After losing their first two games in the RBC Cup -- Canada's national championship for Junior A teams -- Penticton, a team loaded with Minnesota players, edged Woodstock 2-1 on Tuesday in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.
Forward Ryan Reilly scored the Vees' first goal at 16:41 of the second period --- 1:20 after the Slammers had taken a 1-0 lead.
Joey Benik scored the game-winner on a power play early in the third period. Reilly's brother, Mike, a defenseman, got one of the assists.
The Reillys, both of Chanhassen, are going to play for the Gophers this coming season. Benik, a star at St. Francis in high school, has signed with St. Cloud State. He was named the Vees' player of the game.
The Vees outshot Woodstock 41-21, including 19-8 in the second period. But the last nine minutes were agonizing for Vees fans because they were shorthanded for six minutes. Penticton was called for three minor penalties the Vees killed off. But they have only a 9-7 advantage in shots the final period.
Here are the round robin standings going into the final three games:
Humboldt 3 0 ... plus-7 in goal differential, host has spot in semifinals
Portage 1 1 ... minus-2, Vees next opponent on Wed.
Soo 1 1 ... one win over Penticton 2-1 in first game, minus-3
Penticton 1 2 ... two one-goal losses, one in OT; minus-1
Woodstock 1 2 ... minus-1
(Goal differential is the first tie-breaker if two teams finish with the same record)
The top four teams after the opening round robin advance to Saturday's semifinals.
EX-GOPHER OUT AS USHL COACH
Kevin Hartzell, the coach and general manager of the Sioux Falls Stampede, has been told that his contract will not be renewed next season, according to the USHL web site. Hartzell has coached the Stampede for seven seasons, compiling a record of 224-155-41.
He played for the Gophers from 1978-82.
Sioux Falls named a new president and CEO last Thursday. The Stampede said they plan to find a coach to replace Hartzell by May 22 when the USHL entry draft is held. The team will hold its tryout camp in early June at Ridder Arena, home of the U of M women's hockey team.
The Stampede finished eighth out of eight teams in the Western Conference of the USHL this past season with a 17-36-7 record (W-L-OTL) and a league-low 41 points.