Vee hopes for third chance at RBC

Demico Hannoun looks to return to the RBC Cup for the third time, but win his first ring

West Kelowna Warriors Jonathan Desbiens is sandwiched between Penticton Vees Demico Hannoun and Patrick Sexton during a break out attempt in the third period of the BC Hockey League playoff opener Tuesday at the South Okanagan Events Centre. The Warriors' Jason Cotton scored the winning goal in the second overtime period for a 4-3 victory however Penticton evened the series the following night at home with 3-2 overtime win.

Demico Hannoun would love a third try at winning an RBC Cup championship.

The coveted Canadian Junior Hockey League national championship trophy has eluded the Penticton Vees forward twice, once with the Surrey Eagles two years ago, then last year with the Vernon Vipers.

“You don’t want to think that far ahead,” said Hannoun, following the Vees’ 3-2 overtime victory over the West Kelowna Warriors in Game 2 of the BCHL Interior Division semifinal March 4 at the South Okanagan Events Centre. “I just try not to think about too much stuff.”

The North Delta product takes that approach because of his experiences in junior A hockey over the past four years. Entering this playoff season, the Michigan Tech commit had nine goals and 28 points in 44 games. That’s an average of .64 points per game. He collected a goal and four points in five Western Canada Cup matches and has another five goals and nine points in 10 RBC Cup games.

Following Wednesday’s action, Hannoun, 19, had two playoff goals. The six-foot, 195 pound winger feels he has been playing pretty good. He has gotten involved physically and fired several shots on net. He was pumped up after scoring a power play goal to erase a Warriors 2-0 lead in Game 2 at 8:57 of the third period.

“I was a little pissed off from last game when I missed those couple breakaways I had and I had to redeem myself,” said Hannoun, whose brother Dante is a centre for the Victoria Royals in the Western Hockey League.

Vees forward Matt Serratore said Hannoun, known as Nooner to his teammates, is a heck of a player.

“He has scored a lot of goals (23) for us. He scored another big one there,” he said. “He’s a guy you look to offensively. He’s got great skill, great size. He’s got a really good shot.”

Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson has been very happy with his forward.

“I think he was a little down about taking a penalty in overtime (Tuesday),” he said. “It’s nice to see him get a goal, especially a huge goal like that.”

In overtime, Serratore buried the winner as he spun around and beat Scott Patton to even the series at one.

“I think we felt that we played pretty well. We had a lot of shots on net,” said Serratore. “We had our chances, their goalie played well.”

Patton made 44 saves, while Hunter Miska made 30 saves.

Harbinson said he was proud of his group. After making two mistakes that resulted in goals, the staff talked to the players between periods about what they needed to do.

“Told them to get their chins up,” said Harbinson. “It’s not something to start dwelling on things that have happened already, but what’s ahead of us. I thought we played with the most energy in the third period that we played of all periods in this series. We came at them hard, got the two goals.”

In Game 1, the Warriors defeated the Vees 4-3 in double overtime. Games 3 and 4 now shift to West Kelowna’s Royal LePage Place March 6 and 7 at 7 p.m.

Vees notes: Defenceman Shayne Gwinner isn’t available to the team as he has gone home to Drumheller, Alta., to deal with a family issue. Harbinson said he isn’t sure when the veteran will return. Game 5 will return to the SOEC on March 9 at 7 p.m.

 

 

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