First-year Penticton Vees’ captain David Silye has a couple of scores to settle when the club makes its way across the Strait of Georgia for a pair of B.C. Hockey League games on Vancouver Island this weekend.
In game one, on Saturday, Silye and teammates are heading to the Cowichan Community Centre, the same place where the host Capitals eliminated the Vees in a first-round playoff upset last March.
“You don’t like losing and when you do, it just kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth,” said Silye, 20, of Arnprior Ont. who collected a career-high 60 points in the regular season last year. “For me personally, avenging that loss from last year and giving the fans something they deserve and missed out on is the goal (of winning a championship).
“It’s definitely a revenge game for us and the guys that weren’t here last year we’ve got to make sure they know how much this game means. We’ll be ready.”
Silye was named captain just prior to the start of this season and is already on a point-and-a-half tear with six points in four Vees victories so far this season.
Penticton’s second game Sunday in Nanaimo is also an easy one for the captain to bring his best to the Frank Crane Arena, place where he played two seasons with the Clippers prior to coming to the Vees in an off-season trade in June 2018.
“For me personally, it’s just wanting to prove something against them — being my old coach and stuff, it’s an easy game to get up for it’s just the kind of thing that gives you the determination to win, wanting to win,” said Silye, who is committed to Clarkson University in New York after this season.
“We’ve got some very motivating games ahead of us this weekend,” said Penticton head coach and GM Fred Harbinson. “Cowichan, it’s pretty simple to see what the motivation is there and we lost a tough game in Nanaimo that was three and three (regular-season games) and a little bit of bad blood there, so it should be two good ones to get us ready for our home opener.”
The Vees don’t play their first game at the South Okanagan Event Centre until Sept. 27 when the West Kelowna Warriors will be in town for the first of a home-and-home two-game series.
And so far the coach likes what he sees.
“We’re two days away from a month in when we started training camp the guys the attitudes been really good. A lot of people look at wins, but for me, they don’t get to see the inner workings,” said Harbinson. “The guys have been working really hard and they’re really engaged in what we’re trying to accomplish here. They are really coming together as a team.”
He added being on the road for the first half dozen games has helped with team bonding, with everyone being in close proximity on the bus and in the hotel rooms.
When local fans finally do get to see the team in action, the coach thinks they’ll very much like what they see.
“We’re a well-rounded team. Last year was tough, I think there were 11 games all last year where we played with 12 forwards and right now we have four forward lines that are kind of buzzing coming in waves and our speed will create difficulties for the opposition,” said Harbinson. “Our back end is very big and again it’s a challenge to get to our net and we’ve got two goaltenders who are showing they’re capable of being starters in this league.”
Netminders Yaniv Perets and Derek Krall have split the duties, each having won a pair of games.
Game time Saturday in Cowichan is 6 p.m. and Sunday’s game in Nanaimo is a matinee start at 2 p.m.