No Wade Murphy. No Louie Nanne. No problem.
Penticton Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson wanted other players to rise to the occasion, especially with their star forward serving a two-game suspension. He got that in wins (5-0 over Salmon Arm SilverBacks and 5-3 against the West Kelowna Warriors) last weekend.
“We had different guys score, we had different guys make big hits, we were blocking shots,” said Harbinson. “We did a bit of everything. I thought our D-core was outstanding from top to bottom.”
Notable players who stepped up were veteran Travis Blanleil and rookie Dexter Dancs. Harbinson said Blanleil was great. He collected an assist against the SilverBacks and Dancs scored his first BCHL goal. Other rookies getting their first goal were Jordan McCallum and Cam Amantea.
“I think guys are doing more than just scoring,” said Harbinson.
Vees captain Troy Stecher said it was a good opportunity for guys to step up and show they can play in all situations.
“It just showed that our team can face adversity,” said Stecher.
“I thought I played really good,” said Amantea. “It was nice to finally get that first goal over with. I felt that Fred kind of leaned on other guys and gave other guys opportunities like me, Jewell and Dancs.”
Ice chips: The Vees photography book Fifty Years in the Making by Tony Veltri is available for purchase during Saturday’s home opener. There is also a contest for fans to write a short piece (40 words or less) that will be included in the book. Write about a Vee that inspired you and why, what it means to be a Vees fan or your congratulations. Or just be creative in expressing your feelings on the 2011-12 Vees. The big prize is an aluminum image. Forms can be picked up and dropped off at any Valley First location, Nature’s Fair or Hooked on Books before Sept. 29. Forms can also be emailed to email@example.com. A portion of books sales will go to the Okanagan Similkameen Neurological Society, Penticton Community Soupateria Society, South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation and the Vees.
Celebrate the Vees’ home opener, which unveils the RBC national championship banner, with the SOEC plaza party kicking off at 3 p.m. Fans are encouraged to come early and enjoy food fired up on the Boyd Autobody and Glass’s Car-B-Q. For the kids, Par-T-Perfect’s bouncy castle, face painting and balloon animal stations will entertain. Also, towels will be available for a toonie and the first 3,000 people through the gates will receive free magnet schedules. Tickets are available at the Valley First Box Office (at the SOEC) and the Wine Country Visitor Centre. Ceremonies begin at 5 p.m.