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Vees bring down Eagles
Losing the BCHL championship to the Surrey Eagles hasn't been forgotten by the Penticton Vees.
A 3-0 win against the Eagles in the South Surrey Arena Saturday put more emphasis on that.
"It was a really important win," said Vees captain Brad McClure. "You look at them, they have a playoff spot. There is a couple of guys on their team that took a ring from us last year. You always keep that in the back of your head. I think it was a huge win."
It was their third win in four nights to give them six points for the week. McClure said the Vees battled hard for the points. Helping the Vees net the win was their power play striking on three of four chances. Former Eagle Nic Pierog buried the first one, followed by Jack Ramsey just over five minutes later and McClure with five minutes remaining in the second period.
"Obviously (Hunter) Miska in the back end there, he had a heck of a game," said McClure of the net minder making 29 saves for the shutout, 14 came in the first period. "That helped us out. They had a couple of good chances. He kept us in it."
The Vees' man advantage has kept its spot atop the BCHL scoring 48 goals on 205 chances, for a 23 per cent efficiency rate. The Eagles are behind at 19.9 per cent. McClure said the units are clicking and they hope to keep it rolling.
Defensively, Patrick Sexton said they struggled early against the Eagles, but rebounded after the opening 10 minutes for the first period.
"We battled really hard as a D-core," said Sexton, as they gave up a combined 15 shots in the second and third period. I thought we played pretty well."
He said playing their third game in four nights, including the bus trip to Surrey was a factor in coming out slow.
Harbinson that even though they surrendered chances to the Eagles, he was pleased it wasn't several at a time.
"We gave up an opportunity, got the puck out of our zone immediately after," he said. "We had a double-minor in first period and found a way to kill. The penalty kill was a big part of the success throughout the week."
Against Salmon Arm, Sexton said they earned an emotional 3-2 win Friday. He said it was like a playoff game with physical play.
"I'm proud of the way guys battled and worked," he said. "There was no way we were going to be denied."
Vees forward Shane McColgan was given a double-minor for illegal equipment. The penalty was for using the wrong stick. The BCHL agreed to a three-year partnership with Bauer for equipment, which includes a specific stick. McColgan was using a Bauer stick, but it had a lower flex.
"I didn't think anything of it," said McColgan. "It was a special stick I was using just in regards to the surgery with my thumb. Just a league thing I didn't know about. It won't happen again."
Harbinson said they have talked to the league about it and the situation is being taken care of.
"There was stories out there that he was using a different brand," said Harbinson. "It was a Bauer, it wasn't the right one."
Vees notes:The Vees announced Monday that Miska has committed to the University of Minnesota Duluth, a Division 1 National Collegiate Athletic Association school. Miska joins Hilderman as a Bulldog.
Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson said Miska has all the intangibles to besuccessful at this level and in the NCAA.
“Hunter has been a huge part of our success; his confident attitude, tireless work ethic and overall athleticism has made him one of the elite goalies in the BCHL,” said Harbinson in a team statement. Miska, 18, is in his first season with the Vees and in 30 games has a 17-6-2-4 record, sporting a 2.29 goals-against average, while maintaining a .914 save percentage. Vees goalie Olivier Mantha missed Friday's game against Salmon Arm due to illness.