Vees going to provincials

A massive celebration broke out as the Penticton bantam Murray GM Vees won the Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association tier 2 playoffs.

“We just threw our gloves up and it was just awesome,” said Vees captain Raphael Bassot.

Before the on-ice celebrations exploded, the Vees had to deal with pressure by the Warriors.

The Vees hung on for a 2-1 win Sunday against the West Kelowna Warriors and clinched the series in three games.

“The last 1:30 there, when they called two quick timeouts, it was probably the longest 1:30 I ever had,” said Bassot. “They pulled the goalie so they had the extra guy in the zone.

“They did a really good job in keeping the puck in the zone. We just did our best and I think our goalie held us in there a lot today.”

Vees coch Rob McLaughlin credited the Warriors for pushing them.

“They improved greatly from the start (of the season) to the end,” said McLaughlin. “It was good to see us get pushed as hard as we did. We need that going into provincials.”

Vees goalie Alyck Coombes had a busy game, finishing with 33 saves. Offensively, Manny Bahniwal scored the Vees’ first goal and Josh Maser buried the winner with 2:22 remaining in the first period. The Vees head to Mission for the provincial championship March 16-21.

Sherwood Trophy Vees dump Warriors

“Caleb Rousseau was phenomenal. He stood on his head,” said Sherwood Trophy peewee Vees coach Greg Berkholtz.

Berkholtz watched as his players came out flat with the home crowd behind them at Memorial Arena against the West Kelowna Warriors Sunday night in a 5-1 win.

The Warriors led 1-0 in the opening half of the tier 2 championship on what Berkholtz said was a fluky goal on a deflection on the power play.

“If it wasn’t for him, we could have easily been down five goals in the first half of the game,” said Berkholtz of Rousseau.

Nerves from playing in front of a home crowd affected the Vees, said Berkholtz, in the third and deciding game for the OMAHA championship. Vees forward Brenden Patton evened things up when he finished a play by Carson Shortreed and Cameron Davie late in the second period.

Davie then made it 2-1 at 13:05 of the third and that opened the flood gates. Davie scored his second just over two minutes later, then Patton buried his second two minutes after that and Kieran Mielke netted the final goal with 4:15 remaining in the third.

The first goal gave the Vees life and Berkholtz said, “from there the game was over.”

During the break, Berkholtz told his players to perform like there was nothing left to play for.

“Our captain took it to heart what I told them,”said Berkholtz of Davie. “Their line got all five goals. He kind of picked the team up and said lets do it.”

What impressed Berkholtz about Davie’s line was how they controlled the puck. In the opening half, they dumped the puck in and gave it away. The line then changed their ways and used their speed.

“It was kind of nice to see both teams send West Kelowna home,” said Berkholtz. “We have a bit of a rivalry with them. It was nice to beat those guys.”

Berkholtz added it was a good victory because of the turmoil the team endured after two players left the team. Berkholtz said since Christmas, it’s been a team effort that has got them this far.

The Vees will travel to Victoria for provincials starting March. 15.

Blades win South/Central Okanagan Super League

The Penticton Blades bantam rec hockey team won the South and Central Okanagan Super League championship. Brayden Jones scored with 1.4 seconds left in the final game to push the Blades 4-3 over Kelowna. The Blades, who finished the season with a 28-4-4 record, will now play for the OMAHA Championship in Clearwater this weekend. The Blades are 8-0 in the playoffs.




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