Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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MN.-filled Penticton shoots for record-tying 29th win in row

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers, Men's hockey, WCHA news Updated: January 31, 2012 - 12:43 AM

The Penticton Vees are obliterating all opposition in the British Columbia Hockey League. Led by familiar Minnesota names like Reilly, Lucia and Benik, the Vees have won 28 games in a row.

If they beat the Chilliwack Chiefs at home on Friday, they will tie a 23-year-old BCHL record for most wins in a row. It was set by the New West Royals in 1988-89.

Forwards Connor Reilly and Mario Lucia are  tied for second in scoring on the Vees. Reilly, who has signed with the Gophers as have his two brothers, has 32 goals and 40 assists for 72 points in 45 games.

Lucia, Don's son, has 30-42-72 in 41 games. Mario has signed with Notre Dame.

Fourth in scoring on the Vees is Joey Benik of St. Francis, a St. Cloud State signee. His scoring line is 21-49-70.

Also among the team's top 10 scorers are defenseman Mike Reilly (18-42-60) and forward Ryan Reilly (26-32-58). The Reillys all will be joining the Gophers for the 2012-13 season.

They should have a lot of confidence from all the points they are racking up and from playing on such a juggernaut.

Connor Reilly has 16 power-play goals, his brother Mike and Lucia 11 each.

The Vees are  40-3-0-2 (W-L-T-OTL) overall and running away with the Interior Conference title. Second place Merritt has 26 victories and 59 points.

Penticton is averaging 5.6 goals per game, its opponents 2.2. The Vees are the No. 1-rated team in the Canadian Junior Hockey League, which is made up of 10 Junior A hockey leagues throughout Canada.

In their two most recent games, Penticton clobbered Salmon Arm 9-2 and 8-1. Ryan Reilly had a hat trick in the first win last Friday, Benik a hat trick in the second win the next day.

Steve Fogarty, who was born in Chambersburg, Pa., but played his high school hockey at Edina, also is putting up numbers (23-36-59) with the Vees. He has signed with Notre Dame like Lucia.

Two other defensemen on the Vees from Minnesota are Chad Bannor of Hermantown (0-4-4) and D.J. Jones of Plymouth (1-3-4) who only recently joined the team. Jones has played nine games for Penticton after starting this season with the Surrey Eagles.

Fifteen of the Vees have signed or committed to Division I programs.

 

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