The Penticton Vees won their first RBC Cup in twenty-six years on Sunday in a 4-3 win over the Woodstock Slammers. The franchise’s last national championship came in 1986, when they won the then Centennial Cup under the Knights moniker.
The Vees built a two goal first period lead, before a midgame comeback by the Slammers. Travis St. Denis opened the scoring on the power-play after he converted on a backdoor pass from Mario Lucia at 6:13; St. Denis’s first of the tournament. Steve Fogarty doubled the lead on a well-placed shot. Mike Reilly dished the puck to Fogarty in the circle before he let go a wrist-shot that beat Matt Murphy up high at 12:18.
Woodstock didn’t take long to respond, as just sixty-one seconds later Bradley Greene cut the deficit in half after he redirected a shot past Mike Garteig at 13:19. The Slammers drew even, just before the eight minute mark of the second period. On a Slammers power-play, Nick Huard rushed in on the left-wing and put a quick shot over the glove of Garteig at 7:48.
The Slammers went ahead for the first time in the game in the opening minutes of third period. Bradley Greene picked up his second goal of the game on a well-executed three-one two rush at 1:30; Greene tapped a puck in at the far-post after a cross-crease pass.
Not deterred, the Vees pressed the Slammers trying to even the game at three’s. Their hard worked paid off when Bryce Gervais shoveled in a loose puck on the goal-line at 11:10. Steven Fogarty’s original shot hit the post but kicked back in the crease to Gervais, who pounced to nab his first of the tournament.
A late power-play for Penticton turned into late game heroics by Joey Benik. Woodstock’s Jake Logan was sent off for tripping Travis St. Denis with just over two minutes left in the third. Benik broke the tie with a wrist-shot that eluded the glove of Matt Murphy at 19:09; the RBC Cup game-winning goal with just fifty-one seconds left.
Final Score: 4-3 Vees
Shots: 34-25 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 2/7 Slammers 1/3
Players of the Game: Vees- Steven Fogarty Slammers- Bradley Greene
The Vees capped of the RBC Cup by winning four consecutive games after a 0-2 start to the tournament. The national title is the second in franchise history, and first since 1986, when the Penticton Knights won the Centennial Cup over the Cole Harbour Colts.
Three Vees have entered an exclusive club in the championship win. Travis St. Denis, Curtis Loik and Troy Stecher are the only three players to win a World Junior “A” Championship and an RBC Championship in the same season. The three were part of Team Canada West’s gold medal victory in Langley.
More to come..