Bryce Gervais has played in Elgar Petersen Arena before: he just doesn’t remember much of it from his minor hockey days.
Growing up in North Battleford, Sask. he has played in EPA about seven or eight times with Battlefords Barons AA teams.
Commentators on Fasthockey.com, online broadcaster of the RBC Cup, said Gervais received a warm reception from the crowd of 1,476.
“It’s pretty cool,” he said of the reception. “It’s nice to know I got some fans here.”
Despite the Vees not enjoying the success they hoped for heading into Wednesday’s game, (a 2-1 loss to the Soo Thunderbirds on Saturday and a 3-2 overtime loss to the host Humboldt Broncos), it’s been a fun experience for Gervais. The RBC Cup is only a few hours from his hometown.
Monday was about the Vees players relaxing as they went out for a team dinner and bowling action at Kemway Lanes. Gervais said the players had a good time and were surprised at how good Mario Lucia, Steven Fogarty and Mike Reilly turned out to be.
“It was pretty amazing how good they were,” said Gervais.
While their game Tuesday against the Woodstock Slammers was termed an “elimination game” by coach-GM Fred Harbinson, Gervais said the players are confident.
“Our effort has definitely been there,” he said. “We know we have the team to do it. We just have to put our hard work and talent together.”
When asked about his own play, Gervais, who had an assist in two games, said he could definitely be better. While he does have some jump from playing near home, he added, “It’s a team effort and we’re not happy with losing so I can’t be happy with my play right now if we’re not winning.”
Harbinson said he felt his team played well against the Broncos. After being scored on seven seconds in, he felt the players responded well, hitting a few posts before Wade Murphy got on the score sheet.
What Harbinson hasn’t been thrilled with is the officiating.
“I definitely thought the officiating cost us in the end,” said Harbinson. “They call a five-minute major (against Kyle Beaulieu) that could have been, maybe it was a two minute penalty. The reasoning was because an injury resulted (to Andrew Johnston). And the player they said got hurt spent almost the entire five minutes on the ice on the power play and scored the game-winning goal. In between that, they missed a blatant short-handed breakaway trip on Murphy. I just don’t know how, the same guy, (Jeff) Ingram, calls six out of seven penalties against us, calls a penalty with three seconds to go. Taking the faceoff out of the opposition’s zone in Game 1 of this series and absolutely destroyed Game 3 of the Doyle Cup at home with the missed calls, the 10-minute misconduct on (Troy) Stecher. The only reason he is here is they say he’s a level 6 referee, which means that he knows how to take a test.”
Harbinson said they have filed a complaint with Hockey Canada. Beaulieu was suspended one game and was out of the lineup against the Woodstock Slammers.
“I think it is ridiculous because the call was obviously the wrong call,” said Harbinson “The kid played no problem.”
While the players had some time away from the rink, the Vees coaching staff had a meeting then watched the game between Woodstock and the Portage Terriers. On Wednesday, the Vees face the Terriers at 6:30 p.m. For more Vees coverage at the RBC Cup, check www.pentictonwesternnews.com.
Ice chips: Injured Vees forward Connor Reilly has been blogging for www.pentictonwesternnews.com from Humboldt. Harbinson said the ice at the EPA “is absolutely awful. The worst ice they have been on. It’s supposed to get warmer so it’s going to get worse.” Harbinson said the community of Humboldt has proven to be nice and the organization has done well in hosting the RBC Cup.
“They do a good job,” he said. “The people here are doing their best to make sure things run smooth.”