B.C. poses for a team photo after defeating Alberta for the WHL Cup following a 4-3 overtime win. TheWHL Twitter account

B.C. captures WHL Cup

Vernon’s Ben King is heroic for B.C. as he nets winner to capture the Western Hockey League Cup

Winning gold is the cherry on top of a great WHL Cup experience for Penticton Vees assistant coach Jason Becker.

Becker was part of the coaching staff, led by Summerland’s Steve O’Rourke, of Team B.C.’s under-16 entry. For the first time since 2012, and the second time overall, B.C. has won the WHL Cup (formerly Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup) after a 4-3 overtime victory over Alberta on Sunday. Only B.C. and Alberta have won this event which started in 2009 (no tournament held in Canada Winter Games years).

Related: OHA product among selections to Team B.C

“It was great,” said Becker of the championship game. “It was obviously our best game of the weekend. We had a slow start. It kind of all came together. Everything that we had asked of the kids to do and in regards to playing the game fast, playing it hard and just being accountable to each other and competing for 60 minutes. A real good hockey game on both sides.”

It was the second straight gold medal game, featuring Team B.C. and Team Alberta. This time it was Ben King (Vernon) scoring the game-winner.

Alberta scored the only goal in the first period on a tally by Kaiden Guhle. The Wild Rose province made it 2-0 as Connor McLennon scored at 12:51 of the second period. Team B.C. responded with a pair of goals to end the period as Justin Sourdif (Surrey) and Tyson Phare (Maple Ridge) got B.C. even at two goals a-piece after 40 minutes of play.

Team B.C. took its first lead on a Ryan Watson (Delta) goal early in the third period. McClennon evened the score with his second goal of the game with under two minutes to go in regulation.

King won it for B.C. only 2:37 into overtime. Vees recruit Cole Shepard earned the second assist on the goal.

Related: Vees score offensive whiz

“I thought Cole had a good tournament. It’s obviously different for kids to come from their club teams and play with different players, try to understand maybe a new system or a new structure that we would like to see them play as coaches,” he said. “For Cole, I thought he did a good job. Cole was pretty consistent and definitely saved his best for last and it was nice to see him be a part of that winning goal.”

Shepard finished with a goal and three points in five games. Wyatt Marlow of the Okanagan Hockey Academy picked up an assist for B.C. in the championship game, his lone point in five games.

Becker said it was great to be back in the program after coaching Team Pacific in 2013.

“You know you are getting the best of the best players. They are the ones that have been identified as the future of hockey, not only for the province, but for the country in terms of the national junior team and hopefully professional careers,” said Becker. “It’s always nice to have an opportunity to coach the high-end kids and get to learn how they play the game and how they look at the game.”

Manitoba defeated Saskatchewan in the bronze medal game earlier in the day.

Draped with the B.C. flag, Penticton Vees assistant coach Jason Becker, left, and recruit Cole Shepard, show off their gold medal after winning the Western Hockey League Cup in Calgary.
Photo from Penticton Vees Twitter account

Team B.C. rallied back from a rough start to the tournament after dropping their first two games of the WHL Cup. They lost 3-2 in a shootout to Manitoba and were beaten 6-2 by Alberta before a 6-0 win over Saskatchewan to finish the round-robin at 1-1-0-1. B.C. continued their hot play in their semifinal game with a 7-0 victory over Saskatchewan.


@e_sequeira17
sports@pentictonwesternnews.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Loaded shotgun found in vehicle during Okanagan Falls traffic stop

Okanagan Falls man facing a number of weapons related charges

Washroom blaze at Princess Maggie

Fire crews say the fire appears to have started in the washroom’s garbage bin

Penticton businesses in the running for Small Business BC Awards

Two Penticton businesses have made it to the finals of the 15th Annual Small Business BC Awards

B.C.’s biggest pot plant planned for Oliver

Co-founder Tony Holler said the 700,000 sq. ft. facility would produce 100,000 kg of pot per year

ExpOCP kicks off with a packed house

Penticton trying to make community engagement more engaging

ExpOCP kicks off with a packed house

Penticton trying to make community engagement more engaging

RCMP nail sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

Fernie, RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

TGIF: South Okanagan events

Live theatre, concerts, events, art exhibits and more from around the South Okanagan

High-end whisky seized in B.C. bar raids

Raids end in seizures at Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver whisky joints

Train derails in Northwest B.C.

CN reports no injuries or dangerous goods involved after coal train derailment.

Double-doubles and demonstrations: Employees rally outside Tim Hortons

Protests held in response to Ontario franchise owners cutting employee benefits and breaks

It’s all in the black for Roots & Blues

While they didn’t rake in the dough, the 2017 event made a modest profit

Most Read