PENTICTON VEE MITCH Meek ties up Trail Smoke Eater Ryan Moon during their BCHL tilt at the Cominco Arena in Trail on Jan. 28. Moon netted the winner in a 6-3 final. The Vees are in Merritt on Wednesday.

PENTICTON VEE MITCH Meek ties up Trail Smoke Eater Ryan Moon during their BCHL tilt at the Cominco Arena in Trail on Jan. 28. Moon netted the winner in a 6-3 final. The Vees are in Merritt on Wednesday.

BCHL: Vees look to get mentally stronger on the road

The Penticton Vees visit the Merritt Centennials with a focus on being mentally stronger.

Finishing 3-6-1 in January prompted the Penticton Vees to have a team meeting on Monday.

Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson and the coaching staff talked to the players about how the past month went.

“It was only 30 days ago that we were a really mentally strong hockey club,” said Harbinson, whose club dropped seven spots to 19th in the latest Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings. “When you go through these moments, anybody can appreciate when you have tough times. Your mind wanders. You start waiting for the next bad thing to happen. That’s one of the things.”

Harbinson pointed out that in three of the six losses, they led in the third peirod. A 6-3 loss in Trail is the most recent. The other losses came to Salmon Arm and and another loss to Trail. Harbinson said different factors contribute to that. One being mentally believing and not sitting there waiting for something bad to happen as he put it.

“The physical part of what we have worked on is not as much as maybe what we have been trying to work on mentally with the group,” said Harbinson, whose team is fourth overall in the BCHL at 32-12-1-1.

The Vees defence has only had Gabe Bast for seven games, while James Miller has missed 21 games to injury and Griffin Mendel was not available for five games while he suited up for Team Canada West in the World Junior A Challenge and the recent CJHL Prospects game.

Removing three of the top four defencemen has forced the Vees staff to put defencemen in bigger roles. Harbinson said they eat up more minutes at this point in their career than maybe they are capable. He attributes that as part of the reason for losing games in the third period.

“Getting those guys slotted back where they belong allows them to be more productive and more comfortable in their game,” he said. “Playing against the guys they should be playing against, that’s more of it than anything.

“What its done on a positive, is it has given more playing time to other D-men,” continued Harbinson. “That’s going to make them stronger at the end of the year. Better as a team. Having to fight through adversity.”

The Vees travel to Merritt Wednesday and are 2-1-0 in the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, where they lost on Jan.13.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Vees comeback falls short in Merritt

Vees captain Nicholas Jones said a gritty effort is required to win.

“It’s not going to be a skill game. Just get pucks to the net and get bodies to the net,” said Jones, who has five assists against the Centennials this season.

When it comes to the Vees’ road woes, Jones said they just have to put that behind them adding they have had good games in Merritt. Jones admitted the Centennials play a different game at home, where they are 9-10-4-1, compared to the road (9-9-4), saying they are “a very good home team.”

The Vees will now be without defenceman Mitch Meek for the remainder of the regular season with an upper body injury.

Mendel at CJHL Prospects Game

Griffin Mendel, who helped Team West defeat Team East 4-3 on Jan. 26, said it was “pretty fun” to play in the game.

“It’s always fun going to those type of events,” said Mendel, adding that seeing skill levels from other leagues is cool.

Players didn’t shy away from taking the body.

“Yeah, I got a few good hits in,” said Mendel, who did test skates before the game. “You want to go showcase yourselves. You are going to go play your own game.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The husband wife team of Brett Turner and Olivia Fobert are the bakers and makers behind Joy Road Catering who are opening up a pop up bakeshop this May in the former Craft Kitchen. (Facebook)
Pop-up bakeshop opening in downtown Penticton

Joy Road Catering’s Bakeshop will be offering breads, pastries, lunch bowls and a marketplace

Students from Summerland’s Okanagan College often posed for photographs on the Big Rock. The rock was on the northern slope of Giant’s Head Mountain. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Summerland’s Big Rock had been desposited during last ice age

Rock was once a prominent feature on Giant’s Head Mountain

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

(Stock photo)
EDITORIAL: The freedom to read

Books have been challenged many times in the past

The Penticton Speedway has been sold but the investment group who bought it is planning to create an enhanced racetrack and racing experience. (File photo)
Penticton Speedway sold and staying as a racetrack

Investment group that includes founder of Area 27 intends to buy the Speedway

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Highway 5 pictured at Zopkios Southbound, Feb. 25 morning. (DriveBC)
Winter storm warning issued for Coquihalla, Highway 3

Up to 30 cm of snow expected by Friday (Feb. 26) morning

Pivot Rx is a new downtown Vernon pharmacy that aims to combine face-to-face care with the latest technological offerings in pharmaceutical care. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
New Vernon pharmacy takes ‘old-school’ approach to cutting-edge care

Pivot Rx has set up shop downtown in a building formerly home to MacKay’s Prescriptions for 40 years

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off of Deep Creek Road on Sunday, Feb. 21. The buildings were believed to have been used as part of a cannabis growing operation, and RCMP are investigating. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off of Deep Creek Road on Sunday, Feb. 21. The buildings were believed to have been used as part of a cannabis growing operation, and RCMP are investigating. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Shuswap firefighters responding to structure blaze find cannabis grow operation

RCMP investigating, attempting to track down owner of property

Most Read