“Caleb Rousseau was phenomenal; he stood on his head,” said Penticton Sherwood Trophy Peewee Vees head coach Greg Berkholtz, after a 5-1 win against West Kelowna that sealed a trip to the Provincials.
“If it wasn’t for him, we could have easily been down five goals in the first half of the game,” said Berkholtz.
The Vees had come out flat despite having the home crowd behind them against the Warriors Sunday night.
The Warriors led 1-0 in the opening half of the Tier 2 championship on what Berkholtz said was a flukey goal on a deflection on the power play.
Nerves from playing in front of a home crowd affected the Vees, said Berkholtz, in the third and deciding game for the OMAHA championship.
Vees forward Brenden Patton evened things up when he finished a play by Carson Shortreed and Cameron Davie late in the second period.
Davie then made it 2-1 at 13:05 of the third and that opened the flood gates. Davie scored his second just over two minutes later, then Patton buried his second two minutes after that and Kieran Mielke netted the final goal with 4:15 remaining in the third.
The first goal gave the Vees life and from there the game was over,” Berkholtz said.
During the break, Berkholtz told his players to perform like there was nothing left to play for.
“Our captain took it to heart what I told them,”said Berkholtz of Davie. “Their line got all five goals. He kind of picked the team up and said let’s do it.”
What impressed Berkholtz about Davie’s line was how they controlled the puck. In the opening half, they dumped the puck in and gave it away. The line then changed their ways and used their speed.
“It was kind of nice to see both teams send West Kelowna home,” said Berkholtz. “We have a bit of a rivalry with them. It was nice to beat those guys.”
Berkholtz added it was a good victory because of the turmoil the team endured after two players left the team. Berkholtz said since Christmas, it’s been a team effort that has got them this far.
The Vees will travel to Victoria for Provincials starting March. 15.