Jared Nash says the Penticton Vees must treat Wednesday’s game against the Trail Smoke Eaters like a Game 7.
“I think when we do that, we’re a pretty hard team to beat,” said the Vees forward.
The teams last played in Trail at Cominco Arena, where the Smoke Eaters won 5-3. Nash said he felt their attitude going in was very complacent. Nash also said they need to match the Smoke Eaters’ physicality.
“What we really need to focus on is just not getting caught up in their game so much,” said Nash. “We can’t back down from them either.”
Nash, who plays a physical style and doesn’t back away from anyone, said he loves playing against the Smoke Eaters.
“I know what’s going to come,” he said. “I will be a key part in winning with my presence.”
The Smoke Eaters (16-16-2-0) come into the South Okanagan Events Centre having lost their last two games, 4-3 to Cowichan Valley and 6-2 against the Vernon Vipers. Trail native and former Smoke Eater Riley Brandt struck for two goals and an assist on Saturday. With the win, Vernon takes sole possession of second place in the division while Trail falls into third spot, two points back of the Vipers. The Trail Daily Times reported the basement isn’t that far of a fall for a Trail team that has struggled of late, winning just once in its last five games.
The Vees (26-5-1-0) meanwhile earned a 5-1 win over the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Saturday. Grant Cruikshank scored twice. Mat Robson stopped 20 shots for his 21st win.
Nash chooses Seawolves
Nash joins the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves in 2018-19.
He said a big weight comes off his shoulders in securing a scholarship. While visiting the campus, Nash felt comfortable immediately.
“It kind of has that outdoorsy feel. The people are very personable,” said Nash, who loves to fish, hunt and hike. “I think the main thing was that I felt comfortable when I was there.”
The UAA Seawolves hockey program has been in existence since 1979 and they’re a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Conference. The Seawolves are coached by Matt Thomas who’s in his fourth season as the program’s head coach. Their roster this year features 10 BCHL alumni, including former Vees Cam Amantea (sophomore) and Olivier Mantha (junior). The Seawolves have made three NCAA Tournament appearances in their history, all in a three-year span from 1990 to 1992.
Nash is in his first season with the Vees and sits 11th in team scoring with two goals and 12 points in 30 games; his 10 assists are sixth-most on the team. Prior to joining the Vees, the Stratford, Ont., native played for his hometown Stratford Cullitons in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL). Last year Nash finished second in team scoring with 19 goals and 62 points in 45 regular season games. He added another 26 points in 21 playoff games.