The Vees won their seventh straight in convincing style on Saturday. The hung an 11 spot, yes, 11 on the Coquitlam Express. Yeah, the Express were playing short-handed, just 9 forwards and 15 skaters, which contributed to the lopsided score but the Vees performance was still impressive.
The Vees took full advantage of the skeleton crew they were facing and did as many might expect and took it to the visitors. Five goals in the first period pretty much decided the game but the Vees put up six more in the second as they never let off the gas. It’s a tough situation to be in, as you don’t want to be “running up the score” but you just can’t stop playing either; that’s were bad habits creep in. Hockey is unlike other sports where teams can coast when ahead by a large margin. In football, the backups come in for mop up duty. Same story in Basketball where the bench players can eat up minutes. The Vees weren’t just going to stop playing because the score started to get ridiculous.
It would be more disrespectful to try to not to score, as it’s hard to turn down a shot or scoring opportunity regardless of the score-line. What are the Vees suppose to do? Stick-handle into the corner? Turn down an open net and which I think shows up the other team. The Vees needed to have a complete effort, needed to play hard from start to finish, it just so happened the majority of their shots went it.
Give credit to the Express as they took their lumps and did so without being sore losers. The Express played a relative clean game, didn’t really start to run around and be stupid. Outside of one penalty late on Bradley Ryan, I thought the Express played a hard but fair game.I applaud a team that is getting spanked, playing as hard as they did right to the end.
From my pre-game blog: “The one area of the Vees game I would like to see get rolling would be the power-play.”
Well the power-play came to life on Saturday and the Vees finally looked like the team they should be on the man-advantage. Officially 4-8 but the last two penalties were against Bradley Ryan late in the third period when the game was well out of hand. At one point after two periods the man-advantage was four-five. The power-play looked lethal and that was due to some quick puck movement and smart decisions. The Vees didn’t hang onto the puck too long and got off quality shots (1+1=goal).
Depth is so key down the stretch and especially in the playoffs when games are so tight. Nine different players scored the Vees 11 goals, as Wade Murphy and Jedd Soleway each had two. 13 of the 18 dressed tonight for the Vees recorded at least a single point in the win. Goals came from up and down the line-up, as I seem to be saying this a lot lately. When every line is producing, chipping in your usually going to come out on top.
Nice return for Travis Blanleil and Sam Mellor. Blanleil was playing his first game in over a month and scored in his return. Blanleil, despite missing nine games, didn’t look rusty or out of place. He had his legs going early and was his usually self below the circles in the offensive zone. He scored in his typical fashion and that’s right out front of the net. Sam Mellor missed most of Friday’s game and all of Saturday’s contest with the flu. Tonight was his first game since the illness and didn’t miss a beat. Mellor finished with goal and an assist; his power-play goal was pretty too.
Maybe Wade Murphy’s performance tonight sends him on a tear down the stretch and into the playoffs. He finished with seven points tonight and now has 57 in just 40 games this season. Murphy now leads the Vees in scoring, one point up on John Siemer and is in the top five in the BCHL. Murphy is a streaky scorer and a game like tonight can only do wonders for his confidence. The points aside, Murphy just looked like his old self, as he was skating, laying the body, back-checking hard and never really coasting in this game.