Goaltender Yaniv Perets, 20, is on pace for a banner sophomore year with the Penticton Vees in the 2020-21 BCHL season that has been drastically altered due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Jack Murray photo)

How Penticton Vees goalie Yaniv Perets is dominating the BCHL

Dedication and an ability to drown out the noise in uncertain times has Perets on top of his game

Penticton Vees goaltender, Yaniv Perets is off to a stellar start in his sophomore season with the club.

The 20-year-old, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC native started the season with an 87 minute shutout streak and through three starts has only allowed four goals on 85 shots, winning all three games and making a handful of spectacular saves along the way.

Despite the hot start, Perets says he hasn’t paid much attention to his personal accomplishments, instead attributing his success to the culture within the Vees organization and his dedication to staying focused on what matters.

READ MORE: Penticton Vees to play in two-month Okanagan Cup tournament

“The culture they have here is incredible, they always push you hard and everyone is working hard to try to get better,” said the young puck stopper of his experience with the Vees.

Now in his second year with the club, Perets has embraced a leadership role in the locker room and is relishing the opportunity to show younger players the ropes. “You don’t need to have a letter to be a leader. A lot of the time you can lead by your hard work, day in and day out, and that’s something I try to do,” he said.

One of the most important things to Perets — and likely any goaltender — is making sure his teammates are confident whenever he’s in net. And that’s certainly been the case through the three games Perets has started so far this year.

The Vees kicked off the Okanagan Cup tournament with a 7 – 0 blowout victory over the the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Although Perets only faced 20 shots, he made a handful of highlight-reel saves on high-quality scoring chances, allowing his team to carry play through most of the game.

Yaniv Perets holds a 3-0 record and has made 81 saves on 85 shots faced through his first three starts of the Okanagan Cup tournament. (Jack Murray photo)

Perets was much busier in his second start of the season against the West Kelowna Warriors, as the Vees were out-shot 33 to 31.

Perets saw much of his action in the third period as the Vees clung to a one goal lead, but Perets was able to shut the door as he stopped all 16 shots faced in the third to secure his second win of the year.

Perets’ third win came the following night, in the second half of a double-header against the Warriors. The Vees’ goaltender once again shut the door in the third period, making 13 saves to keep the game knotted at two. Perets remained perfect through overtime, setting his team up for the 3-2 shootout victory where he stopped two of three shootout attempts.

READ MORE: Penticton Vees remain undefeated after shootout victory over West Kelowna

After last season’s BCHL playoffs were cancelled due to the pandemic, Perets remained hyper-focused on improving his game during the long layoff.

Yaniv Perets attributes his on ice success to his unwavering commitment to detail and ability to avoid distractions. (Jack Murray photo)

An avid student of the game, Perets returned home to Montreal where he worked rigorously on his game every day — despite the fact he couldn’t hit the ice for months because rinks were closed.

Whether he was studying footage of pro goalies or working out at home, Perets’ mind never strayed from the game.

Once he was eventually able to get back on the ice in Montreal, Perets and his goalie coach, Marco Marciano, had a detailed plan of what they were going to work on. Needless to say, the hard work paid off.

The biggest thing Perets focused on improving this off-season was limiting the amount of pucks that get through his body by dialing in his positioning and getting set for every single shot, he explained. “If someone’s going to beat you, force him to beat you with a perfect shot, don’t give him something through you or something cheap like that.” And that’s exactly what he’s done through three starts this season.

Perets credits his commitment to the fundamentals of goal-tending as a big reason for his early-season success. Nailing down the basics has allowed Perets to simply go out and play without over-thinking, something he says is crucial for goalies. “It might seem simple but I feel a big difference in my game already,” he said. “I just keep it simple and try to play.”

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the status of the BCHL due to the pandemic, Perets says he hasn’t let the strange times get to him, opting instead to simply “enjoy the moment” and the opportunity to play Junior hockey with one of the premiere organizations in the country. To Perets, there’s no reason to stress about things that are out of his control, like the coronavirus.

He says he just plans to keep working and improving until he reaches his goals.

“Putting the work in obviously works, so now it’s just about really hammering the nail in and making it an everyday habit just to keep improving… that’s what’s going to help you take your game to the next level.”

Getting his game to the “next level” is precisely why Perets chose to join the Vees organization over a year ago.

For years Perets had Penticton pegged as a potential destination to develop his game as he prepares to crack a NCAA roster. “I always wanted to play here,” he said. “Penticton is the best place to play Junior ‘A’ hockey in Canada.” Perets committed to Quinnipiac University in 2018 and will join the NCAA team in 2021.

Over a year into his tenure with the Vees, Perets remains confident that Penticton is the best place he could be at this point in his career. “People here want you to get better, you can see why they (Vees organization) send so many players on to the next level.

“You can just tell with the whole culture and the way guys are pushing you… there’s a reason it’s the best place to play in Canada.”

Moving forward, Perets said the obvious goal is to win a championship with the Vees this year. But beyond that, the net-minder is focused on sticking to the details of his day-to-day routine on and off the ice that will make him better and, consequently, his team better.

“My goal for the year is to just keep working hard every single day and whatever happens, happens,” he said.

“There’s no point in stressing out like ‘I need to win this many games’ or be the best goalie in the league.

“All that stuff doesn’t really matter because I feel like if you just put the work in every single day all those accomplishments are just going to come on their own.”

READ MORE: Inside the Penticton Vees’ last normal day: head coach on pandemic, next season, fate of BCHL



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

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