Penticton Vees forward Chris Klack is doing his best to lead by example in the playoffs. The Clarkson University commit had a point in every game against the Merritt Centennials in their BCHL playoff series leading up to Thursdays game. Mark Brett/Western News

Chris Klack-ing with teammates

Chris Klack sees himself as a playmaker.

Chris Klack sees himself as a playmaker.

“I love setting up goals,” said Klack, the Penticton Vees forward, who collected 34 assists in 58 BCHL regular season games. “That’s a big part of my game.”

He showed that side in the Vees’ 2-1 overtime win at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena on March 21 that gave the Vees a 3-1 series lead over the Merritt Centennials. Klack set up captain Nicholas Jones twice, including a heads up play early into the extra frame. Jones praised Klack’s patience in setting up the winner as he created time to allow Jones to position himself to take the puck and score. Jones said Klack has played really well in the series, even in Game 3, which they lost 5-1. Klack scored the lone goal in the final frame to spoil Jacob Berger’s shutout.

“I think he simplifies the game more,” said Jones. “He has a lot of skill. Sometimes early you want to maybe make the perfect play. He’s willing to put a shot off the pad. When he feels it’s the right play, when he has an opportunity to make a play, like he did twice last night, he made the play. He understands the situation.”

Jones said Klack as become a better situational player.

“I think that is the biggest thing,” said Jones. “He’s a good playmaker. He’s responsible in his own end.”

However, the Clarkson University commit believes he has improved in bringing a physical presence and having more of a shoot-first mentality. The coaching staff has encouraged him to shoot more. While playing a two-way role, Klack said it is about knowing when to shoot or pass.

Going into Game 5 in Penticton on Thursday, Klack collected a point in every game against the Centennials. Being a 19-year-old, Klack tries to lead by example and play his game and said in the playoffs there is excitement. Everything that happens matters more.

“It’s a do-or-die mentality. That’s what you have to have.

“You should always be excited. You should always want the puck,” continued Klack, who joined the Vees over the summer from the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the U.S. Hockey League. “You should always want to be making plays. That’s what I’m trying to do. Jonesy and (Duncan) Campbell are two great players alongside of me. It’s easy to do that with them,” The Georgetown, Ont., native said it has been huge for him to contribute like he has. He wants to do just as much defensively as he has on offence. “A big block or big PK, then I like to do that too,” he said. “When the team is winning, it’s a lot more fun.”

Vees notes: Coach Fred Harbinson picked up his 100th career playoff win in his BCHL career in Merritt on Tuesday.

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