The disappointment of losing to the Kamloops Blazers during the playoffs is fuelling the Sherwood Sports peewee Tier 2 Vees’ hunger to become provincial champs.
The Vees had a successful season in which they won their league and captured two of the four tournaments they played in. What made the loss to the Blazers more disappointing is that they never lost to them all season.
“The game lacked emotion,” said Vees coach Rob McLaughlin, adding that both teams knew they were advancing to provincials.
It also didn’t help the Vees that they shot every puck at the goalies chest.
“We had chances, we just didn’t bury them,” he said.
McLaughlin is confident that his group will rebound and learned from the loss. The Vees have good goaltending and depth. McLaughlin also said he has offensive players who are game breakers. Among the top shooters on the team is Simon Snyman, who McLaughlin said has a hard shot. The Vees also focus on defensive play and are at their best when physical. McLaughlin is excited about provincials and hasn’t been there since guiding a team in 1998-99 that featured Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith. Vees centre Raphael Bassot said he and his teammates are excited.
“It’s great to have it at home. Have the home ice advantage and town support,” said Bassot, who is making his provincials debut. “We know some of the competition. We will try to figure out their weakness and take advantage.”
Kiver Heintz said that McLaughlin has been pushing the team hard in practice to be ready. During one practice he had his players work on their passing, skating and shooting.
Ethan McLaughlin also feels it will be hard competing against the best teams, but is excited for the challenge.
The championship, which begins Sunday and wraps up on March 22 at Memorial Arena features Juan de Fuca, North Shore Winter Club, Mission, Fort St. John, Kamloops, Cranbrook, Williams Lake and Trail-Rossland. The Vees first game is Sunday against Trail-Rossland at 6 p.m., Monday at 6 p.m. and Tuesday at 7 p.m. Playoff rounds begin Wednesday at 8 a.m.
Making up the Vees team are Shane Farkas, McLaughlin, Morey Babakaiff, Landan Robertson, Lane French, Jordan Schulting, Liam McLaren, Snyman, Jaxon Ford, Heintz, Carson Erhardt, Connor Freeman, Carter Keizer, Tyran Robertson, Travis Fehr, Bassot and Alyck Coombes.