Skating, skating and more skating.
That was practice for the Penticton Vees Monday afternoon. There was an added twist though.
“I’ve never done any pushups or sit-ups while other guys are skating,” said Vees defenceman Robert Mann, adding they deserved the tough skate following a 4-1 loss to the Chilliwack Chiefs on Saturday.
Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson partly agreed putting players through various skating drills was a bit of a reflection from Saturday.
“It wasn’t about the end result,” said Harbinson. “Clearly with all the guys we had out is one thing. I wasn’t happy with some of the performances of the guys that were here. We hit the post four times, open net we missed. There was plenty of chances to create some steam for us in a positive light and we never did it.”
Harbinson also felt his players took a few shifts off. Missing captain Troy Stecher, James de Haas and top scorers Michael Rebry and Wade Murphy, who are all playing with Canada West in the World Junior A Challenge, they can’t afford that.
“It’s just not acceptable,” said Harbinson. “We just have to get their attention and get back on track. There is nothing wrong with a little hard skate once in a while. Wasn’t anything crazy. Nowadays our guys are in such good shape it’s hard to push them.”
Cody DePourcq certainly got pushed and got the message. The Vees second-year forward was feeling dizzy after.
“We didn’t execute. We’ll come back stronger next game,” said DePourcq, who has been stuck on one goal since Sept. 22, a 12-game span.
DePourcq’s missed opportunity is viewed as the turning point of the game.
“He had an open net chance to put us up 2-1,” said Harbinson. “It didn’t happen. You feel for him because he’s working his butt off. Instead, they make the save and they go back down, get a power play and score. We need some secondary scoring, there’s no question. I think Cody has played, over his last five games, his five best games of the year once we moved him to centre. It will go for him.”
Heading into Friday, Mann said they have to return to playing hard and keeping things simple, which worked for them from the start. Mann said against the Chiefs they had tough mental lapses that were costly.
“Overall, we didn’t play that bad,” he said. “We can definitely be better though that’s for sure.”
Vees notes: Rookie forward Dexter Dancs has been selected for the 2012 Canadian Junior Hockey League Prospects Games. Dancs will play for Team West in a two-game miniseries versus Team East November 10 11 in Digby and Yarmouth, N.S.
“Dexter is a budding talent, who has the tools to develop into an effective power-forward in the BCHL,” said Harbinson in a release. “Dexter being picked to play in the Prospects Game shows he is among the top draft-eligible players in the CJHL.”
Dancs, 17, has two goals and four points in 17 games for the Vees this season. The North Vancouver product appeared in 15 games last season as an AP. The CJHL Prospect Games were created to showcase the top 40 NHL prospects in the CJHL. The Prospects Games feature players from the five western CJHL leagues going head-to-head with players from the CJHL’s five eastern leagues. Dancs is one of seven players from the BCHL selected to Team West that will compete for the President’s Cup, which is awarded to the winning team at each CJHL Prospects Game. The two-game series is held in conjunction with the 2012 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Yarmouth.