Barley Mill Bistro Vees settled for a fifth-place result during Penticton’s midget recreation Winter Classic.
They, along with Penticton Minute Muffler and Save On Foods, were among 12 teams competing.
Vees coach Jamie Fulton watched as his team went 3-1, with strong goaltending by Branton Grinde.
“We played good,” said Fulton. “We were missing some players. Everybody stepped up and played pretty good.”
Fulton’s team missed out on the championship rounds because other teams had better point spreads.
The loss that hurt the Vees was a 5-4 defeat against Chilliwack, keeping them out of semifinal action. While they trailed 3-0 early, Grinde played strong enough to help his team be in a 4-4 situation late in the game.
“Chilliwack was a good team,” he said. “It was a good battle.”
In the first game, a 6-4 win against Salmon Arm, Grinde earned MVP honours. Against Port Moody, Grinde, was perfect in a 3-0 shutout.
The Vees’ fifth-place win came against Semiahmoo 5-4.
Fulton said their goal is always to win and they had hoped to reach the final of the Winter Classic. While that didn’t happen, he said his players bonded and played as a group. They impressed him with good passing and made him smile with their Tim Tebow (Denver Broncos quarterback) celebration.
“They were talking about using that,” he said. “That was a classic one. Celebrations change up every goal.”
Fulton liked that his team was engaged in close battles, which will help when they head to Vernon for an upcoming tournament before the playoffs begin.
“They showed they can battle out there,” said Fulton, of his Vees who are 7-5-0 in regular season action.
In other Penticton minor hockey action, the Kal Tire junior Canucks defeated the Westside Ogres 4-1. Penticton scorers were Braeden Dovauo, Tate Larson, Derek Allanson with two and Dylan LaRose the other goal.
The midget tier 2 Vees played in the Richmond International Midget AAA Tournament with 28 teams. After defeating North Delta, Arapahoe, Colo. and tying Nanaimo in the round robin, the Vees lost to the San Diego junior Gulls U18AA to miss the playoffs narrowly. In a consolation game, the Vees beat the Alaska Wolves U-18 AA team 5-1. Scoring leaders were Jackson DeMatos with nine assists, Liam Neary with five goals and three assists and Eric Buckley with four goals and four assists.
The Pacific Rim peewee Vees placed second in the Kamloops Tier 3 tournament. The Vees faced Merritt in the championship game and lost 3-2. The Vees led 2-1 with five minutes remaining, but couldn’t hold off Merritt, who scored the winning goal with 3:34 remaining. The Vees opened the tournament with an 8-2 win against Westside, then lost to West Vancouver 5-2. They rebounded with a 3-1 win against Vernon in a close battle. Against Kamloops, the Vees won 7-1, which pitted them against Vanderhoof in the semifinal, which the Vees won 4-2.