David Silye goes in for a scoring attempt in the Vees 3-1 pre-season win against the Merritt Centennials at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Aug. 23. The Vees have had an impressive start to their season so far, but Coach Fred Harbinson said they are keeping on an even keel with the bitter ending to last season still fresh on their minds. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Penticton Vees off to a strong start this season

Coach Fred Harbinson said the team is keeping on an even keel despite their success

Although they’re off to a phenomenal start to the season, Penticton Vees coach Fred Harbinson said his team is keeping an even keel heading into this weekend’s games.

The Vees dominated the Trail Smoke Eaters in back-to-back away games on Sept. 6 and 7 at the Trail Memorial Arena. The first night, goalie Yaniv Perets turned aside an impressive 23 out of 24 shots on net, while the offense worked hard to establish a 3-0 lead for a majority of the game. At the buzzer, Vees came out on top 4-1 and carried this momentum into the game the next night, which finished at 7-1 thanks to talented goalminding by Derek Krall and the dedicated offense.

This weekend, Penticton will be travelling first to the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena where they’ll take on the Meritt Centennials at 7 p.m. on Sept. 13. Then it’s off to Rolling Mix Concrete Arena in Prince George on Sept. 14 to challenge the Spruce Kings, with puck drop at 7 p.m.

Harbinson said it can be easy to get swept up in the excitement of how well the team is doing, but for the returning players the bitter end to last season is still fresh on their minds. The Vees 2018-19 playoff run was cut short in the first round by the Cowichan Valley Capitals, who bested the guys four out of the seven games.

READ MORE: Big offensive night helps Vees to back-to-back wins in Trail

“It’s pretty easy to keep it on an even keel right now because of the fact that we have eight or nine guys back right now from last year when we had a difficult finish to our season. Even though it’s something in the past, it’s still a little fresh,” said Harbinson. “We’re an older team too, which allowes a little bit more maturity in our approach and so I think the guys understand, no matter how good you are in September, it’s where you’re at in April and May that counts. So in one breath, we’re happy with the way we’re starting and the way we’re acting in our day to day approach, and then the other side of it is we know there’s a heck of a lot of work that has to continue for the next few months.”

Sidelining injuries have also plagued the team for the past two seasons, with Harbinson noting that they lost three significant players for the rest of the season before Christmas in both years. He said the players and coaches know that injuries are a part of the game, but with a little luck, they won’t be as prominent this year.

“You need a little bit of everything, and one of the elements to be honest is a little bit of luck. We’ll try to take care of everything else, we’ve got grit to our game and skill, and we’ve obviously shown that we can score some goals,” said Harbinson. “And we’ve got two really great goalies. So in the long run we need a little bit of puck luck and then hopefully we can stay out of the infirmary and keep moving forward.”

Harbinson said the coaching staff and team administration have spent considerable time at the beginning of this season to “get the culture back on track” with the team. An effort that seems to be paying off according to Captain David Silye, a returning Vee.

READ MORE: New exhibit added to Penticton portion of BCHL Showcase Festival

“Everyone has been putting in the work, and it’s nice to see that hard work pay off, so we’re happy with where we’re at right now,” said Silye. “We have a good core group of returning guys, and the guys they’ve brought in are experienced and good guys that fit in nicely. So it’s been a smooth transition coming off of last year.”

Silye said practices have been focusing on “the finer details of their systems” so that the team functions as a solid unit. Harbinson said they also will focus on making smart, quick passes in the games coming up since both arenas have a smaller sheet than what the guys may be used to. He said if they hold onto the puck for too long at these arenas, it can lead to a pile-up of players in one end.

The Vees first home game is Sept. 27 against the West Kelowna Warriors, and Harbinson said the team is excited to have the home ice and crowd advantage, noting that the fans are like the “seventh player.” He added that the South Okanagan Events Centre is hoping to sell some more season passes, which is a great opportunity for die-hard fans to show their support for the team and the game.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Road block was costly legal battle for Summerland

Resolving Garnet Valley dispute took six years

1955 Vees reign again at Classics hockey tourney in Penticton

The 1955 World Championship Vees took home the Moog Cup at minor hockey tournament

Coming Home: Penticton fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

World champion snowmobile racer seeks public’s help after dirt bikes were stolen in Penticton

The bikes, valued at $25,000 and $11,000, were stolen from the back of a locked truck on Sept. 12

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Urban Agriculture: Food forestry rooted in thinking of the ecosystem

Columnist dives into Okanagan urban agriculture

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Newcomer Ferland lines up with sniper Pettersson as Vancouver Canucks camp opens

Ferland provides more depth and a scoring threat up front, Pettersson says

Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: UBC professor

Professor Paul Evans says he served on Cameron Ortis’s doctoral dissertation committee

EDITORIAL: This is our election

It is up to the voting public to identify the issues in the upcoming federal election

Most Read