Penticton Vees coach Fred Harbinson didn’t hold back about the players’ performance in a 3-2 loss to the Trail Smoke Eaters Wednesday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Harbinson was happy with the first 40 minutes, but it was the last 20 he had issues with. The Vees surrendered a 2-0 lead starting at 11:36 of the third when Ross Armour scored going hard to the net on Mathew Robson.
“I thought we should be ashamed of ourselves on how we played in the last 20,” said Harbinson, whose team lost its first game of the 2017 BCHL season while holding a lead for two periods. “Clearly the guys thought that the game was over and they found differently. They are going to pay for it tomorrow (Thursday).”
In being one of the better defensive teams in the league, Harbinson said to close out a game like that is “absolutely uncalled for.”
After facing just six shots over two periods, Robson was peppered with 19.
“It was pretty slow the first two periods. We kind of figured it out in the third period,” said Armour, the Smoke Eaters forward who was named first star. “We got a lucky break there. It was pretty good. It was good to get two points out of it.”
“We just got out competed, outplayed. It starts from the top down,” said Harbinson. “I started seeing it in the last five minutes of the second period. Guys not being situationally aware of what was happening on the ice.”
After Armour scored, Spencer McLean evened the score 42 seconds later going to the net and banging home the rebound. Armour then buried the Vees with the winner after Mitch Meek lost control of the puck, which went to Armour who skated around Meek and deposited the puck into the net with Robson out of position.
Harbinson said the team owes its fans an apology.
“That was an embarrassing way to lose that hockey game,” he said.
When asked how his team turns it around when they face the Vernon Vipers Saturday, Harbinson said the players would find out what happens when they don’t compete.
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The Vees outshot the Smoke Eaters 10-3 in the middle frame and had a 21-6 advantage. Meek scored his second goal of the season after dekeing out Linden Marshall at 11:43. Ryley Risling and Duncan Campbell earned assists. The Vees opened the scoring, the 23rd time they have done that this season, as Risling fired the puck toward the net and it redirected off of Kyle Chernenkoff’s leg past Marshall. Campbell and newcomer Taylor Sanheim were credited with assists.
The Vees outshot the Smoke Eaters 26-25 and power plays weren’t a factor for either team. Trail went 0-for-4, while the Vees were 0-for-1.
Vees captain Nicholas Jones said the players have to learn from this when they face the Vipers.
“We had some good success in the first two periods,” he said. “I thought we played a pretty sound game for 40 minutes. You have got to be able to finish out games. That third period effort is not going to work in this league.”