Vees on the Other Side of a Comeback

GAME RECAP 

  • Saturday’ started a lot like Friday, as the West Kelowna Warriors grabbed the lead courtesy of Jonathan Desbiens (his name will pop up a few times in this post). The goal was a result of the Vees not boxing-out Desbiens down by the net, as he jumped all over a rebound off a shot from the blue-line. Simple mistake this time of year, as the coaches are still teaching positional stuff and the first goal showed there is still more work to be done. Hey, that’s why there’s training camp and pre-season games.
  • That goal actually seemed to focus the Vees, as they turned up the pressure in the Warriors end and eventually tied it up five-minutes later. The tying goal came after some nice work by the line of Liam Finlay, Mitch Newsome and Neil Robinson. Finlay and Robinson broke into the zone on a odd-man rush but the play never materialized. However, Finlay alertly got the puck back and quickly fired it up to the blue-line. The biscuit found its way to Gabe Bast, who on a savvy play, intentionally fired a low slap-shot allowing Newsome to redirect it past Scott Patton.
  • Bast and Connor Russell were on the ice for the first goal against but they rebounded nicely after that, as from there on out they were arguably the Vees steadiest defensive pairing. Both looked pretty good in their own end throughout the game and I didn’t notice them and I mean that in a good way; steady.
  • Lewis Zerter-Gossage continues to impress. He grabbed the lead for the Vees late in the first when he and Jack Ramsey teamed up for another goal. Saturday it was Zerter-Gossage turning goal-scorer and Ramsey turning play-maker. They connected for a goal Friday too. Nice vision by Ramsey to thread the needle and find Zerter-Gossage up the middle and behind the defense. Zerter-Gossage let got a well placed wrist-shot just inside the post on the far blocker-side of the Warriors Scott Patton.
  • After an early goal against, credit to the Vees for turning it on in the first and coming out of the period with a 2-1 lead on the road.
  • Things opened up in the second period as both teams started to trade chances. The game really had a good flow in the middle period, as the two team were going back and forth from one end to the other. Liam Finlay padded the Vees lead early in the middle frame and he showed some good hockey IQ on the play. Finlay used the defender as a screen and from the slot, fired a low shot off the base of the post and past Scott Patton on the blocker side.
  • It looked good for the Vees, up 3-1 early in the second and creating plenty of opportunities. But that’s the main point I take away from the loss, was the inability of the Vees to finish off the Warriors. They had their chances, there was plenty of them in the second but they just couldn’t get that one extra goal to put the game  out of reach. Credit the Warriors for not allowing the Vees to get a three-goal lead, as Scott Patton and their defense found a way to keep them within striking distance.
  • One significant momentum shift in the game was the quick response by the Warriors after the Vees third goal. Took them all of 32 seconds to make it a one-goal game again. How much different would the game have looked, if the Vees could have nursed that 3-1 lead longer? Anyways, Brett Mennear went cross-bar and down over Barry’s shoulder after a nice setup by Neil Aird. West Kelowna quickly snuffed out any momentum the Vees would have had and it seemed to turn the tide in their favour.
  • Another key moment in the second was a big breakaway save by Scott Patton on Cody DePourcq. With the Vees up 3-2, DePourcq was sent in on a breakaway from the blue-line but Patton denied the Vees forward with a nice right-pad save. Now, if that had gone in, we would be looking at a 4-2 Vees lead late in the second. Big save by their goaltender to keep his team close and that save proved to be key.
  • Before the clock ran out on the second, Jonathan Desbiens struck again, as he turned on the jets and broke down the right-wing with serious speed. He caught the Vees defender flat-footed and put his shot upstairs on the short-side over Barry’s glove with just 12 seconds remaining in the second. A bit of a deflating moment for the Vees, as they were 12 seconds away from taking a 3-2 lead into the second intermission. Just going back to that DePourcq breakaway, we’re talking inches away from a two goal swing. 3-3 instead of 4-2.
  • The third period followed a similar script to the second, as again it had a good pace to it and both teams skated up and down the ice. Just like in the second, the Vees had plenty of chances to reclaim the lead, as they were constantly around the Warriors net. Numerous times in the third saw the Vees would break in off the rush, get a good shot off, create a promising rebound but not able to capitalize. They were around the net a lot, pucks bouncing and dancing in the crease on near misses or failed tap-ins but they just couldn’t get it to settle and go in. A large reason for the frustration in the scoring areas was the fact the Warriors collapsed all five players between the dots in their own zone. Time and again, they threw everyone in front of the puck, as there was always a wall of defenders between the puck and the goal.
  • West Kelowna broke the deadlock late in game and it involved some puck luck. Kyle Marino let go a point-shot that was inadvertently tipped a Vees defenseman and up and over Barry’s blocker with just over four-minutes left in the third. Tough break. 70 seconds later, Desbiens completed the hat-trick after he chipped the puck past the last Vees defender at the West Kelowna blue-line. Once on the breakaway he quickly snapped it over Barry’s blocker who showed poke-check. It took just 70 seconds to go from possible overtime to a two-goal Warriors win.

 

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Pre-Season: Vees-Warriors Round 2

Cherie Morgan Photography

Cherie Morgan Photography

The Penticton Vees and West Kelowna Warriors play the back half of a weekend home-and-home set at Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna tonight. The Vees took care of business on home ice Friday, scoring a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Tribe.

The Vees have made a few line-up changes for tonight’s contest. Neil Robinson, celebrating his 19th birthday and Connor Russell draw into the line-up. The Vees will be scratching Cam Amantea, Demico Hannoun and Mike Lee. Brendan Barry gets the start in goal, after Hunter Miska stopped 23 of 25 Friday in the win.

I will have an audio-only broadcast tonight, starting at 6:45pm and you can listen HERE. Earlier in the week, there was grumblings the Warriors were going to do a Fasthockey PPV broadcast and if that’s the case, I’ll be supplying my audio for that as well. I’ll have another post-game wrap tonight with audio from the coaching staff and players.

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Pre-Season: Vees Rally to Slip Past Tribe

Cherie Morgan Photography

Cherie Morgan Photography

(Lewis Zerter-Gossage navigating his way through traffic)

GAME RECAP 

POST-GAME AUDIO

Assistant Coach Nick Fuher 

Lewis Zerter-Gossage

  • Can you chalk up a “character” win in pre-season? If not, the Vees came the closest as they possibly could. Friday was the first pre-season game for this group and at home; there were some nerves early. They shook those off as the game grew older and by the third period you could see the chemistry start to build. As the saying goes, “It’s not how you start but how you finish.”
  • Excuse me for one second as I put my Vees-coloured glassed on, but despite going down 2-0 in the first, the Vees didn’t play all that bad. The first goal against came while they were down a man and it was the result of a juicy rebound. Smart by Liam Blackburn to find that soft spot in coverage and skate into a position to corral the rebound off the pad of Hunter Miska. The second Warriors goal was the result of some rotten luck for Miska. He makes a great first save but the rebound trickles down his paraphernalia and gets lost in his feet. Kylar Hope was in the perfect spot, as he was the first to spot the loose biscuit and he poked it over the line to double West Kelowna’s lead. West Kelowna was an opportunistic bunch in that opening twenty-minutes. Hey, the Warriors had good spells in the Vees zone but it wasn’t like they were up a pair and about to run the Vees out of the building. You had a feeling going into the second the Vees were going to get it going.
  • Before those two West-K tallies, Lewis Zerter-Gossage almost and I mean ALMOST, put the Vees ahead early. He found himself open in the right-circle and his shot got underneath Andy Desautels arm but it hit the fat part of the post on the far-side and stayed out. Zerter-Gossage would make more noise later.
  • What else did I like in the first? Tyson Jost looked to have eyes in the back of his helmet at times. There was a couple of instances where he fired crisp tape-to-tape passes in high traffic areas. Two stood out to me and both were to Cody DePourcq and both were great scoring chances. On both occasions the puck jumped over DePourcq’s stick, because I think even he was a bit surprised at the accuracy and strength of Jost’s passes. One play had Jost circling up to the blue-line before spinning a cross-body pass back down-low to DePourcq in the left-circle, who got crossed up nullifying a one-timer chance. The other was on the Vees lone power-play in the first where Jost fired a cross-crease bullet to DePourcq at the back-post but that too just didn’t click. I kept putting stars besides Jost’s name on Friday, as he seemed to be always doing something.
  • The other 16-year-old had some great moments too. Dante Fabbro looked confident carrying the puck and had a couple of nice forays into the West Kelowna zone. He’s such an effortless skater, in the sense he’s off and running in just a couple of strides. Once he gets more comfortable, he’ll be a guy that will be a handful once he finds open ice.
  • I also had a few stars besides Gabe Bast’s name. He was a noticeable physical presence on the Vees blue-line. He wasn’t shy about throwing his weight around and played tough around his net. On more than one occasion he was leaning on guys as he would angle them to the boards or he was putting a shoulder into someone just off the crease. One play in the first that caught my eye was when he was caught flat-footed by Adam Osczevski. Osczevski  looked to have a clear-cut breakaway but Bast had great closing speed and muscled Osczevski off the puck just enough, to snuff out any scoring chance. I keep getting reminded of Troy Stecher when I see Bast play.
  • Riley Alferd, who only had one assist tonight, was more than deserving of his first star recognition. He had like what? 45 scoring chances? He hit two posts and setup that Mitch Newsome breakaway goal, that seemed to turn the tide. He was everywhere tonight and he had something going with line-mates Jack Ramsey and Zerter-Gossage. The three combined for a goal and three points. Alferd had a redirect that looked to glance off the outside of the post and then he danced down the middle of the Warriors zone, before clanging his wrist-shot off the cross-bar. Is there anyone who’s been more snake-bitten than Alferd going back to last season?
  • Nice to see, what is penciled in as the Vees top-line, generate the game-winning goal. Patrick Newell and Demico Hannoun played pitch-and-catch down the right-wing before Newell wired a wrist-shot for the game-winner. Hannoun had a few bursts down the right-wing that made West Kelowna sweat in this one.
  • That Newell wrist-shot was sure deceptive. Shot off his stick like a rocket.
  • That third Vees goal doesn’t happen without Steen Cooper. Officially he didn’t get an assist but he practically manufactured the goal with a superb back-check just inside his own blue-line. Cooper wrestled the puck away from the Warriors forward and quickly threw it up ice to Newell, and he and Hannoun took it the rest of the way. That play by Cooper was a payoff from the time he spent in the gym this summer. He packed on more muscle and that extra strength came in handy.
  • So, Lewis Zerter-Gossage. He was buzzing tonight. The one play everyone was taking about was his between-the-legs scoop shot he pulled on his breakaway rush in the second. He streaked down the right-wing, stepped around the defender and as he cut across the goal, he pulled the puck back between his legs. It was identical to what Tomas Hertl pulled off last year with San Jose. Zerter-Gossage was stopped and it was only because of a f a glove save by Any Desautels. That was an eye-popping move but just as good was the save to keep Zerter-Gossage off the highlight reel. “LZG” did setup the game-winner, as he burned the defender wide on the left-wing and as he was going to go around the net, he threw the puck back out front to a streaking Jack Ramsey. That’s some great vision and poise for Zerter-Gossage to sling the puck back above the goal-line to Ramsey for the one-touch goal.

Tomorrow the two teams go at it again but this time the scene shifts to Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna. I’ll have an audio-only broadcast on the internet and you can listen to that right HERE (www.mixlr.com/penticton-vees). The plan is to go on the air at 6:45pm with a pre-game, followed by play-by-play at 7pm.

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Pre-Season: Vees Host West K (Line-Up + Audio)

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GAME ROSTERS: PEN-WK

The Penticton Vees host the West Kelowna Warriors at the SOEC tonight in their first home exhibition game. This is the first opportunity for fans to see this year’s squad, as last Saturday the Vees iced a “Prospects” team in Vernon.

Prior to tonight’s clash, I caught up with Co-Captain Patrick Sexton as we chatted about Main Camp and tonight’s pre-season debut.

 

There’s no Vees broadcast of tonight’s game but West Kelowna’s Kyle Anderson will have a radio broadcast on WDCR community radio. You can find the online stream HERE.

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HockeyNow BCHL Preview

Hockey Now

HOCKEYNOW magazine published a preview article on the 2014-2015 BCHL season. Writer Steven Maisey runs down each of the three divisions (Interior, Island and Mainland), gives his five players to watch this season and he looks into his crystal ball, predicting the two Fred Page Cup Finalists.

READ HERE 

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Cooper Rounds Out Captaincy

Cooper will be adding an "A" to his sweater this season

Cooper will be adding an “A” to his sweater this season

The Penticton Vees put the finishing touches on their leadership group for the upcoming season today by naming Steen Cooper an Assistant Captain. Cooper joins Co-Captains Cody DePourcq and Patrick Sexton and fellow Assistant Jack Ramsey.

“Coop” came to camp this summer in excellent shape, adding noticeable muscle to his frame and his foot speed has significantly improved compared to last season. He’s also had a great attitude since day one this year, taking a leadership role throughout informal workouts and through the Vees Main Camp. He’s a guy that a lot of the fresh faces can look up to as he’s that classic “lead by example” type. The Vees except big things out of the returning forward and if the early stages of the season are any indication, he’s on track to reach those goals.

Press Release: 

The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Hockey Club is pleased to announce Steen Cooper has been named an Assistant Captain for the 2014-2015 season. Cooper joins Co-Captains, Cody DePourcq and Patrick Sexton along with fellow Assistant Captain, Jack Ramsey, as part of the Vees leadership group.

 

President, General Manager and Head Coach Fred Harbinson says Cooper is an obvious choice to wear a letter, “Steen already has three seasons of experience under his belt and clearly understands what it takes to be successful at the junior ‘A’ level.”

 

Cooper, who turns 19 in November, returns for his second season with the Vees after coming over from the Cowichan Valley Capitals midway through the 2013-2014 season. The Duncan, BC, product had six goals and 23 points in 30 regular season games with Penticton last year. Between the Vees and Capitals, Cooper amassed nine goals and 41 points in 57 regular season games. Cooper finished fourth in team playoff scoring last spring and tied for second in goals with five in 11 playoff games.

 

Cooper brings plenty of experience to the table as he’s entering his fourth season in the BCHL and was also a member of Team Canada West at the 2013 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, last November. In 161 career regular season games, Cooper has accumulated 24 goals and 91 points. Cooper is set to embark on his collegiate career next fall at Minnesota State Mankato.

 

The Vees first exhibition home game is this Friday, September 5th, when they host the West Kelowna Warriors at the SOEC; puck drop is 7pm. Exhibition tickets are just $5 for all ages and are available at the Valley First Box Office at the SOEC.

 

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“Young Vees” Drop Pre-Season Opener

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A youthful Penticton Vees squad opened their BCHL exhibition schedule with 5-3 loss at Kal-Tire Place in Vernon on Saturday.

 

The Vees young prospects made a significant impact on the game. 17-year-old Adam Sinclair (St. Andrews College) led the way offensively for the Vees, picking up a pair of goals. 16-year-old Jesse Lansdell (Yale Hockey Academy) scored the only other Vees goal.

 

15-year-old Penticton product Shane Farkas started in goal and was rock solid, stopping 29 of 31 Vernon shots in thirty-minutes of work. One of his best stops was denying a Vernon breakaway in the opening moments of the second period.

 

Vernon opened the scoring 2:50 into the first period as Matthew Jallabert tapped-in a puck at the side of the net. The Vees were on their heels in the first, as Vernon fired 22 shots on the Vees net.

 

Penticton found its legs in the second, as Jesse Lansdell drew the Vees level after finishing off a pretty passing play 7:20 into the middle stanza. Lansdell, Chase Stevenson (OHA Bantam) and Tak Anholt (Yale Hockey Academy) orchestrated a slick series of passes down-low in the Vernon zone.

 

Vernon regained the lead not long after the Vees drew level, when defenseman Cameron Trott’s heavy point-shot found its way over Shane Farkas glove; the goal coming just as the Vees penalty had expired.

 

Just like with the first Vernon goal, the Vees had an answer for the go-ahead marker by Trott. Late in the second, Sinclair scored his first of two at 17:36, when Nicholas Wilson (Surrey Bantam) spotted him at the top of the Vipers crease from behind the net.

 

Vernon pulled ahead once again just seventy-six seconds in the third period courtesy of Branden Saretsky shoving the puck in at the near-post.  Jackson Nauss extended the Vipers lead at 2:58 when he put the finishing touches on a tick-tack-toe passing play.

 

The Vees made it a one-goal game five-minutes later, as Sinclair again found himself with the puck at the top of the Vipers crease; Nathan Iannone threading the needle to Sinclair from behind the goal-line.

 

However, Vernon put the game out of reach 9:30 into the third period courtesy of a sharp-angled shot by Mackenzie Bauer on the right-wing.

Final Score: 5-3 Vernon

Shots: 46-19 Vernon

Three Stars: 1) Branden Saretsky 2) Adam Sinclair [PEN] 3) Logan Geefs

The Vees exhibition schedule continues next weekend, when they tangle with the West Kelowna Warriors in a home-and-home set. The Vees host the Tribe at the SOEC on Friday, September 5th; face-off is 7pm. Tickets are just $5 and available at the Valley First Box Office at the SOEC.

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