VIDEO: Vees’ Bast has a blast in his return

Penticton Vees defenceman Gabe Bast plays a key role in his team's overtime win over the Merritt Centennials on Nov. 19.



Gabe Bast pumped his arms after he bombed a shot past Merritt Centennials goalie Colten Lancaster.

It was the equalizer for the Penticton Vees with 20 seconds remaining in regulation time at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Nov. 19.

“I just buried my head and ripped the puck,” said Bast.

The timing jacked him up.

“Absolutely. We’re a team that prides itself on winning at home,” said Bast as the Vees won 3-2 in overtime. “We were on the verge of losing two there. We found a way and got it done.”

Bast was also excited as it was his first goal in nearly a year and a half. He missed 21 games this season to injury.

READ MORE: Penticton Vees get D-man Gabe Bast back

“It was pretty special,” he said.

Bast returned to the lineup on Nov. 18 in Coquitlam, where the Vees won and are now 21-4-0 on the season and are the fourth best team in the Canadian Junior Hockey League. Bast said his two games were unreal.

“It’s tough watching,” he said. “Being on the ice contributing, helping the teammates get the big four points this weekend was awesome.”

Bast looked good at home and said he felt good, but added there are some kinks in his game he needs to work on, such as his timing, handling the puck and recognizing guys in the D-zone. He knows it will come.

Saturday was also the debut for Jamie Armstrong, who the Vees picked up from the U.S. Hockey League. Bast said he is a great guy and a hard worker.

“I think he will bring a huge physical element to our team,” said Bast. “Coach Fred (Harbinson) has been harping on us, being more physical and our work ethic. I think he brings both of those.”

Bast believes the current group brings that gritty side, but maybe weren’t showing it enough or executing.

Harbinson liked what he saw of his new addition, which involved trading Ben Brar to the Prince George Spruce Kings for future considerations.

“He plays hard. He competes hard. That’s all I ask,” said Harbinson. “I thought he had two really good games.”

Harbinson said the move is part of tweaking the roster at the best of their ability to be ready for a deep playoff run that includes them hosting the Western Canada Cup and they hope a shot at the RBC Cup.

Armstrong has enjoyed his time with the Vees thus far, especially in helping them pick up two wins. He said he played strong and plans to bring more grit and play hard-nosed style.

“I like my play down low. Bring pucks to the net, a little scoring,” he said.

During Saturday’s game, the BCHL debuted video review. The league issued a statement saying video reviews were made available for determining whether a puck crossed the goal line. A qualified BCHL official manages the review process if it is needed.

“At the end of the day, we’re just trying to get it right,” said Brad Lazarowich, the BCHL’s director of officiating in a press release. “It benefits the fans, the teams and the BCHL; moving forward this is a great direction for the BCHL to go.”

There will be no video-replay reviews of goals resulting from high sticks, kicking motions or if the puck crossed the line before the buzzer. Those situations will still have to be decided upon by the on-ice officials. Any replay will only be for determining whether or not a puck crossed the goal line.

“This is an initiative brought through the league board of governors in its continuing effort to improve the quality of our game,” said BCHL commissioner John Grisdale. “The idea came forward at our 2016 annual general meeting and Penticton was the team most interested in pursuing it.”

The varying degree of technology and resources available at each BCHL arena made it unrealistic at this time to mandate league-wide implementation of video review. The BCHL will be following the process in Penticton and reporting back to the board of governors on its progress.