The Vees, Tuesday and all series took care of business. In game four it was highlighted by an impressive showing by their special teams in the first period and great goaltending and timely scoring; just like all series really.
The Vees now have a 10 ten layoff between series, as they will await the winner of the West Kelowna-Merritt series. The Tribe won on Tuesday and now have a three games to one series lead with game five back in West K on Thursday.
- Quick Starters: The Vees scored first in every game this series and that’s a big reason why this series went the way it did. In game four, after a lengthy five-on-three Silverback power-play, the Vees manufactured a power-play goal of their own on an abbreviated man-advantage. What a momentum swing, as the Vees killed-off a 1:31 five-on-three and mere minutes later score the first goal and on the power-play too. Chad Katunar and the two penalty-kill units were terrific and if it wasn’t for Katunar’s heroics and the numerous blocked shots, the ‘Backs probably would have had their first first-period goal of the series. Just think about that three-minute span for a second. The ‘Backs went from a great chance to get off on the right foot, get an early lead and claw back into the series. But, they couldn’t solve Katunar, failed to strike on the five-on-three and took themselves off the power-play with a penalty. That penalty proved to be costly as James de Haas scores and the Vees were on their way after that. That’s a huge kick in the gut for the Silverbacks and one they couldn’t recover, as the Vees went on to score four first-period goals. You could argue one of the biggest reasons why the Vees won in four straight was the first periods of all four games. They outscored Salmon Arm 9-0 in each of the four opening periods but only 7-6 in the other two periods combined.
- Special Teams: Another key component to the series that the Vees dominated. The Vees were three for six on the power-play in game four and six for twenty-two in the series (27%); last season-esk type numbers. Their penalty-kill was just as good, going fourteen for fifteen (93%), and a perfect nine for nine in the final two games. When both your penalty-kill and power-play are operating at those types of numbers, you’re usually going to win hockey games. This series was heavily influenced by special teams, as the Vees got fourteen power-plays in the last two games and Salmon Arm got nine. The key was the Vees went four for fourteen (28%) in the last two games while Salmon Arm was oh for. The series was called differently and played slightly differently in the two rinks. Less was called in Penticton compared to Salmon Arm. However, bottom line, the Vees showed why special teams are so important this time of year.
- Want: The Vees showed just how bad they wanted to win tonight. For starters, Cam Amantea, still not 100 percent since going down with the flu, came back to play game four and played well with all things considered. Remember, if the flu wasn’t bad enough, he almost had his knee blown-up in the first period by that Alex Gillies hit. Amantea did tough it out and played right to the end. That’s just one small case of how this year’s team is willing to sacrifice everything and anything to win. This might have been questioned by outsiders who were watching the Vees in the final two weeks of the Regular Season. The Vees, for whatever reason, lost a bit of that fire-desire down the stretch but have channeled it in the playoffs. There have been noticeable improvements in quite a few players and there are a handful that have really impressed me with how they have elevated their game. The Vees had an illness run through the team in this round but they still managed to block a huge amount of shots, score some goals, shutdown the ‘Backs top-line and hold them to just six in the series. Everyone was great, goaltending, defense forwards, coaches and even the fans who made the trek on the fan bus or on their own accord.