May 7, 2017
Courtesy Battlefords News Optimist
PENTICTON, B.C. – The Penticton Vees made a bit of history at the Western Canada Cup Sunday.
The tournament host and British Columbia Hockey League champions became the first team that finished out of the top two spots in the round-robin standings to earn a berth to the RBC Cup as they edged out the Chilliwack Chiefs 3-2 in the WCC runner-up game at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Having started the event with a 1-1-1 mark, the Vees won their final round-robin game over the Portage Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Thursday night and then defeated the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Battlefords North Stars Saturday afternoon to earn a date with the Chiefs, who they defeated in the BCHL final and played 11 times this year.
Vees captain Nicholas Jones had another great game as he scored two goals and helped to set up the game-winning marker by Grant Cruickshank in the third period.
Mathew Robson was stellar in goal when called upon, as he made 16 saves.
Will Calverley and Jordan Kawaguchi both scored for the Chiefs, while goaltender Mark Sinclair turned aside 26 shots.
The Vees will now travel to Cobourg, Ont. to compete for a national title at the RBC Cup, which will get underway Saturday.
The other four teams in the event are:
- the host Cobourg Cougars of the Ontario Junior Hockey League,
- the Western Canada Cup champion Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League
- the Fred Page Cup champion Terrebonne Cobras of the Quebec Junior Hockey League
- and the Dudley Hewitt Cup champion Trenton Golden Hawks of the OJHL.
The Cobras also punched their ticket to Cobourg Sunday as they defeated the Carleton Place Canadians of the Central Canada Hockey League by a score of 4-2.
With the win, the Cobras became the first QJHL team to reach the National championship since 2006.
The RBC Cup will run until Sunday, May 21, with the final airing nationally on TSN.