The Penticton Vees just got bigger up front.
The Vees acquired the playing rights to forward Matt Gosiewski (98) from the Minnesota Magicians of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) for future considerations, the team announced Friday. Gosiewksi’s playing rights were first traded to Minnesota from the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in the United States Hockey League (USHL).
Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson said Gosiewski’s addition is key.
“We are very excited to add size (six-foot-four, 215 pounds) and experience to our line-up, which will create a deep forward group, which is always extremely important come playoff time,” said Harbinson.
In 44-games, Gosiewski collected seven goals and 13 points. Before playing in the USHL, Gosiewski played two seasons of prep hockey at Millbrook School, where he amassed 14 goals and 49 points in 66 games. Between the prep level and the USHL, the hulking centerman spent some time with the U.S. National Under-17 Team and the U.S. National Team Development Program. Gosiewski, considered a power forward, is committed to Harvard University.
To make room for Gosiewski, the Vees placed defenceman Gabe Bast (96) on the injured reserve with an upper-body injury. Bast will likely be ready to return to the line-up in two weeks. Gosiewski will wear number nine and could make his debut this weekend.
The Penticton Vees contained the BCHL’s No.1 power play Wednesday in a 3-0 win over the Surrey Eagles at the South Okanagan Events Centre in front of a crowd of 2,989.
The Vees power play, which has struggled of late, (one-for-15 in the last four games) produced the game winning goal by Ty Barnstable, who went to the net from the inside corner and roofed a shot over Eagles goalie Michael Botiz’s shoulder on his blocker side. That opening goal came at 10:47 of the second period.
“The first goal on the power play was huge for us, considering we haven’t been scoring on the power play,” said Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson. “Kind of broke it open for us from there.”
Just over five minutes later, the Vees, No. 5 in the Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings, made it 2-0 when Turner Ripplinger made a nice move after entering the Eagles zone to set up a goal. He showed patience with the puck while an Eagles defender dropped to the ice to block the pass. With the Eagle down, Ripplinger went around him and fed a cross crease pass that defenceman Joey Leahy buried for his second goal of the season.
“Once we started getting pucks behind their defenceman I thought we controlled the game,” said Harbinson, whose team outshot the Eagles 9-5 after one period and 29-19 total. “I thought they (Eagles) did an outstanding job of playing with a lot of speed in the neutral zone when they had it. When they didn’t have it, they really clogged up the neutral zone. It took us a while to kind of figure it out what we needed to do to have success to get pucks behind them.”
Botiz, who finished with 26 saves, was beat for a final time at 17:04 of the third by Grant Cruikshank, who buried his 10th goal of the season. Vees goalie Mat Robson earned his second shutout of the season.
“It’s nice.It’s not just me doing the work,” said Robson, named the third star. “Holding under 20 shots makes my job really easy.”
Robson praised the work by his defenceman who took away chances from the Eagles.
“With the traffic coming to the net they were really steering them off to the corners,” he said. “Not allowing a lot of traffic in front.”
The visit by the Eagles marked the return of Desi Burgart and Cory Babichuk, who were traded to the Eagles prior to the regular season starting.
Burgart said he felt the Eagles played well and battled hard.
“We took a few minutes off and I think that cost us the game,” said Burgart. “I thought we forechecked pretty hard. We struggled to get pucks to the net. Our PK (1-for-4) was good as well.”
The Eagles went 0-for-5 with their man advantage.
The victory improves the Vees to 14-2-0 and drops the Eagles to 4-10-2-0.