1. Crease Crashers: As the photo above shows, the Vees went to the “dirty areas” last night and were rewarded. Their first goal was off a nice tip by Jedd Soleway WHO cut in front to get a piece on a point shot. Their fourth goal was all about Mike Rebry getting to the net and when you do that, good things happen.
Technically, only two of their five goals came from in-tight but it was about following through with the game plan. From the start they were attacking the Trail net, sending bodies to their crease on every shot and, I think it made life uncomfortable for Adam Todd. That presence, getting in the goalies face, giving him some friendly “bumps” and just being around his goal seemed to make him feel uneasy. The worst thing you can do to an opposition goaltender is make him feel comfortable. I thought the Vees were guilty of the that the night before, as they didn’t want to “pay the price.”
There was no doubting their hunger or desire to get to the Trail goal, and they certainly paid the price, as it was prison rules in and around the net; anything and everything was allowed.
2. Desire+ Heart + Compete=Success: The Vees were challenge by the coaching staff on Saturday morning, as there was far too many passengers on Friday; quite frankly in the last two weeks.
The Vees weren’t playing with enough desperation, enough hunger recently and it showed as the Smoke Eaters simply out worked them on Friday. Well, the script was flipped on Saturday as the Vees finally matched their compete level with their skill level. Look, this is probably one of the most skilled teams in the league (right up there with Surrey) but they really didn`t have much jump recently. Captain Troy Stecher had some blunt observations after Friday`s loss, which was echoed by the coaches and this broadcaster.
They turned it around on Saturday playing with, pardon my French, an f*** you attitude and that was just what was needed. The Vees were flying off the start, as their feet were moving, and they made a conscious effort to hit everything in orange. Quite frankly there was a great pace from the start and continued right through to the final whistle.
On Saturday they were winning battles for contested pucks, taking or keeping the puck along the walls, in the corners and behind the net. There was countless shifts were the Vees ate up big minutes in the Trail end. There is a lot at stake for both teams and when that happens, every inch of ice will be contested and the Vees were up to the task on Saturday. This team thrives on establishing a presence below the circles and along the walls, as they generate a lot of chances off the cycle; as much as they do off the rush. Bottom line, the effort was there and they played an inspired game and were justly rewarded for that effort.
3. Execution: Fred Harbinson talked about it on the pre-game show, as he challenged his team to be better in the offensive zone. It`s one thing to establish an offensive zone presence and generate scoring chances but it`s another thing to bear down and cash-in on the chances you create. The Vees finally did just that against Trail.
After giving up another power-play goal to Trail, the Vees didn`t waiver and responded with two of their own to take the lead into the first intermission; first time in a while they did that. Jedd Soleway had a great tip in front of the net, on a well placed shot from Troy Stecher. The power-play finally stepped up and gave the Vees their first lead courtesy of Louie Nanne`s quick release. That`s the key right there; quick release. The Vees were guilty of not getting shots off quickly recently but reversed that trend Saturday. Nanne with a quick trigger on the power-play, Cody DePourcq wasting little time in the second to get the puck off his stick. Mostly importantly, the game-winner by Brad McClure, as he took the pass, took a couple of strides, then put a laser over the right-shoulder of Adam Todd. The Vees didn`t second-guess themselves, didn`t double-clutch. They DID make quick decisions and got pucks quickly on goal. More of that will be needed heading into the post-season.
Game Stars: My Stars:
1)Garrett McMullen 1) John Siemer
2) Jedd Soleway 2) Wade Murphy
3) John Siemer 3) Jedd Soleway / Garrett McMullen