Penticton Vees first up at RBC Cup

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It’s one sleep until the puck drops for the 2015 RBC Cup national championship tournament in Portage-la-Prairie, Man. and the Penticton Vees have drawn the opening-game assignment versus the host club.

While that may seem daunting, the good news is the Vees are familiar with their opening-day opponent. Penticton takes on the Portage Terriers, the team they faced just a week ago in the final of the Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup.

Portage will be a motivated bunch, having been defeated by Penticton in that game by a 4-3 score in overtime and then having to watch the Vees celebrate with the WCC trophy.

Penticton will also have a book on another RBC Cup opponent in the Melfort Mustangs. The Saskatchewan champs were also at the WCC and the Vees defeated them 3-1 in their only meeting at that event. (There are three teams from the WCC at the RBC Cup because the RBC Cup-host Terriers had an automatic berth and also came second at the WCC allowing Melfort a berth as well as the Vees).

The other teams at the RBC Cup are the Central Canada Hockey League’s (CCHL) Carleton Place Canadians, who are making their second-straight RBC Cup appearance, and the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL).

Penticton’s RBC Cup schedule is as follows:

Saturday, May 9: Penticton vs. Portage Terriers, 12 p.m. Pacific
Sunday, May 10: Melfort Mustangs vs. Penticton, 12 p.m. Pacific
Tuesday, May 12: Carleton Place Canadians vs. Penticton, 12 p.m. Pacific
Thursday, May 14: Soo Thunderbirds vs. Penticton, 5 p.m. Pacific.

The Vees are trying for their second national Junior A championship in four seasons after winning it all in 2012 in Humboldt, Sask. A win would be the third national championship in franchise history. The 1986 Penticton Knights were the first BCHL team to win a national championship, which was then called the Centennial Cup.

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