Cody DePourcq knew Bentley University in Waltham, Mass., was the place for him.
The Penticton Vees co-captain committed to the Atlantic Hockey Association Division 1 school on Monday following a campus visit on Dec. 8.
“It felt like the right school for me. A very unique university,” said DePourcq, who flew out to Waltham, located 10 miles west of Boston. “It’s a smaller university which I like. It’s kind of got a small feel to it even though it’s in Boston.”
Two other things sold DePourcq on becoming a Falcon: its business and hockey programs. According to the university website, the school has one of the nations leading business programs. The Falcons, which boasts six former BCHL products, currently are 8-8-2 on the year and 6-4-2 in conference.
“It’s a team that is growing. Every year that team is getting better in bringing in very good recruits,” said DePourcq, who started his hockey career with the Louisiana Junior IceGators while his father John DePourcq placed in the East Coast Hockey League. “I think that team has a very good chance of winning the Atlantic Hockey division. That’s what I want to be a part of.”
What coach Ryan Soderquist and his staff like about the 2012 RBC Cup champ is his compete level. DePourcq said they also like his hockey sense and how he plays away from the puck.
“I play well in both zones, that’s a big part of my game, something that is going to help me step into the next level and do well in the next level,” said DePourcq, who has seven goals and 13 points this season and recently reached 200 career regular season games with the Vees.
During his visit, DePourcq met some of the seniors and freshmen, including former West Kelowna Warrior Max French. DePourcq said the two joked about being rivals before when facing each other.
“It’s seems to not matter too much when they are an alumni,” said DePourcq. “We were definitely giving the gears to each other pretty good.”
He’s also happy for teammate Riley Alferd, who committed to the University of Omaha-Nebraska.
The Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks are ranked 12th in both the USA Today and USCHO.com national polls, but are second in the Pairwise Rankings. The Pairwise is used to seed the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. The Mavs are 10-4-2 this season and 6-3-1 in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
“He’s someone that has been playing so good for us lately,” said DePourcq of the Vees’ leading scorer with 17 goals and 34 points in 33 games. “He deserved it. He’s a great player. We can both celebrate it at the same time.”
“I am very proud of Cody and Riley,” said Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson in a team statement adding that both players will bring important intangibles to their schools. “Both will bring an energy and commitment to winning to their respective teams.”
DePourcq is glad to be able to put scholarship thoughts behind him and focus on helping the Vees, ranked third in the Canadian Junior Hockey League, go after a national championship. On the weekend, the Vees picked up two points in back-to-back ties against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, Friday, 2-2, then a 1-1 draw against the No.18 ranked Chilliwack Chiefs.
Vees goalie Hunter Miska and Chiefs rival Aiden Pelino earned first and second stars.
A crowd of 1,915 in the South Okanagan Events Centre watched as Miska finished with 37 saves, including a handful of key saves late in the third period to ensure the game went into extra time. In the extra frame, both teams had chances, especially Vees forward Lewis Zerter-Gossage, who nearly solved Pelino, who finished with 33 saves, on two chances. Harbinson said that both teams generated enough chances to win.
“The goalies made spectacular saves,” said Harbinson, adding that fans got their monies worth.
The Vees opened the scoring on Teddy Bear Toss day as Steen Cooper scored at 7:32 on the power play cueing fans to shower the SOEC surface with new or used teddy bears or toys.
Craig Puffer scored the equalizer for the Chiefs seven minutes later.
Vees notes: Gabe Bast and Tyson Jost scored Canada West’s goals in a 3-2 loss against Denmark Sunday night. Bast cut into Denmark’s 2-0 lead on the power play when he was set up by teammate Dante Fabbro. Nikolaj Ehlers, a Winnipeg Jets prospect that played in the Canucks Young Stars Classic, potted two goals, including the winner. On Tuesday night, Canada West defeated Russia 3-2 in the shootout. Jost was named the Star of the Day in the tournament as he scored 99 seconds after the puck dropped, got the game-winner in the shootout and added an assist in between, helping the Canadians to their first win of the tournament and setting up the much-anticipated all-Canadian match-up in Wednesday’s quarter-finals. Jost and Demico Hannoun set up Vees teammate Gabe Bast to give Canada a 2-0 lead.