage at this point in the season.

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