The Penticton Vees are Doyle Cup champions.
In front of a crowd of 4,708, the Vees dumped the Brooks Bandits 6-2 to win the Doyle Cup in five games. Joey Benik netted a hattrick for the Vees, with his second of the game being the game-winner.
“That was huge, it was a great feeling,” said Benik. “The hattrick just made the night better.”
Benik, who led the championship with five goals, opened the scoring five minutes into the first period. The future St. Cloud State Husky forward burst into the Bandits zone and fired a low shot that beat Bandits goalie Jan Obernesser five-hole.
“(Steven) Fogarty had a great heads up play. He passed it to the middle there and I kind of had speed coming through the neutral zone and had the d-man beat,” explained Benik. “I saw the goalie was sliding over and put it low side there and it’s pretty tough for a goalie to stop that when they are moving across.”
Then Fogarty, who finished with two goals on the night, gave the Vees a 2-0 lead when he scored a power play goal on a rebound that came to him near the corner. Benik’s eventual winner came with four minutes remaining int the first period and gave the Vees a 3-0 lead. The Vees led 5-1 after the second on goals by Benik, who also collected two assists, andFogarty. Colton Semenok put the Bandits on the scoresheet in the second with a power play goal. In the final period, teams traded goals as Bryce Gervais tallied the Vees sixth goal then Chris Muscoby one-time a shot past Vees goalie Michael Garteig, who finished with 31 saves on the night.
Benik said the key to their win was sticking to the game plan. He also said they didn’t get into any of the “extra stuff with what they were trying to do with fighting and sticking guys. That was the key part, we had to stay disciplined.”
With the win, the Vees have advanced to the Royal Bank Cup in Humboldt, Sask. May 5 to 13.
“It’s a great feeling. It obviously hasn’t been done in a while,” said Benik, refering to Penticton last winning the Doyle Cup in 1986. “To have a team like this and start with the B.C. championship and now the Doyle. Now we’re going to the national championship. Now that it’s so close you can taste it.
“It’s pretty cool, especially with the injury,” said Garteig on how he felt to win. “It’s pretty tough to come back with not much practice. Pretty happy obviously. We have a pretty good team obviously, to win that in front of 4,000-plus fans in our own rink, our last game here. It’s pretty special for sure.”
For full coverage of the Vees Doyle Cup championship win, check Wednesday’s issue of the Penticton Western News.