Back-to-back losses last two weekends ago resulted in the Penticton Vees changing up their lines.
One of the new trios is a familiar connection to fans. The Trench Line of Cody DePourcq, Travis Blanleil and Cam Amantea were reunited to cause chaos for the opposition.
“The trenchers, no matter where they were in our lineup, they were our best line,” said Vees assistant coach Michael Hengen. “We have had some offensively gifted players. How hard the three of those guys work in both ends of the ice gives them an opportunity to score as much or more than anybody else.”
During the weekend, which saw the Vees defeat the Merritt Centennials 4-1 Friday night and Cowichan Valley Capitals 5-0 on Saturday, the Trench Line combined for four goals and five assists.
Hengen said they are trusted in any situation.
“They are all over guys. They don’t give anybody a shift or even a second off,” he said. “They are forechecking and they are trying to score just as much as trying to back check.”
Amantea, who scored two goals and added an assist, said it was pretty nice to be reunited. First formed last December, Amantea felt the Trench Line played strong during the playoffs.
Being reunited against the Centennials, Amantea said the trio picked up where they left off.
“We all play alike so it’s pretty easy to know where each other are down low,” said Amantea, listed on the BCHL website at 5-foot-10, 171 pounds.
After being in mainly a shutdown role, Amantea, who has three goals and seven points, said to contribute offensively is nice.
“I’m sure the coaches expect a little more of that from us this year,” said Amantea, an Edge School grad. “It’s good for us, we’re not going to complain about that. At the same time, we’re still good defensively.
Going out against their top lines.”
Being an offensive threat is an element that Amantea believes he, Blanleil and DePourcq can add.
“I don’t see why not. We all can score. We’re all good down low, wearing down teams’ defence. All our goals are jamming it in the net,” said Amantea, who scored 21 goals in 46 games for Edge.
As for their play on the weekend, Amantea liked that they competed.
“Saturday night especially, we didn’t lose a whole lot of battles,” he said.
Hengen agreed, adding that the players came out strong from the start and carried it out the entire game.
“I thought they did an unbelievable job Saturday night,” he said.
Against the Centennials, however, Hengen felt the Vees only played about 45 minutes of good hockey.
During their last three games, the Vees, now 16th in the Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings, have been strong on their penalty kill, not allowing a power-play goal in 10 opportunities.
Hengen credited that success to the coaches making sure players were prepared and the players executing.
The video work has been paying off for the team.
“It’s not only our coaches but our players are wanting to do video,” said Hengen. “They are wanting to see their shifts. They want to see what the opposition is doing.”