The Penticton Game Time Sports atom development Vees showed great resiliency on Oct. 27 as they erased a 4-0 deficit to take the tournament championship 6-5.
“It was an exhilarating win,” said coach Todd Whyte.
Midway through the second period, coach Whyte told his players they just needed one goal, but watched as the Rebels put their fourth goal on the board. That’s when the Vees did the unexpected.
“Under normal circumstances, you would expect the team to fold, but our team is anything but normal,” he said. “We held the score at 4-0 for half of the second period, then we started to score and we didn’t stop scoring until we had put six past the goalie.”
The winning goal came off the stick of Liam Whyte.
“All of the games that we played in the tourney were very close,” he said.
The Vees opened the tournament with a 1-0 win against Summerland, then cruised past Chilliwack 7-3. They met Castlegar in their third game and lost 5-3. The Vees wanted a rematch with Castlegar as they knew the Rebels were beatable. The rematch was set after the Vees defeated Salmon Arm 6-4 in the semifinal round.
“Castlegar was the toughest team that we played, they have some hulking players that were able to control the play,” said Whyte. “Thankfully our team-first attitude prevailed.”
Heading into the tournament, Whyte said no expectations were in place. Whyte and his coaches just wanted the players to compete and have fun.
“I rarely talk about winning with the players, our focus is to develop as a team and as people,” said Whyte, adding that the championship game stood as the greatest victory he’s experienced as a coach. “The one thing that impressed me most was the perseverance of the players. We had some players breaking down on the bench during the time that we trailed, but we showed great heart and tenacity to stick with the game plan and eventually take over the game.”
Whyte said he always gives his players items to focus on. Last weekend it was for the players to follow their dreams, and starting the road to the Olympics right now.
“I must say that the kids bought in, they got back up after being kicked around for a while, coming back from 4-0 is no small feat. Doing it in a championship game is huge. Doing it against a team that you lost to earlier in the tournament is gigantic.”
The Penticton Tier 1 Vees played the Kelowna junior Chiefs in the semifinal and lost 4-2. The Chiefs lost in the final to the North Shore Winter Club by the same score.