There were few surprises when it came to divvying up the house hardware following the Penticton Vees final game of the season Sunday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Captain Owen Sillinger headed the list of team award winners being named most inspirational, most popular, leading scorer and sharing most valuable player honours with netminder Adam Scheel.
The Vees wrapped up the regular season on the weekend which included a decisive 5-1 win over the Wenatchee Wild Saturday to clinch their record-setting seventh consecutive Interior Division pennant and third BC Hockey League title in four years.
The win was especially gratifying for the head coach after injuries earlier in the season devastated the roster but he felt his team’s play was a testament to their determination.
“I mean you don’t focus on certain things at the beginning of the year but who doesn’t want to win an Interior championship and who doesn’t want to win the President’s Cup, if you don’t you don’t have a competitive bone in your body,” said Harbinson. “But when we saw it was a reality you could see the guys really wanted it, I thought they played with a lot of heart, a lot of emotion.”
The Vees finished the season with a record of 40-12-3-3 for 86 points, three ahead of the Vernon Vipers (39-14-1-4).
Penticton opens the playoffs against the Coquitlam Express Friday at the SOEC and the two teams will play again there Saturday before the best-of-five seven shifts to Coquitlam.
Ironically, despite the team’s performance and individual stats they were shutout in the league awards.
Sillinger finished 6th overall in scoring with 67 points (33-34). Wenatchee’s Jasper Weatherby won the league scoring title with 74 points (34-34).
Scheel, who shared the goaltending duties with Summerland’s Nolan Hildebrand, was second among league goaltenders with a goals against average of 2.08 close behind Vernon’s Ty Taylor who had a 1.87 average.
Penticton also had the league’s best penalty killing record and was third in power play goals.
The Vee’s rookie of the year award went to Massimo Rizzo, best defenceman was Jonny Tychonick, the unsung hero award went to Dakota Boutin who had four points in Saturday’s game, Kenny Johnson was the fan favourite and humanitarian winner, the courage award went to Chris Klack, most sportsmanlike was Jordan Henderson, most improved was Lukas Sillinger, academic award winner was Jack Barnes and best conditioned was Jared Nash.
Penticton fans also came in for special mention by the club as the Vees became the first Canadian Junior Hockey League team to average 3,000 attendees per game.
With the final two games of the season the Vees per game figure climbed to 3,055 for the 28 home dates.
Last season Penticton fell just shy of the 3,000 mark, averaging 2,981.
The largest crowd of the season came January 20 against the Trail Smoke Eaters. It was the annual Pink in the Rink night for anti-bullying. A total of 4,342 fans were treated to a 3-2 overtime win thanks to Tychonick’s power-play goal.
There wasn’t a single game this season that had fewer than 2,585 fans inside the rink, and 13 of the 28 had crowds over 3,000.
“As a group we fell agonizingly short of 3,000 last year and committed in the summer to work as hard as possible to make sure it didn’t happen again,” said Vees Director of Corporate Partnerships David Michaud in a club statement. “Laura Carleton does a fantastic job working with our season members and connecting with local businesses for group sales.
“The SOEC is a fantastic facility to watch a game in and it’s a great night out for a family or a business. We can’t thank our fans enough for rallying behind the team this year and supporting us they way they do.”
Game time Friday is 7 p.m. and Saturday is at 6 p.m.