Junior Hockey update: Benik lights-up BCHL, Decowski and company shine in USHL

Updating a previously published story, St. Francis graduate and future St. Cloud State signee Joey Benik continues to shine for the Penticton Vees.

The former Saints winger sat with 96 points (66 assists) in 60 games as the Vees won the Interior Conference of the British Columbia Hockey Leauge with league-best record of 54-4-0-2 and begin the playoffs March 16. Benik was named the Interior Conference First Team All-Star roster and is in his second season with the Vees. He finished with a league-best 66 assists and was 19th in the league with 30 goals. He was two points shy of winning the Brett Hull Trophy as the league’s top scorer, which went to Prince George Spruce’s Paul De Jersey.

A majority of Benik’s helpers went to fellow-Minnesotan and University of Notre Dame-bound Mario Lucia who tied with teammate Bryce Gervais for the league lead in goals scored with 42.  Lucia was also named Interior League Rookie of the Year and the Vees had a 42 game winning streak come to a close March 10.

Penection faces Chilliwack in the first round (March 17-24) with the conference finals set for March 27-April 5 and the Fred Page Cup finals to follow in April. Each round is a best-of-seven game series.

Decowski finding groove for Bucs
Andover graduate and second-year Des Moines Buccaneers forward Cal Decowski has 27 points (16 assists) in 49 games for the USHL club. He has three assists in the last five games while the Bucs sit in sixth place in the Western Conference with a 20-25-4 record, one point behind Sioux City for fifth place.

He scored his 10th goal of the season and capitalized on a shootout chance as the Bucs topped Sioux City 4-3 Feb. 10. The win ended the Bucs seven-game winless streak.

Bengals turned Force teammates
Updating a previous story, former Blaine teammates now Fargo Force teammates Jonny Brodzinski and Taylor Richart are gearing up for the end of the USHL season.

Both took part in the Force’s first-ever Skills Challenge March 4 which was modeled after the NHL’s All-Star weekend event. Brodzinski won the accuracy event by nailing all four targets in a blazing fast 13.59 seconds. Richart finished fourth in the skills course competition with time of 51.92 seconds.

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