Vees back in the Interior

Colton Davies

Winners of 10 straight games and coming off a pair of wins on Vancouver Island, the Penticton Vees will look to push their streak further this week with three divisional games.

The Vees host the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Wednesday and the West Kelowna Warriors on Friday, before visiting the Vernon Vipers on Saturday.

Penticton's current win streak was nearly thwarted on Nov. 24, five games ago, when the Vees earned a narrow 3-2 overtime win at home against the Silverbacks.

Salmon Arm scored late in the third period that night to send that game past regulation. Vees head coach and general manager Fred Harbinson is looking for a better performance from his club this time around.

"I thought it was kind of a sluggish game, and I think they created a lot of it by playing a real structured and smart road game on their part," Harbinson said.

"We can't have any excuses, it doesn't matter who's out of the lineup, it's the guys that are in."

Defensemen Jonny Tychonick, Ryan O'Connell and Luke Reid have been in Calgary since Saturday, trying out for Team Canada West ahead of this month's World Junior A Challenge in Truro, Nova Scotia. 

Both Tychonick and O'Connell made that team for the tournament that runs from Dec 10-16, the Vees announced on Tuesday afternoon. Reid will return to the Vees this week.

Penticton enters play on Wednesday on the heels of three hard-earned wins last week.

They blanked the visiting West Kelowna Warriors 3-0 at home on Nov. 29. Adam Scheel made 33 saves in the win, during a personal shutout streak that lasted just over 160 minutes — more than eight periods worth in playing time. 

Penticton followed that up with a 2-1 win in Nanaimo against the Clippers on Friday — a team vying for top-spot in the Island division.

"We told our guys that it was going to be a playoff-style game, and it definitely lived up to that making," Harbinson said.

Finally, the Vees rolled into Alberni Valley and earned a 5-2 win over the Bulldogs.

Harbinson liked his team's response after a slow start to that game. The Vees outshot the Bulldogs 31-12 in the final two periods.

"It was more of a hurricane than a storm in the first couple minutes... We dodged a bullet," he said. "We had a lot of goals around the net. I thought we were competing real hard throughout that game."

As the Christmas break nears on the B.C. Hockey League schedule, Harbinson expects his club to get up for this week's contests and hopes to enter the holidays on a high note.

"We've only got five games left before Christmas break, so we want to put our best product on the ice."

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