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Vees make Centennials lose cool during 9-0 drubbing

Losing one-on-one battles against the Prince George Spruce Kings made the Penticton Vees coaches challenge its players. The Vees responded by whipping the Merritt Centennials 9-0 at the Nicola Valley Arena Wednesday night.

Vees coach Fred Harbinson said the effort could have been one of their “best performances” of the season. Steven Fogarty, who led the Vees with two goals and four points, opened the scoring 17 seconds in. Fogarty then assisted on Ryan Reilly’s marker to give the Vees a 2-0 lead. That lead grew to 3-0 on a tally by Joey Benik.

Things got heated following Bryce Gervais and Fogarty’s unassisted goals as Richard Sabourin went after Gervais. Sabourin was given a game misconduct that resulted in the Vees getting a seven-minute power play. Four goals were scored by the Vees courtesy of Wade Murphy twice, DJ Jones and Connor Reilly in less than two minutes.

Harbinson said it was a game in which both sides played hard then after the fourth goal, the Centennials started running around.

“They clearly lost their focus,” said Harbinson, who couldn’t understand why since they are the second place team in the BCHL            .

With five minutes remaining, Benik and Silvan Harper were given game misconducts following their fight. Harbinson said the Vees can play any way the Centennials want to.

Harbinson was upset by Centennials coach Luke Pierce disrespecting his team. Harbinson said he heard Pierce call the Vees “a bunch a pukes” from his bench during the game.

It's the second time Pierce has made comments about the Vees.

Harbinson said he checked footage of the third period to see if any of his players did anything to cause things to boil over. He saw nothing.

“I think we have good character on our team,” said Harbinson.

Asked if Pierce may have just lost his cool when making those comments, Harbinson said he thinks Pierce did.

“He left his goalie in for nine straight,” said Harbinson, adding he thought Lino Chimienti should have been relieved because of how well he has played.

The Vees and Centennials don’t meet again at the Nicola Valley Arena until Feb. 25. Vees goalie Michael Garteig earned his 32nd win of the season and fourth shutout turning aside 32 shots.

The Vees however, will look to continue their streak when they host the Salmon Arm SilverBacks on Friday at 7 p.m.



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