A slow start put the Penticton peewee Tier 2 Vees in a hole in the championship game of their host tournament.
The Vees gave up a goal on the first shift and assistant coach Kyle Hamaguchi said the players never really seemed to bounce back in a 7-1 loss to the Vernon Vipers Sunday.
“We tried to find a way to fire the boys up. We thought we had a little bit better effort in the second half of the game but just took a few too many penalties and they capitalized on the penalties,” said Hamaguchi.
The Vees trailed 4-1 early in the third period and played with more energy that also resulted into penalty trouble. The Vees put the Vipers on a two- and one-man advantage which resulted in two goals. Hammaguchi said the Vipers are a deep team with strong goaltending. The lone scorer for the Vees was Brennan Nelson, who was set up by Ben LeFranc.
“I thought we did pretty well. We could have done a little bit better,” said Vees forward Kai Espenhain, adding that they didn’t generate enough chances. “They are a really good team. It was a little step up. You have to get a bit better.”
Espenhain, named Jack Kelly Player of the Game, said they didn’t have it in them that day.
The Vees opened the tournament with a 5-2 win over Chilliwack. They also defeated Ridge Meadows 5-0 and Langley 7-4 to go perfect in round robin. The Vees earned a 5-2 win over the Nelson Leafs to advance to the championship. LeFranc earned player of the game honours with a two-goal performance. Also bulging the twine for the Vees were Chris Schulting, Nelson and Finn Halladay.