- The Vees won their third straight over the Vernon Vipers; all three by 3-1 scores. Since losing to the Vipers 2-1 on November 23rd the Vees have won three by the same score-line.
- The Vees are now 18-2-0-2 when scoring first. 20-0-0-1 when leading after one and 22-0-0-2 when leading after 40 minutes. This team likes playing with the lead.
- The power-play finally flexed it’s muscle. 2-4 tonight against but more importantly scoring at key times. The Vees got a big power-play goal early in the second to go up by two. Then the difference maker early in the third period to again go up by two and put the game out of reach.
- How about the goal by Wade Murphy? A cheeky toe-drag around a defender before rifling a wrist-shot up high under the bar. After no goals in seven games, Murphy has two in as many games. Assistant Coach Mike Hengen made a good point on the post-game show. Hengen said Murphy, no matter what happens, can be a difference maker on just one shot; it’s true. Murphy only needs that one opportunity to strike. He may have a quiet game, but he can turn a game on it’s head with the flick of the wrist.
- Hengen also admitted it wasn’t the most complete efforts by the Vees, despite winning 3-1 and out-shooting the Vipers 31-27. The Vees looked great at times, most notably late in the first period after the one minute timeout, and in the third period. But there were times the Vees did let off the gas, and let Vernon dictate the play. Full value to the Vipers for a hard-nosed and relentless effort. But the Vees were on their heels at times and need to keep the gas pedal pinned to the floor.
- Odd saying the third was their best considering they were down to just 10 forwards. Just before the four minute mark, Ryan Gropp took a nasty spill in the left-corner in the Vipers end. Gropp got the can-opener treatment from Michael Statchuck and went into the corner back first. Yesh. He did skate off under his own power but didn’t return. I would call it an upper-body injury and he’s obviously doubtful for tomorrow. I hope it isn’t long term because Gropp was really starting to get on a roll.
- Sam Mellor didn’t come out for the third period, as he was saddled with the flu. Shocking because he was one of the Vees best forwards in the first period. Impressive now knowing he wasn’t 100 percent for this game. Not sure on his status for tomorrow but again, I would slot him in the “doubtful” category as well.
- Defensively the Vees do deserve a lot a credit, as they only allowed three shots against in the third period and “27” in the game. I use quotations because a good chunk of those 27 were not high-quality attempts on goal. The Vees D did a good job of taking away the middle of the ice, keeping the Vipers above or on the outside of the circles. Chad Katunar got a lot of clean looks at pucks, and when that happens your in good shape.
- Again, it was disappointing to see Mellor and Gropp go down, as the pair along with Brock Balson formed a pretty dangerous looking trio.
- Nice bounce back game for Chad Katunar as he was “dialed in” for this one. He was aggressive, made himself look big and was square to shooters throughout the game.
- Stick-tap to Austin Smith as he maybe should of been one of the three stars tonight. Yes, he let in three but I thought that was his best performance against the Vees. There were several in-close chances that he turned away with excellent leg work along the goal-line.
- Tomorrow is going to be a challenge to say the least. The Warriors haven’t played since Tuesday. The Tribe have won back-to-back games and have points in their last four contests. The Vees likely will be down two regulars and will play with 11 up front. This will be the last meeting of the regular season between the two, with bragging rights on the line. A powder keg.
Thanks to the 24 hundred plus who showed up tonight and created a great atmosphere at the SOEC. I implore everyone to show up tomorrow for an even better season series clash. Saturday should be a dandy.