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We are the champions
Penticton’s Murray GM bantam Tier 2 Vees hockey team were able to check off the last goal of their season.
Winning a 2014 B.C. Hockey championship was on the list and the Vees achieved it by defeating the North Shore Winter Club 4-1 in Mission March 16-20. Carson Erhardt got the Vees going offensively scoring 6:12 into the first period. Erhardt blocked a shot in his own end and raced for the puck with the North Shore goalie approaching and managed to squeak the puck by, which slowly slid into the empty net. In the second period, Josh Maser and Lane French scored. Then Maser tallied his second of the game in the third period.
“It was a really great experience,” said Vees captain Raphael Bassot, who assisted on French’s goal. “I couldn’t fathom that we ended up first in B.C. Probably an experience I will never forget.”
Vees coach Rob McLaughlin said the win for his players was amazing. He said they were rewarded for all the work they did over the course of the season.
“I thought they really bought in to what we were doing,” said McLaughlin.
McLaughlin said his team outshot the NSWC about 54-19 and he was happy how his players followed the game plan. They stayed on top of the opposition and didn’t let them escape their zone.
“Our forecheck did a great job. We never took our foot off the gas,” said McLaughlin. “Alyck Coombes played outstanding. He made saves that were key saves.”
McLaughlin saw the momentum shifting as the NSWC struggled with their speed and physical play. McLaughlin praised his team for being a tight group and very coachable.
Bassot said the challenge in facing NSWC is that they are a big name and it’s almost a mental factor.
“We brought our physical game,” added Bassot. “I’m proud of our team. Being able to do this, winning four banners (Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association, Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament, OMAHA playoffs and provincials).”
The Vees opened the provincial tournament with a 3-3 tie against the NSWC. The Vees then shutout the Greater Trail Smoke Eaters 6-0, the Saanich Braves 6-0, Cranbrook Ice 3-0 and cruised past the Williams Lake Timberwolves 6-2 in the semifinal.
In 62 games this season, the Vees went 52-7-3.
Sherwood Trophy Vees finish third
The Sherwood Trophy peewee Tier 2 Vees placed third at the 2014 B.C. Hockey championship in Juan de Fuca March 16-19. The Vees avenged an earlier 5-3 loss to the Williams Lake Timberwolves by defeating them 6-2 to finish in the top three. Vees coach Greg Berkholtz said it’s amazing for his team to accomplish that.
“We never expected winning our league let alone finishing third in the province,” said Berkholtz.
The Vees coach liked that his group never quit, regardless of the score. They opened the tournament with a 7-4 win against Greater Trail. After losing to Williams Lake, the Vees shutout the hosts 5-0, then lost to the Burnaby Winter Club 6-2.
Berkholtz was happy to see how his players reacted to winning. There was only one thing that dampened their spirits a bit.
“A little downer to find out that B.C. Hockey gives nothing to the bronze medal game,” said Berkholtz. “All the boys lined up and waited and nothing happened. We just left the ice. I don’t understand why you would play the third game if you don’t play for nothing, then call it the bronze medal game.”