Post-Game #24: Vees Find Extra Gear in 4-1 Win

Game Recap Nov 19

GAME RECAP 

BOXSCORE 

  • The Vees have been knocked down a few times but they’ve proven they’re never out of the fight. Langley came out swinging Wednesday, the Vees took some punches, but like a savvy prize-fighter turned it around in the late rounds. Langley came at the Vees early, were aggressive on the fore-check and made a point of throwing their weight around. Langley took advantage of a miscue up ice, turned the other way and scored on a nice three-on-one rush five-minutes in. However, the Vees picked themselves up off the canvas, counter-punched with a Matt Serratore goal, then they scored three over the final two periods to deliver the standing eight count and grab their third straight win.
  • The Rivermen’s depth players, guys who are there to play a heavy game, gave the Vees some headaches early. The trio of Hunter Anderson, Dante Hahn and Ryan Coulter were a handful early and so too was the pair of Zach Masson, Matthew Graham. They all were quick on the fore-check, got below the Vees goal-line and leaned on their D. Early the Vees defense were challenged to move the puck quickly because of the physical nature of the Rivermen. But hockey is a game of adjustments and we’ve seen the Vees adjust well to what the opposition throws at them. Wednesday wasn’t any different.
  • It’s getting to be clock work, how the Vees use the first five to 10 minutes to feel out their opposition, to get a sense of what they’re doing. Then after that, as the game moves into the final two periods they get stronger. Evert coach wants their team to get better as the game progresses and not peak or tail off; easier said then done. So far, the Vees are an exception, as more often than not, as the game grows longer they get better. First period was tight, a 1-1 game and the shots were 10-8 Vees. Move to the second, the Vees score early and again late, pressure Langley and take a 3-1 lead into the intermission. Shots were 13-7 for Penticton but the Vees had the decided edge in territorial play. Another goal and 13 more shots in the third and when the dust settled the Vees won 4-1 and outshot Langley 26-13 over the final two periods.
  • Matt Serratore has a knack of scoring timely goals. Just less than five-minutes after Langley opened the scoring, Serratore ties it when both teams were skating four aside. Serratore looked to have stolen the puck from teammate Riley Alferd. Alferd was on his backhand when Serratore was right there for the interception and or quick drop pass. Not only did that tie the game but came right after the Vees took themselves off the power-play. Instead of sagging and possibly getting behind 2-0, the Vees got back on their toes and tide it. Impeccable timing by Serratore.
  • Vees really turned the tables in the second, which saw them spend quite a bit of time in the Langley end. Their cycle game, moving the puck below the goal-line and in the corners was very effective. The Vees started to stretch out the Rivermen and got them chasing with the work they did in deep. Even I at times had a hard time keeping track of where the puck was and who had it down-low. That time of possession continued to pile up and you could see the Rivermen starting to tire. Hey, both goals in the second came off the rush and when the Rivermen were trying to get tired bodies off the ice.
  • First, Alferd was sent in on the left-wing and as he got to the left-circle he went five-hole on Bo Didur. Langley was racing back to change in the neutral zone and were caught. The Vees second goal happened in a similar fashion. The Vees saw Langley changing and Patrick Newell was hit with the puck down the left-wing. Newell played setup man, firing to Tyson Jost in the middle and he then went roof. Langley again tired, were caught with numbers near the bench and Newell had plenty of room and he took advantage.
  • Though both second period goals were scored off the rush, they were the result of extended work down deep in the Langley end. Just look at the Vees second goal, as moments before, Demico Hannoun hit the cross-bar then the post. The Vees capitalized when the Rivermen had tired bodies on the ice. Good teams take advantage of the opportunities that are presented.
  • One area the Vees took over in was the line match ups. I thought Jost, Hannoun and Newell did a good job against Marcus Vela, Gage Torrel and Justin Szeto. Those three seemed to never get out of their zone when that Vees line was out there. Sometimes offense is the best defense and the Vees offense kept the Rivermen big guns pretty quiet. Can’t do much damage when you don’t have the puck.
  • Post-game, Assistant Coach Nick Fuher commented on how there was no real weak link in the Vees chain Wednesday. Cam Amantea,  Cody DePourcq and Steen Cooper ate up a lot of time in the offensive end. They ate up significant minutes in those “Greasy” areas, where no one really wants to go. Tough minutes.
  • How about the “US line,” as Riley Alferd, Jack Ramsey and Matt Serratore combined for three goals and seven points in the win. They are red-hot and Alferd took over the team’s scoring lead with his goal and three points Wednesday; he now has 16-12-28 for the outright lead over Lewis Zerter-Gossage.
  • New line of Mitch Newsome, Lewis Zerter-Gossage and newbie Connor Chartier also spent a lot of time around the net and in deep on the cycle. Like the Vees other lines they weren’t shy at leaning on Langley’s D-core and pestered them whenever they didn’t have the puck.
  • The Vees know know how to come back, as they’re 8-1-0-0 now when being scored on first. In saying that they’re a hard team to come back on. Now 17-1-0-0 when leading after two periods. Almost automatic when this team has a lead.
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Game #24 Preview: Vees Host Riv’ on a Wicked Wednesday

Nov 19

Venue: SOEC

Game Time: 7pm

Listen: EZ Rock AM 800

Watch: www.fasthockey.com

 

Season Series: Nov 19th at Penticton, Nov 28th at Langley.

Vees Home Record: 9-1-0-0

Vees Record vs. Mainland Division: 4-0-0-0

Vees Leading Scorer: Riley Alferd 15-10-25

 

Rivermen Road Record: 5-5-0-2

Rivermen Record vs. Interior Division: 4-3-0-1

Rivermen Leading Scorer: Kevan Kilistoff 12-11-23

 

Home is where the Heart is: The Vees are in the middle of a three-game home stand at the SOEC. The Vees come into tonight’s game against the Langley Rivermen with a 9-1-0-0 mark at “home” this season; one home was at the Showcase in September. The Vees only blemish at home this season was a 3-2 setback on November 5th against West Kelowna and that was icing a short-handed line-up. In the Vees nine home games at the SOEC, they’re 8-1-0-0 and have outscored their opponents 38-13, and have only surrendered two or more goals three times. Langley climbed back to .500 mark on the road with their 4-3 win last night in West Kelowna. Despite the win last night, the Rivermen have won only two of their last five road games.

Some Sandpaper may be required: The Vees should expect an in-your-face style of play from the Rivermen when they drop the puck tonight. The Riv’ play a physical, aggressive game and that stats reflect that, as they’re the most penalized team in the BCHL. But if you’re going to play with an edge, you better have a good penalty-kill and the Riv’ own the league’s best PK, which is operating at 85.6 percent. The Vees power-play has found its groove, as they’ve scored goals in eight of their last night games with the man-advantage. Langley’s style of play can lead to penalties but the Vees will have to make the most of their opportunities if they’re planning on taking two points.

Another Hot Goalie? You don’t Say:  It seems the Vees have run into a few hot goalies of late and tonight may be no different. Langley’s Bo Didur has won his last five starts, including backstopping the Rivermen to a win Tuesday. Didur, a former Surrey Eagle, has a .937 save-percentage in his last five starts. He is familiar with the SOEC, as he was on the wrong end of a 7-1 thumping by the Vees against the Eagles last December. However, almost a year later and Didur is 10-5-0-0 and sports a tidy 2.32 goals-against average and .930 save-percentage. The Vees have overcome a string of solid goaltending performances of late, including peppering Cowichan Valley with 42 shots last Saturday. Tonight they’ll need another persistent effort to get some rubber in the Langley net.

So Far, So Good: The Vees have fared well against the Mainland Division this season, as they sport a 4-0-0-0 record. They’ve won three against the struggling Surrey Eagles and one against Prince George. Last year the Vees were 5-3-1-1 against Mainland teams but were winless against the Rivermen. Almost one year ago, the Rivermen edged the Vees 5-4 at the SOEC on November 29th. Gage Torrel, back for his second season, was the first star that night scoring twice and finishing with three points. Earlier that month the Vees and Rivermen played to a 1-1 tie in Langley. Tonight the Vees are looking for their first win against Langley since the 2012-2013 season.

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Vees Hold Pat in CJHL Rankings

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From the CJHL:

CALGARY, Alberta (November 17, 2014) – The Portage Terriers of the MJHL, on the strength of a 9-game winning streak, have retaken the top spot in the Pointstreak CJHL Top 20 Weekly Rankings. Nearly all ten leagues across Canada are tightening up, and the parity in many leagues is becoming very evident.

The Penticton Vees have since recovered from a few off nights, and the Nanaimo Clippers have strung together a solid four-game winning streak. It is interesting to note that there are twelve teams within ten points of the Prince George Spruce Kings for third overall in the BCHL. In Alberta, the Spruce Grove Saints are clinging by a single point lead over the Camrose Kodiaks, but the Kods still have three games in hand.

The SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers have a solid lead in the overall standings, ahead of the Melfort Mustangs, but eight teams in the 12-team league have winning records, so it is shaping up to be a dog fight for sure the rest of the regular season.

The Portage Terriers remain comfortably atop the overall MJHL standings, while the Winkler Flyers and the Winnipeg Blues are in a battle for second place, with the Blues holding a four-game advantage in games to be played. This could quickly eliminate the Flyers current advantage.

In the SIJHL, the Fort Frances Lakers have jumped ahead of a suddenly stumbling Thunder Bay North Stars, while in the NOJHL, the surging Kirkland Lake Gold Miners are in a near dead heat with the Soo Thunderbirds – on top of the standings by one point, but the Thunderbirds do hold a one game in hand advantage.

The Trenton Golden Hawks and the Aurora Tigers of the OJHL are separated by just two points for the overall lead in the standings.  Once again the East Division is proving to be ultra-competitive with the Cobourg Cougars, Whitby Fury and Kingston Voyageurs all within striking distance of the Golden Hawks.

The CCHL’s Carleton Place Canadians and the Ottawa Jr ‘A’ Senators remain on top of the Robinson Division and the Yzerman Division respectively.   While the Cougars de Sherbrooke continue to rule the standings of the LHJQ.  

In the MHL, the Woodstock Slammers have a strong grip on first place in that league, but are seeing the Miramichi Timberwolves and Dieppe Commandos start to close in with their strong play.

Top 20 Rankings

1.       Portage Terriers (MJHL) (2)
2.       Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (1)
3.       Penticton Vees (BCHL) (3)
4.       Woodstock Slammers (MHL) (7)
5.       Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) (4)
6.       Kindersley Klippers (SJHL) (5)
7.       Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (6)
8.       Aurora Tigers (OJHL) (8)
9.       Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL) (9)
10.   Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) (11)
11.   Nanaimo Clippers (BCHL) (17)
12.   Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (NOJHL) (12)
13.   Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (10)
14.   Cougars de Sherbrooke (LHJQ) (16)
15.   Winnipeg Blues (MJHL) (19)
16.   Miramichi Timberwolves (MHL) (NR)
17.   Ottawa Jr. ‘A’ Senators (CCHL) (18)
18.   Melfort Mustangs (SJHL) (20)
19.   Dieppe Commandos (MHL) (NR)
20.   Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (NR)       

Honourable Mention: Battleford North Stars (SJHL), Winkler Flyers (MJHL), Cobourg Cougars (OJHL), Georgetown Raiders (OJHL), Titan de Princeville (LHJQ)

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Shooting Star: McKenzie 1st NHL Goal

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Former Vee and current Dallas Star call-up Curtis McKenzie scored his first National Hockey League goal today in Chicago against the Blackhawks.
WATCH HERE

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Post-Game #23: Vees Capitalize on Home Ice

Game Recap Nov 15

GAME RECAP 

BOXSCORE 

  • The game needed a goal in the second period and the two Pat’s delivered. Patrick Sexton showed he’s not just about defense- throwing a dart across the Capitals zone to Patrick Newell at the back-post for the tap in. Great sense shown by Sexton as he resisted the the urge to just fire it on net. Sexton settled the puck and threaded the needle to Newell who had an open six-by-four on Lane Michasiw’s glove side. So Sexton uses that stick for more than just going glass and out.
  • The first period was a sleepy one. Not much was going on in the opening twenty-minutes. Credit both teams for not giving up much real estate in front of their respective nets. Good pace in the first, as both teams were going up and down the ice but it needed a Red Bull. That shot of energy was that Newell goal in the second, as there was some life in the building after that.
  • The second period was pretty much spent in the Caps end. The Vees outshot the Caps 16-2 in the frame and probably could have had more shots if it wasn’t for blocked shots or bouncing pucks. Honestly, it was a weird game in the sense the Vees spent a lot of time in the Caps zone but they really couldn’t get clean looks at the net. A lot of the time, especially in the second, they would put themselves in a scoring position only to have a Cap defender get in front of the shot or have the puck take a funny bounce and spoil the chance. In that second period there was a lot of foot traffic around Lane Michasiw’s goal but the Vees didn’t really have the shooting gallery going that you would have expected with all that zone time. The bounces weren’t really going there way until their second goal.
  • After some great pressure on a power-play, the Vees kept the puck in the Capitals zone and Cody DePourcq made a move off the goal-line to cut to the net. As he moved in front on the goalie’s blocker side, the Caps defenseman dove at him to poke the puck away from his stick. It didn’t have the desired effect from a Caps perspective. The puck instead of going wide took a deflection and went up and over the Caps goalie. DePourcq was the last to touch it so he was credited with his fifth. Deserving, as he made a nice play on the goal and worked his rear-end off all night.
  • That new line of DePourcq, Cam Amantea and Steen Cooper were terrific again Saturday. Put together Friday, they continued to have great chemistry Saturday and gave the Caps fits all night. The three just strap on the work boots and eat up time below the circles in the offensive end. They frustrate the hell out of the opposition’s defense because they’re relentless on the fore-check and it’s near impossible to get one of the three off the puck. They feast on the cycle.
  • Not only were those three annoying to play against but they were making an impact on the scoresheet. Great to see Steen Cooper get a goal and snap a lengthy goal drought. His third period goal was his first since October 3rd; a run of 18 games. Cooper is one of the hardest working Vees on the ice, whether it’s in his own zone or in the offensive end, so it was great to see him finally get rewarded for his hard work. As you can tell in the highlights above, I had some fun on the goal call. He did have an ape on his back for the longest time. I bet he feels 100 pounds lighter this morning. This wasn’t a cheap goal, a nice shot off the rush, as Cooper picked the corner on the short-side from the left-circle. Hopefully Saturday is a kick-start for his offensive game.
  • Lane Michasiw was great for Cowichan Valley. The rookie goaltender faced a lot of rubber Saturday, as he stopped 38 of 41 shots. He was busy in the last two periods and made half a dozen quality saves to keep the score from getting out of hand. He had some nice stops off of Gabe Bast, Lewis Zerter-Gossage, Tyson Jost and Mike Lee to name a few. He’s a big goaltender that moves well despite his size and he looks to have a bright future in the BCHL.
  • The negative on Saturday was the Vees power-play goal streak coming to an end. Heading into Saturday’s game the Vees scored at least one power-play goal in their previous eight games. The power-play was 17-42 during that run and was operating just over 40 percent. Great run but the power-play seems to be on track after a slow start. Teams now have to be careful on how they play the Vees. That in-your-face approach can lead to penalties and now that will lead to Vees goals.

 

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GM #23 Preview: Vees Looking for Revenge on Caps

Nov 15

Venue: SOEC

Game Time: 6pm

Listen: EZ Rock AM 800

Watch: www.fasthockey.com

 

Season Series: Nov 9th 4-2 Capitals, Nov 15th at Penticton.

Vees Home Record: 8-1-0-0

Vees Record vs. Island Division: 3-1-0-1

Vees Leading Scorer: Lewis Zerter-Gossage 10-15-25

 

Capitals Road Record: 0-9-0-0

Capitals Record vs. Interior Division: 2-6-0-0

Capitals Leading Scorer: Kyle Horsman 11-5-16

 

Looking for Redemption: Six days ago the Capitals upended the first place Vees 4-2 at the Island Savings Centre in Duncan. The Vees were playing their third and final game of their Island Division road trip and Cowichan Valley capitalized. A strong third period push from the Caps saw them break a 2-2 deadlock on goals from Kyle Horsman and Skylar Pacheco. Matthew Zentner was solid between the pipes, stopping 29 of 31 shots in the win. Fast-forward to tonight and the Vees are looking to use home ice to return the favour. Cowichan Valley hasn’t won a game this season away from the “Big Stick” as they own a 0-9-0-0 road record. The Vees finally have a stretch of home games, as tonight marks the first of three straight at the SOEC. They’re 8-1-0-0 at home this season and will need to reassert that home dominance against the Caps.

Comeback Kids: The Vees again overcame an early deficit Friday and posted their seventh win of the season when they surrender the opening goal; now 7-1-0-0. The Vees erased a 2-0 second period deficit and scored four straight for their third straight win over Vernon. Riley Alferd, Demico Hannoun and Jack Ramsey all scored power-play goals and Matt Serratore added the empty-netter late. That’s twice now in their last four games the Vees have comeback from a 2-0 deficit on the road. They did it last Friday in Victoria, erasing a 2-0 Grizzlies lead in the first period, en route to a 4-3 double-overtime win. Tonight the Vees don’t want to copy Friday’s start but they can be comforted knowing they’re never really out of a game.

Gas in the Tank: The Vees are 6-2-0-1 in the second game of back-to-backs this season. An impressive record considering the condense schedule of junior hockey and the travel associated with it. The Vees did drop their last two games in back-to-back situations but that was with a short-staffed line-up on the recent Island Division road trip. The Vees need to press a traveling Cowichan Valley team that’s oh-for on the road this season and they haven’t won in Penticton in six years (stat courtesy of Jeff Sargeant). Who will be the fresher of the two teams? Tonight is a back-to-back situation for teams and both teams have some injuries to their regulars. Who has the most gas in the tank?

Special Teams: The Vees power-play is red-hot, having scored in eight straight games and they have two or more power-play goals in three of their last five games. The power-play has climbed the ladder and is now sixth at an even 25 percent. During this eight-game run the power-play is humming along at 40.5 percent. The penalty-kill has been as good, as the Vees have not allowed an opposition power-play goal in four games; a run of 14 straight penalties killed. Cowichan Valley’s penalty-kill is 14th in the league at 73 percent. When they get them, the Vees have to make the

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Post-Game #22: Comeback in Vernon, Vees Back in Win Column

Game Recap Nov 10

GAME RECAP 

BOXSCORE 

  • Not the start the Vees wanted  but the finish didn’t disappoint. They gave up the lead just 16 seconds into the first but scored two power-play goals a minute apart in the third to rally for a 4-2 come from behind win. It was a sluggish start, as the Vees didn’t look comfortable in their own end but when it mattered and that’s the third, they found a way to turn things around and get the job done.
  • Power-play will be a big talking point about this game and the calls that went the Vees way and not the Vipers. Yes. special teams were a huge factor but the biggest story line for me was goaltending, at both ends.Hunter Miska was fantastic in net for the Vees especially in the second and Jarrod Schamerhorn was a rock for Vernon and faced a lot of Vees rubber in the second and third. Both goalies were on top of their game and both made some terrific saves but I would have to give an edge to Miska in the spectacular save department.
  • The save that everyone will be talking about is Miska’s arm save off of Vernon’s Luke Voltin. Voltin took a drop pass from the goal-line and looked to have an open net on Miska’s glove side but the goaltender quickly lunged out with his arm to knock down the one-timer and keep it out of the net. Arguably to date Miska’s best stop of the season and most crucial. Why? If that Voltin shot had gone in, it would have been 3-0 for the Vipers late in the second and that would be curtains. However, Miska makes a 10-bell save and the Vees soon after draw a penalty. What happens? They score on the man-advantage to cut the deficit to 2-1. If it wasn’t for that stop the game was likely out of reach. I’ll try to post the save onto YouTube Saturday as it’s worth a look. Voltin did try and avoid shooting it back in the middle of the net and away from Miska’s glove, but the goalie was still able to reach out and knock it down. That save was the proverbial “TSN Turning Point.”
  • Miska loves playing Vernon as by my count, that’s his third dazzling save off of a Viper this season. He robbed Mitch Meek back on October 25th with a pad-stack and then earlier on October 17th in Vernon against Luke Shiplo. That save back in Vernon was similar to Friday’s in the sense it was his glove arm knocking down the puck. Assistant Coach Steve Cawley said during the post-game show that Miska was solid on the weekend but didn’t see that “clutch” save from him that they saw so many times before. Well, fast-forward to Friday and Miska made several big-time saves and at times when the Vees were trailing and, or on their heels.
  • It was like watching two different power-plays in the first and second compared to the third. On the Vees first three attempts they couldn’t score with the man-advantage and gave up a short-handed marker early in the second. Move to the third and the power-play looked more purposeful and produced two goals. The power-play seemed to have a more direct, confident approach in the third period. They kept things simple, with a dash of skill and produced two key power-play goals. Sometimes they’re guilty of over thinking things.
  • Back to the start and it wasn’t what the Vees had drawn up. A bad turnover in the middle of the ice in the Vees zone was gobbled up by Luke Voltin. The Vees defenseman tried to go across the zone to his partner but put it right on the stick of the lurking Voltin. His quick shot surprised Miska and the Vees were a goal down early. Bizarre looking at the boxscore and seeing the Vipers getting two assists on that goal. Odd because the puck was put right on Voltin’s stick by a Vees defenseman. That all after a shoot-in into the Vees zone. Hmm.
  • The First period was one pretty much to forget for the Vees, Coach Cawley had a blunt assessment, calling it “awful” from his team and I would have to agree along those lines. As Coach Cawley and I chatted about post-game, the Vees were just not getting the puck out when they should have. Vernon was aggressive and physical and the Vees seemed to be turning pucks over because of it. Sometimes the glass-and-out or chip of the board play isn’t the worst thing in the world and the Vees will learn that. They showed signs of adapting to that style in the third, where they looked more comfortable in their own end. A lot of their third period success defensively came from just executing the simple play. Soft chips off the boards to open space proved to be very effective in getting the speed element back in their game.
  • How about the power-play? Three goals, two in third and those two came just sixty-seconds apart. BIG goal by Riley Alferd late in the second to get the Vees back into the game at 2-1. Then it was Demico Hannoun and Jack Ramsey scoring sixty-seconds apart. The power-play has now scored at least one power-play in eight straight games for the Vees. It’s now operating at 31 percent during the eight-game run. It’s not only about scoring but when they were scoring on the power-play. Alferd’s goal was huge, scoring late in the second to make it 2-1; mentally less of a hurdle coming back from 2-1, as opposed to 2-0. Then those back-to-back power-play goals by Hannoun and Ramsey, quickly turning a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead. Now that the power-play is scoring with regularity, I wonder if teams have to back off slightly to their in-your-face approach against the Vees?
  • Riley Alferd and Matt Serratore each had a goal and an assist in the win and line-mate Ramsey scored the game-winning goal; all together the three combined for three goals and five points. That line has shouldered nearly most of the Vees offensive responsibilities Friday and produced two key goals. How about the effort at the end by Serratore? Blocks one of two point-shots when Vernon was pressing late, and still has the wherewithal to take fore-check and  take the puck away from the Vernon forward at the other end of the ice and score into the empty-net.
  • A lot of fans in Vernon weren’t happy about the four-minute high-sticking call that went against the Vipers with five-minutes left in the third. From my angle it looked like Trevor Fidler’s stick caught Cam Amantea in the chin/mouth and the officials deemed the infraction drew blood. Four-minutes. I think it’s tough to take at the time given the circumstances but it is hard to argue that penalty.
  • One trio that didn’t have a point but had a heck of a game was Amantea, Steen Cooper and Cody DePourcq. The three ate up a lot of time in the offensive end and really got momentum on the Vees side in the third with a sustained shift in the Vipers end that eventually led to a power-play, which eventually led to the two power-play goals by Hannoun and Ramsey. That high-sticking call came just at the tail end of a really good shift by those three. The trio gave the Vees a kick in the rear-end when it was needed.
  • Pat Newell quietly extended his point streak with his assist on the Hannoun power-play goal. Great vision to hold it in the corner, spot Hannoun creeping in from the blue-line, then firing a perfect pass through skates and traffic and to the back-post. Newell now he has 15 points in his nine-game streak. I jokingly call him “The Kettle,” as he’s been on a slow boil ever since late October.
  • Bizarre stat: The Vees are now 7-1-0-0 when the opposition scores first. Never like to see your team get behind the eight ball but credit this group for finding a way, time and again, to get themselves back into games. Two road games going back to last Friday, where they’ve erased 2-0 deficits. Impressive.
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