A short-handed but game Vees squad came up short in Trail on Sunday. Though it goes down as a loss, I really liked what I saw from the 14 skaters that hit the ice in Trail. Two highlights were Jordan Boultbee and Brett Harris scoring their first BCHL goals.
Congrats to the Trail Smoke Eaters on one heck of a run in the final month and change in the BCHL. The Smokies were oh so close to nabbing the fourth and final playoff spot in the Interior Division. With all but four eligible to return next season, the Smokies have plenty to be excited about.
1) BCHL Firsts: Like I just said, what a moment or moments for Jordan Boultbee and Brett Harris. Both scored their first BCHL goals and on the final day of the regular season. Boultbee got his in the second period on a nice two-on-one rush with Ryan Gropp. Boultbee was playing just his 13 game as a Vee and had lots of jump on Sunday afternoon. I liked his hustle and determination throughout this one and he had a few scoring chances.
Brett Harris, a Vees AP, had a pretty solid outing with Jordan McCallum and another AP in Daylan Robertson. Harris scored his first BCHL goal late in the third after some good work by McCallum to force a turnover. Harris, like Boultbee showed great poise and didn’t look out-of-place.
A real thrill I’m sure for the two to get their first goals and again on the final day of the regular season.
2) Battle: That’s what the Vees did on Sunday afternoon, despite sitting a whole host of regulars and just going with three lines and five defensemen. They had three AP’s upfront and one on the back-end but team still managed to keep Trail off the scoreboard in the first and third period.
Stay with me for a second, if you negate the Marley Keca goal from the neutral zone, this could have been a whole different game. No doubt that goal took the wind out of the Vees sails and the Smokies pounced with three goals in a minute and a half. The Vees outscored Trail in the third, yes it was late but still they didn’t allow a goal in two of the three periods. Credit to Nic Renyard who shook off that crazy second period goal, as he came up big in the third making 18 saves.
Despite the small numbers the Vees were battling from start to finish, blocking shots, taking the body and made hard plays all over the ice. Going up against a full roster and a team playing their final game, the Vees came up with an impressive effort level and did not quit
3) Happy Trails: Congrats to the Trail Smoke Eaters on a great playoff push that had the entire attention of the BCHL. The Smokies also won the season series against the Vees and were a very tough opponent in the seven game series. Some memorable games for sure and some crazy moments from the season series I will soon not forget.
Also I would like to congratulate the graduating Trail Smoke Eaters in Brent Baltus, Garrett McMullen, Tyler Berkholtz and Bennett Hambrook. All four had very good BCHL careers and by what I was told, great kids too. I wish all the best to the four in their future hockey endeavors.