Brad McClure showed why he was named the Penticton Vees’ most valuable player for the regular season Satruday night.
After former Vee Evan Anderson shocked the crowd of 3,002 in the South Okanagan Events Centre, that included a sprinkling of SilverBacks supporters, with 36 seconds left as he beat Vees goalie Hunter Miska, McClure got the last laugh.
Over a minute into overtime, McClure fired a low shot past SilverBacks goalie Angus Redmond to clinch the Vees’ third straight Interior Division regular season title. The Vees exploded onto the ice going right after their captain who dropped to one knee towards centre then ending up at the sideboards.
“I blacked out,” said McClure of that moment. “There was so much adrenaline. It was good to celebrate with the guys.”
The SilverBacks struck first as Alex Gillies scored 1:16 into the game on the power-play as his shot found a hole between Miska and the post. With just under seven minutes remaining in the period, Cam Amantea completed a rush that started in his zone and beat Redmond from a bad angle at the side of the net.
The Vees took the lead in the game on a power-play when Erik Benoit made up for an earlier missed opportunity on that man advantage. A loose puck came to him and he blasted a shot past Redmond, who left a hole for Benoit to fire at. Vees defenceman Brett Beauvais also had a chance to score on that man advantage, but his backhand missed the puck.
Miska turned aside 25 shots to finish with 19 wins for the season.
McClure credited the SilverBacks for giving them a good push in the final regular season game.
“They are a good team,” he said. “They have talented players.”
Even though the SilverBacks tied it late, McClure said the Vees knew it was their game.
“We’re looking forward to moving forward,” he added.
McClure his MVP award: “It’s a privilege. I want to continue that through the playoffs.”
Other Vees award winners:
Unsung hero:Chris Rygus
Vees on Vees most popular player: Cody DePourcq
Most improved player: Jarod Hilderman
Robert Skinner courage award: Cam Amantea
Best conditioned athlete: Chris Rygus
Humanitarian: Cody DePourcq
Fan Favourite: Cody DePourcq
Most sportsmanlike: Ben Dalpe
Vees leading scorer: Brad McClure – 41 goals, 80 points in 58 games.
Rookie of the year: Jack Ramsey
Best defenceman: Brett Beauvais
Academic: Jarod Hilderman
Most inspirational player: Patrick Sexton
Vees notes: The Vees finished with a record of 36-16-2-4 and will face the Merritt Centennials in the first round of the playoffs beginning Tuesday at the South Okanagan Events Centre at 7 p.m. Game 2 is Wednesday. For more Vees coverage, check Wednesdays issue.