Coach wants Vees to battle

It wasn’t that the Penticton Vees lost 3-2 to the Vernon Vipers on Friday that disappointed coach-GM Fred Harbinson, it was the way it happened.

It wasn’t that the Penticton Vees lost 3-2 to the Vernon Vipers on Friday that disappointed coach-GM Fred Harbinson, it was the way it happened.

Players weren’t battling for pucks and they spotted the Vipers a 2-0 lead. By Saturday, the Vees turned their play around withBradley Robbins opening the scoring with his first career BCHL. The Vipers responded with four unanswered tallies. So while the Vipers sent the Vees home without two points, Harbinson felt they competed hard.

“We took the physical play to Vernon,” said Harbinson. “We were good on our forecheck, we played in their end a lot. We were Stronger on our sticks. We made one mistake and it ended up in the back of our net. We would get three chances on them and find a way not to score.”

Robbins, who said it was amazing to get his first goal, explained it has been an adjustment playing junior A from high school as he came over from Shattuck St. Mary’s, the same school which has helped developed NHL stars such as Zach Parise and Sidney Crosby.

“It’s a little more higher level, faster,” said Robbins. “It takes some getting used to but Fred is a great coach.”

In competing harder, Robbins feels he has shown improvement. With five games in six days, which started with a meeting at home against Prince George on Tuesday, Robbins said they need to start each game hard.

“We have lacked that in the past,” he said. “Battle and play as a team and remember everything Freddy told us through systems, getting the puck in deep and hitting.”

Rookie Joey Benik, another recruit from US high school hockey, assisted on Robbins goal. He said the jump to junior A is a “huge step.”

“Talent wise and the size of guys are a pretty big differences as well,” said Benik, who has two assists in four games. “Those three areas are probably the biggest adjusting to. Once you get a few games in, your confidence will go up a little bit and you get comfortable. It’s been a lot of fun so far.”

Benik felt the team bounced back well from Friday and said they just need to continue playing hard as a team. One of the things he wants to work on to help the Vees is his defensive play.

“I have to be real smart in the defensive zone,” he said. “One thing I could work on is finishing my checks.”

As for his first dose of playing against the Vipers, Benik loved it.

“I heard a lot about it before the season and during the season,” said the 18-year-old from Andover, Minn. “It’s a lot of fun playing Vernon. I look forward to playing them again this year.”

During the weekend, the Vees added 19-year-old blueliner Lane Werboski to the mix. Harbinson said he looked strong in his debut on Saturday.

“He’s another guy that’s going to get acclimated here and used to what we’re doing,” said Harbinson of Werbowski, who played in the WHL with the Edmonton Oil Kings and Tri-City Americans.

During the weekend, the Vees lost veteran forward Joey Holka with a lower body injury. He could be out for a while.

“With him and Macmillan out it’s definitely a blow,” said Harbinson, who will bring in some affiliate players to help.

Penticton Vees netminder Joey Rumpel locks his glove over the puck as Viper Steve Weinstein follows through on his shot by crashing into the Vees’ goal.

Just Posted

Take an Old Bag to Tea Okanagan hospital trauma room fundraiser

A special fundraising event is June 9 to help equip the trauma room of the new David E. Kampe Tower

Minnesota standout latest signing for Okanagan BCHL squad

Liam Malmquist of Minnesota coming to Vees for 2019/2020 season

Early-morning fire destroys Okanagan packing house

Cause of fire that destroyed an Oliver packing house remains under investigation.

Trail played role during fur trade era

Fur Brigade Trail in Okanagan has long history

Video: Third annual Ellis on the Rise brings joy to community

The block party was hosted by the Downtown Penticton Association and Ellis Street business owners

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

Nominate your favourite businesses for the Best of the South Okanagan

Join the Penticton Western News as they celebrate the Best of the South Okanagan awards

KFD, COSAR rescue injured Okanagan hiker

Rescue happened after 1 p.m. on Lost Lake Trail in Kelowna after woman injured her leg

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Neighbours help save Okanagan garage fire from spreading

Neighbours knock down fire enough before BX-Swan Lake firefighters arrive to fully extinguish

UBC researchers want to hear from rural residents on health care

Once completed, the project will inform health care planning and policy decisions

Kamloops RCMP investigate violent home invasion

Police believe the incident was targeted

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

Most Read