Penticton’s peewee Game Action Vees were on a mission for redemption against the Westside Warriors.
“They wanted redemption and payback for them beating us in the league final in a series we felt we should have won,” said Vees coach Shea Sanche.
Mission accomplished with 5-1 and 5-2 wins at Penticton’s Memorial Arena last weekend.
While the Warriors won the league championship, the Vees got what was more important to them — an Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association district rec league championship. The victory didn’t come easy against a group that had two losses all season, one against the Vees, who finished 4-2-1 against them regular season and playoffs combined.
Making the final game a challenge was the Warriors playing very physical, especially one player.
“She was being a little overly aggressive you could say the least. It was unreal,” said Sanche, adding that she wasn’t ejected. “She’s like twice the size of everybody else, hacking guys, cross-checking, body checking, tackling. They got a way with a lot put it that way. It was a pretty rough game.”
Sanche’s players were able to continue and battled through.
“Justice was served,” he said in reference to their win.
In clinching the district championship, Sanche said his team played awesome and it was a great finish to the season. Between the pipes was Joey Pitt, who was strong. Sanche also liked how his team moved the puck and was strong on special teams. In the four games they played, the Vees scored 22 goals and allowed six.
The Barley Mill midget Vees ended their season placing third in the district. To take third, the Vees defeated Clearwater 6-2, who they defeated 8-3 in an earlier matchup. In their other game, the Vees defeated Westside 6-2. Vernon defeated Westside 10-2 to clinch the title.
Vees manager Tracey Babiuk said in an email that their final game was exciting and close until the third period.
“We decided we wanted to win the game,” said Babiuk. “Our coach Jamie Fulton played the first line of the five boys retiring (Hunter Ehrecke, Brad Cochrane, Gunnar Fulton, Jake Black and Shaye Almrud) so they could play together one last time.”
The Vees were determined to win for their five teammates.
“We had incredible coaches this year consisting of Jamie Fulton, Butch Burns and Ken Almrud,” said Babiuk. “They pushed our boys to achieve the top placing in Penticton when throughout most of the year, we were not considered a strong team in the league.”
The coaches stressed to their players that it wasn’t about winning the game but the memories that get them there. The Vees placed second in league playoffs then won the City Cup.