A 6-1 pounding by the Penticton Vees against the Brooks Bandits was overshadowed because of the final two minutes of Game 4 action on Wednesday.
The dislike between the Vees and Bandits has grown to new heights in the Doyle Cup after Bandits forward Jeremy Burns received a double game misconduct and five minutes for goaltender interference. It all started as the Bandits entered the Vees zone. Burns knocked down defenceman D.J. Jones then crosschecked goalie Michael Garteig in the face. Vees defenceman Zach Urban came to his goalie’s defence and gave Burns a few shots to the back of the head. That created chaos. Burns then hit Urban in the face with his stick.
“I was kind of shocked. They were going for the head,” said Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson. “I thought I had a little more respect for their team. The way they were finishing up a lot of cross checks to the head, hopefully they will look at the tape and make some decisions there. It’s definitely not the way the game is supposed to be played.”
Prior to that play Joey Benik took a poke at R.J. Reed with his stick, Reed poked back then engaged with Urban. Following the game, Bandits coach Ryan Papaioannou was asked about his team’s composure.
“Oh, we didn’t lose our composure. Not by any means,” said Papaioannou. “When a guy like Mike Reilly celebrates in front of your bench after scoring the sixth goal of the game like that, we didn’t lose our composure at all. We just kept the game honest and tried to play with some integrity and, unfortunately, certain guys have trouble with that.”
Under the Hockey Canada Junior A Supplement guidelines, a direct blow to the head results in an automatic minimum three-game suspension. BCHL commissioner John Grisdale said the matter is being dealt with by Hockey Canada, who made their decision Friday. Vees play-by-play broadcaster Fraser Rodgers posted it on his blog.
Following a scoreless first period, the Vees solved Jan Obernesser in the second on the power play with nifty puck movement between St. Denis and Mike Reilly. Benik followed puck that ricocheted off the boards from a shot and banked it off the back of Obernesser’s skate. A minute later, St. Denis showed patience with the puck. Obernesser was out of position reaching for a puck then got back in as his defence protected the net. Benik fired a shot that hit the crowd of players with the rebound going to St. Denis, who made a cross crease pass to Lucia, who buried it. That power play goal proved to be the winner. The Vees went 4-for-9 on the man advantage, the Bandits were 1-for-6. Their goal came when Mark Reners beat Garteig on his blocker side with a one-timer. His goal was followed shortly by Lucia’s second of the game. Ryan Reilly, Mike Reilly and Logan Johnston scored the other third period goals. Ryan Reilly’s goal was the result of a hard working play by Troy Stecher. With Anthony Petruzzelli backchecking hard, Stecher was able get the puck over to Reilly for the tap-in.
“Had a guy draped on my back. I just wanted to get to the net,” said Stecher. “I saw Ryan crash in there and when you get pucks and bodies to the net good things are going to happen.”
As for the chaos near the end, Stecher said it reminded him of their rivalry with another BCHL team.
“It’s kind of weird, it’s kind of like us and Vernon in the regular season,” he said. “It’s only been four games and that’s playoff hockey. We love it. We build energy off that. We are going to keep feeding off it.”
St. Denis said the Bandits just got frustrated because of the score.
“I think we just have to forget about that for next game and just come out like we did tonight,” said St. Denis, who couldn’t repeat what said between the two teams on the benches.
Harbinson said Urban was fine but had some teeth banged in.
For Game 5, Harbinson said, “it would be crazy for me to want to change something which got us a 6-1 win.”
Papaioannou said his team didn’t get a good start and for the first 40 minutes struggled. “If we played like we wanted to, it would have been a much closer game. We couldn’t execute, hook up on our passes, we just weren’t sharp.”
Game 5 is today at the South Okanagan Events Centre at 7 p.m. Attendance for Game 4 was 2,896, while Game 3 in the SOEC was 3,006.
Ice chips: History could come back full circle on the Doyle Cup. Should Penticton win, they will be the first and last team to win it. The Doyle Cup was donated by Penticton businessman Pete Doyle and his family in 1985. The trophy was first won by the Penticton Knights against the Red Deer Rustlers.