Strong weekend for Vees

Colton Davies

Entering play on Nov. 10 against the Vernon Vipers, the Penticton Vees had dropped three straight games in regulation — something that hasn't happened to the team in five seasons.

But the Vees bounced back in a big way in their marquee home-and-home series with the Vipers. 

Penticton out-chanced Vernon on Nov. 10 in a 2-2 tie at the SOEC, and made a statement with a 4-1 road win the following night at Kal Tire Place.

The Vees now sit 11-5-1-2 through their first 19 games, and are undefeated in four meetings with the Vipers who are 15-5-0-4 through 24 games.

Head coach and general manager Fred Harbinson said his club's preparation was strong heading into their two matchups with Vernon last week.

"We just got back to some of the basic details of the game that for whatever reason we got away from a little bit, not to make any excuses. But you could just see it," he said.

Penticton now gets set for its busiest stretch of game action so far this season, playing 12 games in the next 25 days — three games each week, for the next four weeks.

That stretch begins on Wednesday, when the Vees host the Surrey Eagles at the SOEC, a team that is having a turnaround season after missing the playoffs for three straight years.

The Vees will then visit the West Kelowna Warriors on Friday, where they suffered a 4-3 loss two weeks earlier, before hosting the league-worst Cowichan Valley Capitals on Saturday night.

"We need to try and get on a run here, starting this week with the Wednesday game... It doesn't matter who our opponent is," Harbinson said.

The Vees expect to be without Chris Klack for the long-term and Jackson Keane for the short-term, who are both out with injuries.

Penticton will have defenseman Luke Reid and forward Massimo Rizzo back in the lineup on Wednesday, after the pair had spent the past two weeks at the World U17 Challenge in northern B.C.

Rizzo and Reid represented Canada Black, one of three Canadian teams at the tournament. Their club finished seventh out of eight teams.

"You always want to try to bring gold back when you play for Team Canada, or at least medal. You sometimes learn from other things in those experiences. I think both guys are going to be better players coming back," Harbinson said of Rizzo and Reid.

"They're going to have to jump into the mix of the way we're playing from last weekend."

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