Peewee Vees show hunger for bronze

Penticton peewee Tier 2 Vees finish third best in province

Penticton Jr. Vees forward Tyran Robertson battles North Shore Winterhawks Sami Pharaon for position in front of  netminder Cole Demers in the semifinal of the peewee Tier 2 B.C. Championships Wednesday at Memorial Arena. Vees coach Rob McLaughlin (below) talks to his players during a break in the action. Penticton lost the game

Penticton Jr. Vees forward Tyran Robertson battles North Shore Winterhawks Sami Pharaon for position in front of netminder Cole Demers in the semifinal of the peewee Tier 2 B.C. Championships Wednesday at Memorial Arena. Vees coach Rob McLaughlin (below) talks to his players during a break in the action. Penticton lost the game

Emmett Wallace’s A Chicken Ain’t Nothing But a Bird wasn’t blasting from the Penticton Sherwood Trophy Vees locker room following their bronze medal win.

The Tier 2 Vees played that tune after each win during the provincial championships, which they hosted at Memorial Arena.

The Vees clinched third with an easy 8-2 win against Mission. However, the dressing room was relatively quiet except when a cheer quickly erupted. Vees captain Raphael Bassot said their victory tune wasn’t played because goalie Shane Farkas forgot his IPod.

After losing 3-1 to the North Shore Winter Club in the semifinals, the Vees were not in a good place mentally prior to their third-place win.

“I motivated the guys after the game because they were kind of looking down,” said Bassot. “Had a really good warm-up.  We came out strong. We played our normal game. We just controlled the puck.”

Leading the way offensively was Jordan Schulting with a four-goal effort, while Bassot scored twice and Simon Snyman and Morey Babakaiff scored the other two.

“In peewee it is pretty amazing,” said Bassot on placing third. “I’m sure this chance might not happen again to most of us. We’re just really trying to cherish the moment. We were all really excited on the bench.”

After Mission lost to the Juan de Fuca Grizzlies, the eventual provincial champions, in overtime, Vees coach Rob McLaughlin said they were down.

“I don’t think they were up for the game,” said McLaughlin. “Our boys still wanted to go out and play because they were disappointed in the performance that they had. They came out and they played hard. They deserved to win.”

Schulting wanted to give a performance to remember and did just that with four goals.

“It felt great,” said Schulting, adding that his first four-goal game was good because it’s his final in peewee. “Our team played very well. Everyone contributed.”

Schulting said it was great to win after they lost to Kamloops in the playoffs.

It’s a victory that Schulting will cherish too because he said they were underdogs.

Prior to playing that final game, McLaughlin told his players to leave everything on the ice and have fun.

“We need to finish strong as a team,” he said. “I think if we had that kind of energy against North Shore it might have been a different hockey game. We were OK (against NSWC), but we weren’t our normal selves.”

The Vees were recognized with the Fair Play Award. McLaughlin said that is special because of how they play.

“To play as physical as we do and not be in the penalty box, I think that’s very impressive,” said McLaughlin, who noted they had about six penalty minutes a game except for one.

As for how the tournament went, McLaughlin said it was run “unbelievable.”

“I think the committee did a fantastic job. The group worked hard and so did the parents,” he said. “I got lots of good compliments. Committee was amazing.”

The Grizzlies defeated NSWC 5-0 to win the provincial championship.