Record-setters on Terriers' menu
The Penticton Vees know a thing or two about pressure.
The Pacific champion reeled off a 42-game win streak from early November to mid-March, setting a new Canadian best in the process. After rolling through the BCHL playoffs by winning 12 of 15 contests, the Vees dispatched the Alberta champion Brooks Bandits in five games to advance to the RBC Cup. The Vees are scheduled to meet the Portage Terriers in a week's time on May 9.
Vees head coach Fred Harbinson recalled the record-setting streak as a wild ride.
"It was like being on a four-month playoff run, to be honest," said Harbinson. "When it all started off, you really didn't think much of it. Our last game before the Christmas break was our 18th in a row and it broke a franchise record.
"Right when we got back from Christmas break and it started to get into the 20s, it became kind of a focal point around town, around the league."
The Vees broke the league record with their 29th win in a row, and later, the North American record at 42, which broke the record of 40 set by two Ontario clubs. The chase became a national story, but Harbinson said his charges were able to shrug off the attention and remain focused.
"That's one thing where our guys did a great job - sticking to the business, sticking to the game plan and not getting ahead of ourselves or getting big heads over it," said Harbinson. "That's why we were able to win as many games as we did.
"When it was all said and done, we won 70 games out of 80 this year, and our guys go each game game-by-game and don't act any different now than they did at the beginning of the year."
Harbinson felt the streak helped the team adjust for what they'll face at this year's national tournament.
"We played in a lot of important games. You say 'You had all these wins. How much adversity (have you had)?', but we had all these big nights where you're trying to break a certain record and (there's a) huge crown," said Harbinson. "Whenever we've had an opportunity to break a record or close a team out, we've been able to find a way to do it.
"When you get to the RBC now, you get into those one-game shots where everything's on the line. I think we've conditioned ourselves to be able to play in those moments."
For more, please see Tuesday's edition of the Portage Daily Graphic.