That’s a way to respond to a loss. The Vees just too much for the Langley Rivermen, taking out their frustration on their hosts in a 5-1 win. The Vees used Langley as an outlet for their anger, coming in with a chip on their shoulder after Friday’s bitter 2-1 loss.
Langley was riding a four-game winning streak, and was undefeated in their last five games heading into Saturday’s match up. However, they were caught in the Vees crosshairs and just couldn’t keep up in this one. Penticton scored two in the first and three in the second, as the final twenty minutes were just a formality.
The Vees speed and transition game was too much for the Rivermen to handle, as they started to tire as the game moved into the second period. The Vees were relentless in their counter-attackand had chance after chance in the first two periods because of it. James Barr did get the hook after forty minutes with five goals against, but it could have been a lot uglier if it wasn’t for some of his saves in the first two periods.
The Vees needed this one, to know what it was like to score goals again and a healthy amount. Remember, despite their team total, scoring hasn’t come easy for the Vees this season. The Vees have had to work hard at their offense and been involved in a lot of one-goal games this season. Getting five tonight will give the offense a shot in the arm and boost the Vees forwards confidence; self-reinsurance in their abilities.
In breaking down the win, I think it’s best to revisit the keys I laid out before the game.
1. Regroup, Repeat: The Vees did just that, looking nothing like a team that was moping about after last night’s controversial loss. The Vees DID look like a team that turned the page and were solely focused on taking two points away from Langley. It was a bit of a tempered start for the Vees, as they needed a few shifts to settle into the game, but that’s nothing unusual for a road team. After they shook out the early jitters, the Vees looked to be right at home and started to create some chances of their own. Mike Rebry had a couple of chances early on, and once that line of Rebry, Wade Murphy and John Siemer started to get going, so did everybody else.
2. Traffic Jam: They had plenty of bodies going to the Langley net all night and It was obvious that this was one detail of the game plan. The coaches wanted to get a better net presence and get to the secondary chances that were going to be generated. That’s one area where the Vees struggled last night and they were determined to have it not happen again. Looking at the five goals, three were a direct result of driving the net. Brad McClure going to the goal and picking up the rebound in the first. Jordan McCallum driving the net and finishing off a two-on-one rush. Finally, Mike Rebry moving to in front of the goal and finding a rebound during a Vees power-play. The Vees and most good teams, are most successful when establishing a good net presence or having a “noise” for the net.
3. Bump & Go: As expected, the Rivermen came at the Vees hard, as they tried to establish an aggressive fore-check in the Vees zone. Defense and forwards took their licks but capitalized with a quick counter-strike offense. Ryan Gropp’s opener came off a quick transition, as they caught Langley up ice. It seemed the Langley was so hell-bent on finishing their checks; they would do it, even if it meant getting caught out of position. The Vees took the abuse and persevered and were rewarded with plenty of space and counter-attack opportunities. The Rivermen looked to establish a physical presence but it cost them territoriality and taxed them physically has they ran out of gas.