So it can be said, it's mission accomplished for the Penticton Vees and Fred Harbinson. After months of assembling an all star team in the summer of 2011, 9-10 months later the hard work and recruiting has paid off in the form of the 2012 RBC Cup/National Championship.
After a record breaking 54 win and 101 point season in the BCHL, with no less than 16 NCAA commitments (Murphy's while a Grizzlie) the Vees can be proud of what they've done in the 2011/12 season.
Although they had to grind out a few victories and suffered a couple of early set-backs in a closer and more competitive RBC tournament than expected; the Vees defeated the MJAHL's Woodstock Slammers 4-3 in the final yesterday, which was broadcast nationally on TSN.
After going behind 3-2 to the Slammers in the third and with Woodstock running into some penalty issues in the last frame,a Bryce Gervias goal and the go ahead marker from Joey Benik with one minute to go, would see a BCHL team crowned RBC victors, for the third time in four years in quite dramatic style.
It again shows the class and standard of what the BCHL has to offer compared to the rest of the Junior A leagues in the country.But, on the showing of the last couple of RBC Cups, the gap in quality/standard between some of the Jnr A leagues is getting much closer.
The five teams in this years tourney gave us a great show and some very competative games.
Humboldt, had an incredible season and tournament going 4-0 in the round robin before being eliminated. Despite the heart break of the semi finals, great effort Broncos.
Woodstock, took out the Broncos in the semi finals and put some pride and credibility back into the MJAHL, and not before time with Summerside hosting next years tournament.
The Soo Thunderbirds battled hard and caused a couple of upsets and can be proud of what they did this year.
The Portage Terriers I'm sure will be disappointed that they didnt make it into the semi-finals,but, given there usual status as MJHL powerhouse,s they'll be back.
Which bring me back to the Penticton Vees. Certain BCHL fans of a number of the other teams(certainly Vernon), would love or hate this version of the 2011/12 Vees, due to the talent and dominance this year. However, after watching the likes of the three Reilly brothers, Wade Murphy, Steve Fogerty, Joey Benik, Mario Lucia, Travis St.Denis, Curtis Loik, Nick Buchanan and Michael Garteig to name a few, this years Penticton Vees deserve their place in the record books and BCHL folk lore.
On a local note, congrats to Victoria boys Wade Murphy, Nick Buchanan and Chad Kautner on a incredible season. Wade, hope to see you back in a Grizzlies uniform soon and Nick all the best in Minnesota and with your NCAA career.
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