Vancan Outta The Blue

BCHL 50TH Season Kicks Off
September 23, 2011, 15:45
Filed under: BC Hockey League | Tags: , ,

By Josh Hall

Sixty minutes until the puck drops on a new season for the Coquitlam Express and Penticton Vees.

The rink in its entirety is dead silent. That is with the exception of a, “Testing, 1, 2, 3,” from the pressbox. Oh, and not to mention the two teams dry training in the walkway around the small arena.

Fifty minutes, and the obligatory pump-up music starts blaring. The score clock reads 17:38, and you know in that small amount of time, a bunch of jacked up, adrenaline charged young hockey players will finally hit the ice for their first pre-game warm-up of this new regular season.

Fans start to file in, and don’t let the level of hockey fool you, that being Junior ‘A.’ People are excited and the players on the two squads are out to prove they have what it takes to play in the big leagues, the National Hockey League. Bet your bottom dollar scouts are watching. That’s why I usually say that hockey at the junior ranks is often more exciting. Sure, a guy like Roberto has haters to prove wrong, but these kids have everything to prove.

The clash of skate blades and frozen water begins.

It was a close matchup…for 40 minutes, which is when Penticton took their biggest lead of the game, 5-2 and never looked back. Coquitlam fans were treated to a rousing player introduction ceremony and ceremonial puck drop with the Mayor of Coquitlam. The puck drop which ensued kicked off the BCHL’s 50th season, which promises to be once again, exciting as ever and provide a look at some future stars of the NHL. Oddly enough during the player introductions, a compilation of past calls featured the name Kyle Turris, an Express Alumni. Turris is currently involved in a holdout with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Back to the game that was taking place. Coquitlam came back twice from 1 goal deficits in the 1st period but succumbed to a Penticton team that finished 2nd in the Interior Conference last season. It was scrappy affair too. Vees D-Man Kyle Beaulieu was assessed 2 for Hooking, 2 for Checking from Behind and a game misconduct all on the same play at 17:21 of the 1st period. Thankfully his victim got up and was alright. A Ballard-esque hip-check in the 2nd period amidst plenty of pushing, shoving and face washes gave the game a higher level of feistiness to say the least. Mitts were never dropped though.

Coquitlam, who finished second last in the Coastal Conference last season didn’t start off the season as they exactly hoped, but there were a couple things they can take solace in. First of all, they actually went 2/4 on the Powerplay. That beats Penticton’s special teams effort of 0/6 on the PP. As well, their Captain, #9 Alex Petan led by example with one of the goals. Petan is from Delta and remains undrafted at 19 years of age.

Impressive for the Vees was their Captain and also #9 Joey Benik. The native of Andover, Minnesota scored 30 goals and 56 points in all 60 games for the Vees last season and he added his first two of this season, notching a goal and an assist. Benik is 19 and is committed to St. Cloud State University for the 2012-13 season.

Now tonight’s game was the first of 12 in the Team 1040’s Annual Broadcast series of BCHL games. The next one up is on October 8th when the Powell River Kings face the Langley Rivermen at the brand new Langley Events Centre. We here at VanCity Sports Blog want you to know that we will be there every step of the way. Coming up, we will provide not only more compelling stories and recaps, but video interviews with players and experts.

If you are interested, the Coquitlam Express play next at home on Friday the 30th vs. Salmon Arm. The Penticton Vees play next in Chilliwack tomorrow night, the 24th, against the Chiefs.


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