No Cam Amantea. No problem.
The second-year forward’s spot on the Penticton Vees’ Trench Line was filled by rookie Matthew Serratore, who kept it chugging along. The Trench Line contribued eight points in helping the Vees dump the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 6-2 at the South Okanagan Events Centre in front of 2,007 fans on Saturday.
The results were positive, according to Vees coach Fred Harbinson and veteran forward Travis Blanleil, who makes up a third of that line.
“He did extremely well,” said Harbinson, adding that corrections to Saturday’s game sheet will show Serratore with a goal and two assists, while Cody DePourcq had three points and Blanleil with two.
As Harbinson said, “Not a bad night for them.”
Serratore, who played with the Bemidji Lumberjacks (Minnesota) last season tallying 21 goals and 31 points in 25 games, liked playing with DePourcq and Blanleil. He said the two veterans are easy to play with. The way they work made it an easy transition.
“It was fun. They play a high-pace, high-energy game,” said Serratore. “That’s the kind of game I want to play, too.”
“I thought he did a great job,” said Blanleil. “He plays a similar style to Cammy’s. He’s fast, he’s good in the corners. Meshed well with us.”
Serratore said he has been adjusting to the league, and is beginning to figure things out and feels comfortable.
“It’s a pretty fast league. I think I’m adjusting well,” he said.
As for Amantea, he has an upper-body injury and the Vees decided to keep him out of the lineup for a couple of weeks as a precaution. Harbinson said it isn’t anything severe.
During the victory against the Bulldogs, Harbinson said he thought the players were efficient, scoring six goals on 30 shots and limited the visitors opportunities. The Bulldogs finished with 27 shots, 12 which came in the first period.
On Friday night, the Vees lost 5-2 to the Salmon Arm SilverBacks and hurt themselves by missing the net on several chances. They edged the SilverBacks in shots 33-32. The Vees started well scoring the game’s first goal, however, the SilverBacks scored two quick goals, their second and third goals came from deflections “at kind of critical times” said Harbinson.
Blanleil said they played OK, just not good enough.
“I just think we need to bear down. Get pucks on net,” said Blanleil, who added they missed a lot trying to go high.
With the Vees getting ready for this weekend as they host Prince George on Friday and Powell River on Saturday, Harbinson said the bigger picture is looking at their first 10 games.
“We are 7-3 with seven of the 10 games being on the road,” he said. “I probably would have signed up for that any day of the week going into the season.”
During the weekend, the Vees dressed affiliate players Tyson Jost on Friday and Liam Finlay on Saturday. Harbinson was very pleased with both. During the weekend, the Vees announced that Finlay will play for the club next season. The two sides have built a relationship over time as Finlay has attended several camps, including their bantam prep. Harbinson said Finlay will be a good fit a year from now.
Vees notes: Max Cotta has committed to join Minnesota State University Mankato for the 2015-2016 season.
“In a short period of time Max has become a go-to guy in all situations,” said Harbinson in a team statement. “His maturity and approach matched with his offensive instincts to make him a dynamic player who will have continued success at both the junior A and NCAA level.”
Coatta, 19, in his first season with the Vees leads the team in goals with seven and points with 12 is fourth in BCHL rookie scoring. Coatta also received an honorable mention for BCHL Player of the Week award after netting a hat-trick and seven points during a two-game sweep of the Trail Smoke Eaters on Sept. 13 and 14. Coatta is excited to be joining Mankato.
“I felt really comfortable with coach Hastings and his staff,” he said in a statement. “They’re coming off a great season and they’ve recruited well. It’s exciting to be going to a program that’s on the rise.”