(Photos: Andy Devlin, Hockey Canada Images)
Semi-Final Audio Highlights (CPC 2 Vees 1 (2 OT)
- The team has arrived back in Penticton and everyone, staff included, are coming to grips with the fact the season is over. Nine months, 91 games and a whole heck of a lot of memories. The Vees’ regular seasons started waaaaaaay back on Friday, September 19th, at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack and ended on Saturday, May 16th, in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, at the RBC Cup. That’s quite the run.
- How long of a season was it? I’m writing this blog, on my deck, in 25 degree weather, with a cold pop beside me.
- It’s going to be a short off-season, when your season runs into May but I don’t think the Vees will soon forget their RBC Cup exit. The Vees weren’t too happy about a disallowed goal in the first overtime, as Dakota Conroy’s shot went right through Carleton Place goaltender Guillaume Therien and in but the ref blew the play dead too early. Very early. Here’s the video:
— Kyle H (@TheGoalieGuru) May 17, 2015
- If you listen carefully, you hear the whistle blow as the shot comes to the chest area of Therien and to me that shows the ref had a very quick trigger on the whistle. At first, watching in real-time, I thought the goalie had it, for a brief moment, before it leaked through. Watch back you can tell it was a continuous motion and unfortunately the ref had an itchy trigger finger. People might point out the Vees had two power-plays in OT after that moment but Head Coach Fred Harbinson had this to say in the Penticton Herald paper today, “The only thing you can say is we could have scored the next goal, but in our minds we had scored the goal that put us into the final. It’s tough, but we have to move on from it.” Yep, they had a couple of power-plays but that’s little consolation when you thought you’ve ended the game.
- I’m don’t want to pile on about the no-goal but how many times did the Vees have goals waved-off at critical times this post-season? It was odd. In the Western Canada Cup Final a near identical play involving Jack Ramsey and Riley Alferd happened, luckily the Vees won that game. I’ll credit BCHL Ref Mark Pearce for manning up and going to the Vees coaches after and admitting he was wrong. Coaches appreciate honesty. What grinded the Vees gears was there was no apology or explanation for the quick whistle in the RBC Cup Semi-Final. Mike Lee was also a victim to a quick whistle in the BCHL Final against Nanaimo, that was in game two and luckily the Vees prevailed in that series as well. It happened too much to say the least. But lets not cry over spilled milk I suppose.
- Take nothing away from the Carleton Place, as they were a great opponent and gave the Vees fits throughout the Semi-Final game. I thought they made a big push from the third period onward and the Vees had their moments when they were pinned back. No shame in losing to Carleton Place who exchanged blows with the Vees. It was a hard-fought game but one that wasn’t dirty and one where both teams clawed tooth and nail. It was fun to be part of, even though my team didn’t win.
- Tough to see the Vees season end so suddenly but fitting I suppose at the same time. This team was all about the dramatics, the close games and sudden victories, so I guess they wanted to go out the same way. They played in 11 overtime games if you include the BCHL playoffs, Western Canada Cup and RBC Cup, and despite the loss in the Semi-Final, still won seven of those 11 games. Pretty Incredible. Even when Carleton Place was buzzing in the OT periods, you thought the Vees were going to find a way, again, to win the game-some will argue all summer they actually did (OK, I’ll drop it).
- Despite the heart-wrenching loss, Coach Harbinson had some high praise for the RBC Cup and I would have to echo his comments in today’s Penticton Herald, ” It was a first-class event and we were thrilled to be part of it. Portage had a superb veteran team and was well put together. Obviously we would have loved to have played them in the final.” I think a lot of people would have loved to see that rematch. Maybe in Lloydminster, Alberta next year-Site of the 2016 RBC Cup.
- Though it was only the third RBC Cup I’ve experienced and second with a team, I must say it was fantastically put together by Hockey Canada and the people of Portage la Prairie. Craig Button nailed it on the TSN broadcast, saying towns like Portage are the fabric of junior hockey in Canada. So true. Crowds were excellent, even for the games not involving Portage. When the Terriers were playing, it felt like the entire town was crammed into the PCU Centre. The 50-50 jackpots were massive, with some take-home pots into the five’s and six thousands late in the tournament. The volunteers were tremendously helpful and always there if you needed something or had a problem-same with the fine folks at Hockey Canada. Once again, a big thank you!
- During my post-game thank you on Saturday I did miss a few people and I know it’s a bit tacky but I would like to publicly thank them here:
- Kevan Scott-Vees Game Night / Community Coordinator: I jokingly refer to her as my “second wife,” but she makes the Vees game nights tick behind the scenes. If it wasn’t for her behind the scenes, you wouldn’t be able to experience the fantastic promotions they put on at the SOEC during home games. She’s also incredibly important to the Vees community presence, as she makes sure the Vees are in the community, donating their time to worth charitable causes and events-She’s why the Vees get some much credit for their work in the Penticton community.
- Trevor Miller- Broadcast Partner: Though young, Trevor is a bright light in the junior broadcasting circuit, and if other BCHL teams came to their senses, he would be calling BCHL hockey on his own by now. The kid has incredible passion and knowledge for the BCHL and his tell it like it is attitude is incredibly refreshing. He let’s you know what’s going on in the game-black & white. I hope he’s not back riding by my side next year, as he’s too good to play second fiddle. Trevor even stepped in for me on a last moments notice when I came down with a bad cold and lost my voice last year and didn’t even miss a beat, calling a game in Trail for me. Bright future ahead for my colleague and friend.
- The Billets- A group of people I missed on my weekend sign-off but if it wasn’t for the Billets, junior hockey wouldn’t exist. They open their homes for nine months of the year, putting a roof over the heads of young men, give them a bed to sleep in, feed them (which is a feat in itself), and give them a place to call home, when playing away from home. A big thank you to our Billets.
- I’ll have some end-of-year interviews from the Vees as they clean out their dressing room tomorrow afternoon. Look for that audio on Wednesday. I’ll also formulate an end-of-year piece, wrapping up the 2014-2015 season this week.