Vees learn from lopsided defeat

Penticton Vees aim to regroup from disappointing defeat in Merritt

MERRITT CENTENNIALS  forward Diego Cuglietta causes problems for  Penticton Vees defenceman Patrick Sexton as he crashed into Hunter Miska. The  Centennials won their home opener against the Vees 5-0.

MERRITT CENTENNIALS forward Diego Cuglietta causes problems for Penticton Vees defenceman Patrick Sexton as he crashed into Hunter Miska. The Centennials won their home opener against the Vees 5-0.

Friday was good for the Penticton Vees as they defeated the Trail Smoke Eaters 3-1 at Cominco Arena.

Saturday was not so good.

“I thought Saturday was one of those games that you would like to forget,” said Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson of their 5-0 loss to the Merritt Centennials at Nicola Valley Arena.

The loss was the result of a “multitude of errors” said Harbinson, adding they have talked about being patient with their group.

“It’s a young team so you have to be patient with some of the guys early,” he said. “We will stick by that. We’re not going to make any excuses.”

“It’s one thing to make a mistake once or twice, but to make the same mistake three or four times it’s usually not a good thing,” continued Harbinson.

What was frustrating for the Vees coaching staff was having to watch it again on tape.

Vees goalie Hunter Miska was pulled after 41 minutes of action in which he allowed four goals on 21 shots. He said it was a tough loss for the team after being excited about their win in Trail.

“We needed to come out a little stronger than we did,” said Miska, who kicked a soccer ball with teammates in the hall of the South Okanagan Events Centre prior to workouts and video sessions. “We had a few flukers, but it happens to the best of us. We will come out strong in the next game and forget about it.”

Miska said he felt good in net making some big saves, though he said there were a couple of goals he wished to have back. Giving the Centennials success were the number of odd man rushes they created.

“Odd man rushes are tough,” said Miska. “It’s tougher for me, I have to be patient.”

Vees co-captain Patrick Sexton said the group wasn’t ecstatic about their effort. Sexton said the odd-man rushes they gave up were the result of not making smart decisions and making bad reads.

“They had a good crowd, their home opener,” said Sexton of the 1,050 fans in attendance. “The rink was buzzing. Everything in that rink happens really fast.”

Rookie defenceman Gabe Bast said it was a difficult game.

“I don’t think we brought our A game for that,” he said. “Some bounces didn’t go our way.”

“I think the No.1 thing when we watched Saturday, I just didn’t think we competed hard enough,” added Harbinson. “Taking chances at the wrong time.”

During the weekend, the Vees power play went zero-for-eight. Harbinson said it’s a work in progress early in the season.

“You can’t get too wound up with numbers,” he said. “We’re going to be changing some things around to see if we can get some better looks and better opportunities. Trying different players, different ways of running our power play.  Find what works and what doesn’t.”

This Friday the Vees will have their home opener as they host the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in the first of a home-and-home set for the weekend.