Dennis Zoeller came up clutch for the Penticton Quiznos midget AAA Vees.
Playing for the tournament championship against West Kelowna Sunday at Memorial Arena, Zoeller netted the winner eight seconds into the game, while Carson Erhardt scored the insurance marker with more than a minute left for the 2-0 victory. Alyck Coombes was solid in goal.
“I am very happy with the level of compete our team showed this year so far,” said Vees coach Ken Karpuk. “Going into the tourney we focused on performance not results.”
The Vees opened with a 7-3 win over Chilliwack. Franky Anderson led the way with a hat trick, Dane Bateman scored twice with singles from Zoeller and Erhardt. In their second game, the Vees hosted the Okanagan Hockey Academy and skated to a 3-1 win. Scoring was Erhardt, Zoeller and Morey Babakaiff. In the final round robin game the Vees played Coquitlam in an early game. A sluggish start on their part resulted in a 6-1 loss, leaving them in fourth place overall in the standings. They earned a spot in the semifinal with a rematch against Coquitlam. The Vees won 5-1 on goals by Michael MacLean, Babakaiff, Erhardt and Sammy Gabriel. Bobby Milligan picked up the win in goal.
Karpuk said the weekend was competitive and a chance to measure up against other comparable teams they don’t see in league play.
“Our program is in a process of change and we will continue to see improvements as players get more comfortable with the demands placed on them,” he said. “I really like the group and I am so proud of the progress they have made to date. There are still facets of our game we must continue to work on individually and as a group. All in all a rewarding weekend, it is always nice to win, but a win at home is even more so.”
Overall the Vees are 8-1-1. Their next home game is Oct. 31 against Kelowna.
In other Penticton Minor Hockey Association action, the Sherwood Trophies Vees picked up a 5-0 win and a 3-3 tie in Kamloops last weekend. In the win, scoring for the Vees were Kai Espenhain, Ben LeFranc, Linden Sproule, Ethan O’Rourke and Owen Labadie. The Barley Mill Brew Pub & Bistro player of the Game was Espenhain. In the tie game, Levi Carter, Brennan Nelson and Labadie hit the scoresheet. The Barley Mill Brew Pub & Bistro player of the game was Andrew Howells.