Owen Sillinger and the Penticton Vees look to bounce back today against the Portage Terriers, the Manitoba Junior Hockey League champs, in their final preliminary game of the Western Canada Cup at the South Okanagan Events Centre at 7 p.m. after their loss to Chilliwack on Tuesday. Mark Brett/Western News

Vees face Portage Terriers in critical game

Advancing to third versus fourth game on line for the Penticton Vees

The Penticton Vees know what’s at stake tonight (7 p.m. start) when they face the Portage Terriers in the Western Canada Cup.

After losing 4-2 to the Chilliwack Chiefs Tuesday at the South Okanagan Events Centre, the Vees need at least one point in order to play in the third versus fourth place game on Saturday. Vees assistant captain and defenceman Mitch Meek said they just have to learn from their mistakes.

“We got to realize we’re pretty good with our backs on the walls,” said Meek. “We’re pretty lucky we get to play again and prove ourself.”

Meek said when they focus on playing a hard game, they are tough to play against. Playing a grinding game is when they are at their best he said.

The matchup will also see the Vees face former teammate Ty Barnstable (Read: Former Vee key piece for Terriers).

“He’s a really good guy. We all like him, but at the same time we don’t want to see him go to the RBC, instead of us. Our plan and our goal is to win out here.”

Following Tuesday’s game, Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson said the players need to figure out how to come out and play desperate.

“We put game notes up on the board. My first thing tonight (Tuesday) was not waiting to start playing our game plan,” he said. “We waited until part way through the second period to start playing. That’s the only adjustment that needs to be made.”

The Vees will also count on the support of their fans, which Meek said is crucial.

“Definitely the fans in the community getting behind us always helps,” he said. “We have some of the best fans in the league. When they show up it does help us, brings energy.”

The Vees are currently tied with the Terriers in the standings with three points, but sit in third place with a 1-1-1 record, while the Terriers are 1-2 after losing 5-0 to the Brooks Bandits last night.

The Battlefords North Stars are last in the standings with one point and face the Chilliwack Chiefs at 2 p.m. today.

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