A wild one at the SOEC…again. The Vees find a way to win (with some help in overtime) another one-goal game. Tonight’s game was like two heavy-weight prize fighters going toe-to-toe for the full 12 rounds. Both teams kept landing punches, and when you thought one s was down for the 10 count, they picked themselves up off the canvas and kept going.
The Vees will need to squeeze out every minute of rest they have between now and tomorrow’s contest in Salmon Arm. A quick turnaround for a group that played seventy-minutes of hockey Friday. As the saying goes, no rest for the wicked.
- The Vees are still undefeated at home in regulation, as their record now is 8-0-0-1; points in all nine games. Six home games this month, points in all six and one shot away from running the table; damn you Shane Poulsen.
- Interesting fact, the Vees sport identical 4-1-0-0 records when either trailing after the 1st or tied after the second. Two situations that aren’t easy for teams, especially the former. Playing catch up hockey early can be taxing but this team has proven time and again, they’re never really out of a game.
- A stat I really like? They’re now 8-2-0-1 when they score first. Coaches always preach about having good habits and one habit the Vees have developed in starting off on the right foot. Playing from behind isn’t taxing just physically but mentally as well. Confidence does wonders at this level, and that record shows what confidence does for the Vees.
- A bit of a crack in the brick wall that is Olivier Mantha. Hey, he’ll be the first to tell you he needed to be better through regulation. BUT, boy did he bounce back in the two overtime periods. Made two key breakaway saves on Demico Hannoun and Josh Bryan and a handful of other in-close opportunities. You had the feeling he was hell-bent on not wearing the goat horns so to speak; no way he was letting in a sixth.
- Mantha’s numbers take a bit of a hit after tonight. His goals-against average bumps up from 1.72 to 2.10, and his save-percentage goes from .933 to .917. BUT, the most important stat is he moves to 6-2-0 on the season. He’s competitive and a team-first guy. He wants to win so badly and that is infectious.
- Odd sequences throughout this game. There was three different segments where each team scored twice but then the other team would follow-up by scoring the next two. The Vipers scored twice at the end of the first to go up 2-1. The Vee then scored midway through the second and early in the third to take a 3-2 lead. Then the Vees scored two in 40 seconds to go ahead 5-3, only to have Vernon twice more to force OT.
- Both teams combined for six goals on 17 shots in a back-and-forth third period. It seemed like at one point, every other shot was going in. The Vees scored three times on 12 shots, the Vipers three on just five; that’s a 60 percent shooting percentage for Vernon.
- I quipped during the broadcast early in the third period “Might just be last goal wins tonight.” Should have bought a lottery ticket.
- Chris Rygus came out in a VERY form-fitting #8 jersey in the third period. Why? He lost a tooth and had blood stains on his regular #28 jersey. I had to do a double-take when I saw this “8” at the blue-line.
- Tonight wasn’t a Picasso by any means, as both teams made plenty of mistakes. Exciting for the fans, stressful for the coaches. I will say this, yes the Vees had breakdowns but they at least fought through the adversity. It would have been easy to fold like a cheap tent, after seeing the Vipers tie it in the dying moments of the third. BUT, they showed a lot of poise in the overtime periods. At times they were on their heels and at times you thought the Vipers knock-out punch was coming in OT. However, the Vees avoided those blows and won on a judge’s decision.
- I remember saying this nine days ago:Funny how that stuff works out in hockey. Vernon coaches and players were irate about the penalty call in OT. Josh Bryan was behind Brett Beauvais, and brought his stick around trying to chop the puck away. Bryan nailed Beauvais right in the skates, mid stride; Beauvais went down. Any other point in the game, this call draws little to no reaction. I understand the Vernon side of the situation, a penalty-shot called in double-overtime, just after they came back down two goals. Now, if this was Beauvais taking down Bryan, would the Vipers not want a penalty? Bryan’s trip on Beauvais clearly stops an odd-man rush the other way (likely a 3-on-1), and if not called, the Vipers would have had numbers down-low in the Vees zone. The ref did himself no favours by not putting his arm up right away, but in the end it’s the right call. I hate to see the game decided by that call but it’s a tough spot for the referee. Call it and the Vipers are fuming. Don’t call it and the Vees are fuming and the Vipers have a great chance to score immediately.
- The Vipers did have SEVERAL chances before that play to end the game. What? Like two-three breakaways and a handful of bang-bang plays near the net. They should be kicking themselves by not finishing the game well before the penalty call.
- I liked the line of Max Coatta, Anthony Conti and Josh Blanchard (I am accepting potential nicknames for the trio). Five-on-five the three were creating chances in the offensive zone and worked well together down low. Josh Blanchard had two great chances on one shift in the first and Coatta could have had a hat-trick tonight if he didn’t miss from the slot on a play in the first. Good though for Coatta, bagging two tonight and snapping a seven game drought. Anthony Conti was good where he usually is and that’s down low. He uses his size to his advantage and is a tough to get off the puck.
- Riley Alferd will score very soon. He’s pounding on the door. He used his speed to create chances off the rush tonight. Had a goal called off as the referee deemed he blew the play dead before the puck went in. Alferd also hit the post later in the game on another great chance off the rush. He’s been more than snake bitten.
- Oh and it’s great to see the power-play come back to life. It was just 2 for 22 in the last five games but goes 2 for 4 tonight. Some different personnel on both units but in general guys looked to have more confidence. The Vees were zipping the puck around and not hesitating.
- I moaned about the Vees scoring troubles leading up to tonight. First time they scored more than three goals in three games. First time they scored five since October 5th against Alberni Valley.
- Coming into tonight, the Vees scored six goals in their last three games combined. Scored that many tonight and three in the third period alone. Hockey.