The Penticton Vees were too much for the Nanaimo Clippers in the BCHL finals.
The Vees won Game 4 by an 8-2 score on Wednesday, May 18, at Frank Crane Arena, to sweep the series four games to none and lift the Fred Page Cup as B.C.’s junior A hockey champions.
Penticton scored two minutes into the first period, led 3-0 by the first intermission and never looked back.
“The series was tough until tonight,” said Fred Harbinson, Vees coach. “We came out, played the right way, we got our lead in the first period and like this team has done all year, we just stuck to the plan all the way through and I’m so proud of them.”
Bradly Nadeau scored a hat trick for Penticton, Josh Nadeau added a goal and two assists and other scorers were Ryan Hopkins, Frank Djurasevic, Thomas Pichette and Spencer Smith. Kaeden Lane made 21 saves.
For Nanaimo, Charles Tardif and Cole Hansen scored and Cooper Black made 50 saves.
Luc Wilson, who had three assists for the Vees, said throughout the series, his team was able to shut things down defensively, head onto offence and pressure Nanaimo’s goalie. The Vees combined that on-ice play with the right mindset and mentality, he said.
“Nothing short of spectacular from our group,” Wilson said. “We’ve got amazing people, amazing players in this organization and I’m so happy to be a part of it.”
Harbinson said the Vees were a coachable and mature group that didn’t have many bad practices or bad days throughout the season. He said players were motivated in 2021-22 after the pandemic cost the organization the chance to compete for championships in 2019-20 and 2020-21.
“We kind of dedicated this year to make sure that we played hard for those two teams and the guys deserve everything they’re getting right now,” Harbinson said.
Wilson said the hockey team was “a family” this season.
“When you go to work with your best friends every single day, day in, day out, and you com compete against the best players every single day, it’s a recipe for success,” he said.