Sports

Vees not happy with play, not battling hard enough

PENTICTON VEES forward Matt Serratore desperately tries to get his stick on the puck while Salmon Arm SilverBacks goalie Angus Redmond reaches for it with SilverBacks captain Blake Box pressuring. The SilverBacks won that game 2-1 in the South Okanagan Events Centre, then returned home to the Shaw Centre and defeated the Vees 4-1 on Feb.8.  - Emanuel Sequeira/Western News
PENTICTON VEES forward Matt Serratore desperately tries to get his stick on the puck while Salmon Arm SilverBacks goalie Angus Redmond reaches for it with SilverBacks captain Blake Box pressuring. The SilverBacks won that game 2-1 in the South Okanagan Events Centre, then returned home to the Shaw Centre and defeated the Vees 4-1 on Feb.8.
— image credit: Emanuel Sequeira/Western News

The Penticton Vees remain atop the Interior Divison in the BCHL, but that lead has shrunk to two points.

After breaking a three-game skid with 11 goals over two games to start a streak in the win column, the Vees lost last weekend in a home-and-home series to the Salmon Arm SilverBacks, 2-1 on Saturday and 4-1 in Salmon Arm Sunday.

Vees defenceman Paul Stoykewych said the players were not happy with their effort on Saturday.

“We made too many mistakes and they capitalized,” said Stoykewych.

On Saturday, their game plan was to pepper SilverBacks goalie Angus Redmond with shots, and they did with 39.

“Right now we’re struggling to score. We’re just trying to throw everything at the net,” said Stoykewych. “Pucks have got to go in sooner or later. We had good chances on Saturday, not enough still.”

As the Vees get ready to host the Trail Smoke Eaters, who are entrenched in the division basement with nine wins in 50 games, they are also trying to forget about last Saturday. Stoyekwych said the coaching staff has them working hard in practice, which has been in the morning the last couple days. Focus has been on their efforts to battle hard.

“We really got to get a win (today) against Trail,” said Stoykewych. “We’re just going to outwork them. Outwill them.”

The 18-year-old is confident that if the Vees play their game, the result will end in their favour.

Vees forward Steen Cooper said they have been put through the paces with hard drills. Even though the Smoke Eaters are on a seven-game losing skid, Cooper insists they “know it’s not going to come easy.”

“I think that’s one thing we learned the hard way last weekend,” said Cooper. “If we try to take the easy road again, we’re going to end up with more losses.”

Contributing to the sting of losing to the SilverBacks last weekend was having a goal disallowed. Vees forward Max Coatta fired a shot that hit both posts before coming out. Had the goal counted, it would have evened things at 1-1.

Vees fans booed in disbelief at the officials. Vees coach Fred Harbinson was incensed because the officials wouldn’t ask the goal judge what he saw. The reasoning for the officials not speaking to the goal judge about plays, said Harbinson, is because they are certain about their decision.

“Our guys deserved a better fate,” said Harbinson.

BCHL commissioner John Grisdale said in an interview, “it has nothing to do with the BCHL.”

“The video shows the call was correct,” said Grisdale.

“Just so you know, we’re operating under Hockey Canada regulations — the referees have the choice to go to the goal judge or not. Whether that’s right or not or wrong, even at the NHL level, goal judges aren’t the final determining factor. The issue really is on the referees.”

Grisdale said the referees make the call and they discuss it with linesmen.

“We tried to review this, we expect them to talk to the goal judge,” he said, adding that goal judges in the past have made mistakes in calling a goal that wasn’t one.

Off the ice, season tickets for 2014-15 are now available for purchase.

The club made the announcement Monday and due to the overwhelming success of last year’s season ticket drive,they are happy to announce that pricing will remain unchanged. Season tickets are tiered in a three pricing structure, starting at $149, $169 and $199. The Vees will once again incorporate a payment plan, which offers fans the option to pay for their season tickets in six installments over a six month period. This offer expires on March. 1.

“As an organization we place a high level of importance on constantly strengthening the Vees brand,” said Vees president Fred Harbinson in a team statement. “Our commitment to our on ice product is now match by our commitment to the overall fan experience. We want everyone in Penticton to have the ability to experience the SOEC and Vees hockey.”

Current season ticket holders are encouraged to renew their season tickets and secure their seats for next season. New season ticket purchasers will be placed in a priority seat reservation sequence and can choose their seats once the renewal period ends on March 1. Renewal seats and new priority seat reservations can be secured with a $25 deposit which counts as their first payment.

For those who renew or purchase a new 2014/2015 Vees season ticket between now and March 1 can also purchase tickets for the first two games of round 1 of the 2013/2014 BCHL playoffs at a special season ticket holder price of $10 Adult/Senior and $5 Child/Student.  Purchasers will then be placed in a draw to win one of three prizes" a 50 inch Flat Screen TV courtesy of Andre’s Electronic Experts, laptop computer courtesy of Andre’s Electronic Experts and suite rental at the SOEC (14 people) for the Vees 2014/2015 Home Opener.

Once again, children and students (18 and under) receive free season tickets when parents or guardians purchase their season tickets. To renew or purchase a 2014/2015 season ticket, call Fraser Rodgers at 250-809-1390 or Laura Carleton at 250-490-6278 in the Vees office, or purchase in person at the Valley First Box Office (at the SOEC).

 

 

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