Synergy Imaging / Derek Hurst
- This was a complete effort from minute one to minute sixty. You often hear the term “team win” and tonight was just that. The Vees didn’t have any passengers on Saturday as everyone seemed to be contributing in some shape or form. The forwards were moving their feet all night and really going at the Caps who had trouble with the speed. All four lines were used quite a bit as the bench never got cut down. Yes, there was a chunk of time in the second which was dominated by special teams so certain players were used more there, but outside of that sequence the Vees kept rolling the lines. I thought that was a game within a game the Vees won hands down. It looked like the Caps were only going with three lines consistently throughout the night, as we didn’t see much of Armand Uomoleale, Sam Curleigh and Daniel Wanner. That showed as the game moved into the second, as the pace started to wear on the Caps and the Vees exploded for three goals to quickly put the game out of reach. The Vees blue-line was just as impressive, as the Caps barely had a sniff in the offensive end. There was a few scoring chances around the net but I could have counted the Caps chances on one hand at the end of the night. The forwards deserve credit for their work in their own zone but the D was just as good by sealing off the middle and not allowing forwards to get close to net.
- I just talked about but when the Vees are playing at a level like Saturday, it’s going to pose a problem for other teams. They came out flying in the first period and went right after the Caps off the face-off. The transition game was excellent, as the Vees wasted little time going from defense to offense and vice versa. The Caps played the night before in Trail, a later start there and didn’t get to Penticton until the early hours of Saturday morning. They had tired legs and the Vees needed to take full advantage and they did. They wasted little time getting pucks out of their zone, as forwards were racing back providing outlets or the D were quickly getting out from behind their net on retrievals and rushing the puck to centre. Their speed also caused problems when they didn’t have the puck. Their first fore-checker was quickly on top of the Caps D and didn’t give them any time or space. One or even two forwards were always in the puck carrier’s face and that caused problems for the Caps breakout. They were flying Saturday and had it in high gear all the way through.
- I wrote about it in the pre-game and the Vees were harder to play against on Saturday. Friday one of the things I thought they needed to be better at going into Saturday, was being stronger on the puck. Friday, in my view, they were on the wrong end of too many puck battles along the boards. Fast-forward to Saturday and it was a completely different story. This team had a noticeable edge to it, as they weren’t shy about putting a shoulder into a Cap. It’s not about just dishing out the abuse but also taking it. The Caps game plan early looked to revolve around them using their size to try and intimidate the Vees. It didn’t work. Teams should learn this by now. The Caps tried to come hard, especially on the fore-check but as it’s been said before, you can’t hit what you can’t catch. The Vees used their speed to get out-of-the-way of hits. The determined effort by the Caps to paste the Vees, actually resulted in numbers the other way for the Vees when transitioning. Down-low this team was much better too, as you have to be able to take a few bumps to get your cycle game going. The fore-check, who the Vees thrive on, needs to be physical to have success in creating turnovers.The Vees leaned on Caps D behind and around the net and that created turnovers and as a result scoring chances.
- Congrats to Olivier Mantha on his first BCHL shutout, as he stopped all 18 shots he faced. Not a lot of work for him but he made a few key saves and his rebound control and positioning was spot on. The goaltending the Vees are getting from Mantha and Hunter Miska is something else.
- Congratulations also go out to Matt Serratore and Riley Alferd who picked up their first BCHL points. These two are getting more and more comfortable every game and it won’t be long before they get on the score-sheet.
- Great effort turned in this weekend by Jack Ramsey who was running on fumes. Thursday in Pittsburgh for the All-American prospects game, back Friday afternoon for the home opener. Get up and go again on Saturday late afternoon against Cowichan Valley. He might be crashing on the couch today.