Bryan Mckewen (left) of Big O Tires battles a Penticton Pinnacle player in the annual Oldtimers Thanksgiving Soccer Tournament last weekend in Penticton.

Tiremen roll in Penticton tourney

The annual Penticton Thanksgiving weekend tournament found fewer teams than usual this year, meaning less teams in each division.

The annual Penticton Thanksgiving weekend tournament found fewer teams than usual this year, meaning less teams in each division.

The Vernon Big O Ogopgos were in tough in the 45+ division with Okanagan champion Kelowna IGA and perennial tournament winning Penticton Pinnacles, and Prince George.

Big O, who just missed making the final at 1-1-1, gave their best-ever showing against IGA, eventually losing 6-1 in their opener.

Bryan Mckewen scored for the Ogopogos, who lost reliable midfielder Brad Conlin with a groin injury early in the game.

The Ogopogos then settled for a 1-1 draw with Prince George as Rob Ross connected on a penalty kick. Vernon held on until the last few minutes when Prince George buried the equalizer past keeper Yogi Kongsdorf, who was playing injured.

Big O lost defender Paul Hunter to a bad knee injury and defender Greg Thalheimer with the flu before the third and final game, a 2-1 win over Penticton.

Big O scrambled for players and were able to start the game with one sub, taking the surprising lead on another rushing goal by Mckewen and then another goal by Dave Dawson.

Dawson was left all alone in the 18-yard box after the Pinnacles stopped running because they thought the ball had gone out of bounds. Dawson chipped the ball over the keeper’s head.

Later in the game, Penticton received a controversial penalty kick after a collision between Al Bensmiller and a Pinnacle forward. The Penticton player beat Kongsdorf, who played superb and helped Big O to their first win ever against the reigning champ Pinnacles.


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