The Penticton Vees evened the score in the second period of Game 3, as Jared Nash sneaks the puck by Trail goalie Adam Marcoux. The Smoke Eaters went on to win 4-3 in overtime. Jim Bailie/Black Press

Home ice advantages in Vees – Smoke Eaters series

Penticton Vees and Trail Smoke Eaters BCHL playoffs series tied 2-2

It was perhaps a bit of foreshadowing on his own part last week when the Penticton Vees head coach spoke of the importance of finishing in first overall.

“The regular season for us was to try and get that extra home game, if needed, as far as home ice advantage, which we got,” said head coach, general manager and president Fred Harbinson days before the second round of the BCHL playoffs started against the Trail Smoke Eaters.

Related: Respect flowing both ways in Vees-Smoke Eaters series

Fast-forward a week later and the Vees and Smokies have only won on their home barns, the best of seven series is deadlocked 2-2.

“We fought all year to make sure we get home ice, and now it is a best of three with an opportunity for that third game, if needed, to be in our own building. But for now we are concentrated on (Friday),” said Harbinson.

The Vees cruised to 5-2 and 7-2 wins last weekend in the friendly confines of the South Okanagan Events Centre. The Smoke Eaters picked up back-to-back wins in their own arena, with a 4-3 overtime win on Tuesday and a 6-3 win on Wednesday.

“This series has been about discipline, or a lack of it. There were 11 power play goals scored. We scored a handful, then they did. We have to make sure we stay out of the box and do a better job containing their top guys,” said Harbinson.

Evident in Wednesday night’s loss for the Vees when top goalscorer Owen Sillinger was served an interference penalty and a game misconduct in the first period for an altercation at the bench. The Smoke Eaters tallied two goals in the second, were backstopped by some great saves by their goalie Adam Marcoux and the Vees went into the third period in a 3-1 hole.

“It was a huge blow to lose our captain and our leading scorer on a pretty chintzy situation, a tough situation. They (Trail) were also getting some timely saves. It could have been 2-1 but Marcoux makes one heck of a save instead. We scratch, claw get to back into it and Marcoux makes an amazing save on (Chris) Klack,” said Harbinson. “But that is behind us now. They won, the series is now 2-2, and neither team has won in the opposition’s building.”

Both cities have packed their rinks, with Trail averaging 2,300 people and Penticton 3,200. A little bit different than the Vees’ first round road trip to Coquitlam where you could hear a pin drop in front of the 250-ish fans.

“One thing I will say is that the fans there make it a difficult environment to compete in. It is one of the loudest buildings I have coached in, outside of our building. They have 2,500 fans jammed in with orange towels waving and pushing their team. I hope our fans have the same response on Friday,” said Harbinson.

Now down to a best-of-three, Harbinson said it comes down to execution. With forward Nicky Leivermann sitting out for the rest of the series and Jack Barnes, who was injured in Game 2, not returning either, it gives affiliate players like Cole Shepard (Delta Academy Prep/CSSHL) a chance to step up.

“Last year we had (Cassidy) Bowes do it. We had (Massimo) Rizzo do it. Cole is an elite player, and it is no surprise he brought a lot of energy and spark to our offence for us (Wednesday) night. That’s why it is exciting to have him with us for the rest of our games this year,” said Harbinson.

Game 5 of the series takes place at the South Okanagan Events Centre on March 23 at 7 p.m. The teams then head back to Trail for Game 6 on March 24. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. If necessary, Game 7 is back at the SOEC on March 26 at 7 p.m. For the latest Vees news and playoff game scores visit www.pentictonwesternnews.com.

BCHL round up:

Related: BCHL today – Prince George avoids elimination

The Wenatchee Wild evened things up against the Vernon Vipers with a 7-1 win on Wednesday to knot that series 2-2. The teams head to Vernon on Friday for Game 5.

The Prince George Spruce Kings staved off elimination with a 4-1 win over the Surrey Eagles on Thursday. The Eagles lead the series 3-2.

The Powell River Kings are leading the Victoria Grizzlies 3-1 in their series and meet again on Friday.



kristi.patton@pentictonwesternnews.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Hundreds turn out for Singh, NDP candidate rally in Penticton

The messaging was clear, NDP “chooses you”

Thrash Wrestling hosts All the Rage international match tonight

Local wrestlers take on stars of Doutonbori Pro Wrestling from Osaka, Japan.

Penticton local looking to go pro in kickboxing in 2020

The sport will become officially legal in B.C. in just over two months

Vees fall to Vipers in overtime at the SOEC

Penticton takes on Nanaimo tonight in their double header home game weekend

Summerland holds multiple events to launch festive season

Festival of Lights, Light Up the Vines and Sip ’n’ Shop will be held in late November and December

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Letter: Candidates and social issues

Reader feels only Cannings and NDP have plans for social issues

PET OF THE WEEK: Moose still needs a home

Critteraid cat wants a nice, quiet environment

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Most Read