Minor hockey teams drop puck on playoffs
Playoffs have arrived for the Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association.
Fifteen teams represented Penticton during the weekend, including the Tier 3 peewee and bantam Vees and three female teams.
For South Central Super League playoffs a new format is in place for this year where the first team to four points wins the three-game series. Teams receive two points for a win, one for a tie and zero points for a loss. Should teams have three points each at the end of regulation of the third game, overtime would be required.
In midget house, Penticton 3 Save on Foods Vees lost their series to the Summerland Jets in three games. Coach Jonathan Bowman said he felt his players performed well. After tying the opening game, the Vees won the second game 6-2, lost the third game 4-2, then lost in a shootout after one over time period.
“Summerland’s a good team,” said Bowman. “It wasn’t for a lack of effort that’s for sure. They have a few really good players. Their goalie is just really good.”
Penticton 1 Barley Mill Vees defeated West Kelowna 2 3-2 to clinch their midget house series in three games. Mason Burns led the Vees with two goals, while Gunnar Fulton scored the other goal. The Vees won the first game 7-4 then lost the second 4-0. Vees coach Jamie Fulton said his team received strong goaltending from Dustyn Badach and Tyler Trupp.
Penticton 2 White Kennedy, ranked seventh, lost to second-ranked West Kelowna 3, 4-1. They didn’t go down without a fight. Trailing the series three points to one, in the final game the Vees jumped out to a 2-0 lead. West Kelowna scored at the end of the second to cut the lead to one. Vees coach Ed Lebler said his team created chances but couldn’t bury anything. Midway through the third period, West Kelowna evened the score at two. Needing a win to force overtime, Vees pulled their goalie for the extra attacker with a minute left.
“We had a few chances but Westside held on and the game ended 3-3 giving West Kelowna one point for the game and four to win the series,” said Lebler, whose team went 1-9-4 during the season. “We had a great weekend of hockey.”
Lebler had nothing but praise for his team.
“They never gave up and they never complained,” he said. “They always worked hard right to the end making every game close even if we did not win. It is not easy when you only win one game all year but this group of kids always found a way to make it seem OK.”
The Peaches Lingerie female Vees clinched their first-round playoffs series against Kamloops 2 on Sunday with a 4-0 win. They advance in the OMAHA female midget league. The Vees dominated play but came up against a hot Kamloops goaltender. Zoe Konanz had two goals, while Sydney Garnett and Cassie Kolisnyk notched one each. Hunter Prall earned the shutout. The team is awaiting the winner of the Clearwater-Kamloops 1 series this weekend.
In bantam action, the seventh-ranked Penticton BPO Elks, took on the ninth ranked Minute Muffler Vees and won 3-2 and 6-2.
BPO Elks Vees coach Mario Carelse said his team played well defensively. He also noted that his players kept their cool with a number of penalties being called.
“A lot of the boys came through and played some of their best hockey,” said Carelse. “It was particularly gratifying to get two wins in a row, since we had gone without a win since sometime last year.”
They will now face Penticton’s bantam 3 team in the next round.
The Bantam Ice Dragons faced West Kelowna 4 and were swept in two games, 7-1 and 6-2.
“These scores do not reflect the energy the girls put into these games and the intensity with which they played,” said team manager Alexis Semeniuk.
Penticton’s atom 3 Okanagan Hockey School Vees swept West Kelowna 4 in two games, winning 7-2 and 7-0. Coach Rene Spence said it was a good performance by his team who kept West Kelowna’s shot count low. During their 7-0 win, Spence said his players killed off a few key penalties late in the game to preserve the shutout for Marlow Spence. Devon Beyer was in net for the first win.
“I think we played a real team game, passed the puck well, we were unselfish in our play,” said Spence, adding that his team had a good regular season finishing second overall. “We played a structured game. Good performance by everybody.”
Offence for the Vees came from Kai Espenhain with five, Isaac Newson with three, Khy Cutler with two, Cohyn Cutler, Max McWhinney, Alan Woodhouse and David Robertson with one goal each.
The Peerless/McCoy peewee Vees were swept by the Penticton Firefighters peewee 3 in two games. The Peerless/McCoy were “bombed,” as coach Marcus Toneatto put it, 16-2 in the opening game.
“They were a little bit overwhelmed,” said Toneatto. “They played really well in the second game.”
In that final game, they lost 8-7, giving up the winner with under two minutes remaining. Toneatto stated his team is built of rookies, while the other Penticton teams have a more veteran group.
“We have come a long ways this season,” said Toneatto, adding that his players had an outstanding year. “We really just wanted to be competitive.”
Matt Janzen, coach of the Firefighters, said his team came together in the opening game as it was unusual for them to score so many goals.
“Everyone played a good series,” he said. “The second game was a real struggle. They came back pretty hard in the third and got seven. We had to fight for it. It was a pretty good battle at the end. We didn’t now if we were going to make it or not.”
The Firefighters received strong goaltending from Seth Janzen, which the coaches want to continue to see, as well as a strong work ethic.
In peewee action, the female Vees lost 5-1 and 6-2 against West Kelowna 4.
“Considering where we started at the beginning, it’s been a huge transformation for us,” said Vees coach Ian Fotheringham of his team that was second-last in its division. “Overall, quite successful in terms of overall player development. They were happy with their performance.”
What stood out to Fotheringham was his players’ commitment to playing a solid game.
“They never gave up and battled all the way through,” he said. “In the beginning of the year they didn’t have the endurance to go the whole game.”
Fotheringham praised the netminding of Kaylee Docherty and defensive play of Stephanie Lagrange and Andrea Main. Scoring for the Vees were Sage Togyi, Lindsay Fotheringham and Cedar Carter.
The Game Action peewee Vees defeated South Okanagan in two games, 9-3 and 5-4.
“It was a lot closer game than we thought it was going to be,” said Vees coach Shea Sanche. “The classic case of our kids underestimating their opponents.”
Trailing 4-1 with the South Okanagan Flames goalie playing strong, Sanche said his team found a way to win.
“Their goalie was outstanding,” he said. “We must have outshot them 35-14 I would guess.”
When it came to their performance, Sanche said they have played better.
“I think they just thought they would give it to them,” he said. “They came out and gave them some good games.”