The Vees got back to their winning ways with a 3-2 win in Salmon Arm on Friday night. The win is the Vees 11th in 14 games and seventh in 10 road games. Lots of positives for the Vees in this one, as lots of things went right.
Here are a few things that stood out:
- The Vees scored first, the second time in their last sixth games doing so. A reminder, this team is now 6-0-0 when scoring first and when they lead after the first period. Any team plays better with the lead.
- Despite only carrying a 1-0 lead into the intermission, I thought the Vees turned in a near perfect road period in the opening twenty minutes. They had their feet moving, and with that their transition game was in high-gear. Penticton created several odd-man rushes, catching Salmon Arm with men up ice. I noticed a handful of times the Vees forwards catching the Silverbacks defenders flat-footed. Silverback defenders made some questionable pinches at the offensive blue-line, only to get caught and trapped behind the play.
- The Vees created several grade ‘A’ chances in the first including a handful between Wade Murphy and Cam Amantea. Murphy missed twice from in-close, and Amantea had two glorious chances. Amantea was betrayed by a rolling puck on a rebound in the crease; pushing a back-hand painfully wide. His other chance was on a two-on-one down-low but couldn’t redirect the puck in the net with his out-stretched stick. I would wager a guess that Amantea is near, or at the top in team scoring chances. This kid is due, like an overdue library book.
- At one point in the first the Vees were outshooting the Silverbacks 16-2, yet still only held a precarious 1-0 lead. Colin Dzijacky was admirable in defeat, especially in the first with the Vees buzzing. He was helped out by some missed chances but also prevented the Vees from busting the game wide-open. Dzijacky is the best one-win goalie I’ve seen in junior hockey.
- The ‘Backs did have their chances in the first, and had a late surge in the period, outshooting the Vees 5-0 down the stretch. Their best chance came off a fluttering shot from the point which drifted off the cross-bar. Also, Shane Hanna put together an impressive rush, finished off by him flipping the puck on goal with one hand; it wasn’t an easy shot either for Katunar.
- One of the most entertaining sequences in the game came towards the end of the period. Both teams traded back-and-forth odd-man rushes in a short sequence. The Vees twice failing to convert.
- The second period wasn’t as sexy as the first twenty minutes. The period was saddled with plenty of whistles; both teams were guilty of miss-firing. The 20 minutes wasn’t a bad showing by the Vees, as they put together a very serviceable “road” period. The Vees did surrender 16 shots but I didn’t see a lot of dangerous scoring chances from it. There were a few nervous moments with scrambles around the Vees goal but that’s about it. Most of the shots came from the outside and were easy pick’ens for Katunar.
- There was a good shift between Evan Anderson, Cody DePourcq and Brad McClure, highlighted by three scoring chances setup by Anderson. The Colorado product used his size to win battles below the goal-line and fired passes out front. Tonight looked like Anderson was putting it together and here’s to him building off a solid outing. Anderson also made two solid defensive plays on Alex Gillies in one shift that negated two scoring chances; that’s two future teammates battling (Michigan Tech commitments).
- Speaking of the youngsters, as mentioned, Amantea was great at both ends, Dexter Dancs was a pest on the fore-check, McClure was dangerous all night and Jewell was strong in the circle. With the exception of Dancs, who might be at the WJAC, these young guys will be leaned on more, come early November when the WJAC is in full-swing. I would expect at least three Vees making Team Canada West. McClure especially might be the guy asked to pick up the slack upfront. He’s starting to roll after his hat-trick last Saturday, and seems like a totally different player since him committing to Ferris State; clear mind, better player.
- Good bounce-back performance from Chad Katunar. Winless in his last two coming into Friday, Katunar was four minutes away from his third shutout, before some broadcaster mumbled said word on-air. Yeesh, I know. Can’t blame him on either goal against; one off his own defenseman, and the other a back-door tap-in. Katunar was battling, and make some key saves in heavy traffic. Kat’ was breaking in his new white pads so there might have been a few rebounds he otherwise wouldn’t let out.
- Tidy effort turned in by the seven defensemen tonight. It isn’t easy rotating seven D-men through the game but the Vees pulled it off. Two strong outings by James de Haas and Nathan Deyell too; two who needed a confidence boost.
- Hey the power-play! Three-for-five and was not too far off from going five-for-five. The man-advantage was buzzing all night, highlighted by great puck-possession and poise. Both of Murphy’s goals were from smart, simple plays on the man-advantage. The Vees didn’t try to over-complicate things and it worked out well.
- The win is the Vees 10th in a row over the Apes dating back to last season. In fact, since the 2007-2008 season, the Vees are 22-10-2 against Salmon Arm; 11-6 in their last 17 trips to the Shaw / Sunwave Centre.
- Wade Murphy’s two power-play goes gives him the outright lead in two categories. Murphy takes over the out-right points lead in the BCHL scoring race with 22; two up on Alberni Valley’s Evan Tironese. His two power-play markers now give him four on the year which is a team best; third most in the BCHL. Murphy also extended his BCHL-best point-streak to 12 games. He’s on a roll.
- The Vees don’t play the rest of the weekend, as the teams behind them make up some of the games they have in-hand. Penticton will be scoreboard watching both Saturday and Sunday afternoon before they return to action Tuesday.
Friday BCHL SCORES