Fred Harbinson Pre-Game
Chris Rygus 1st Intermission
Brad McClure 2nd Intermission
- Entertaining game at the Frank Crane Arena in Nanaimo Saturday, though not the outcome the Vees nor their fans wanted. Not a ton of scoring chances but the game had a good back-and-forth to it, and it did have its share of drama.
- One of my keys prior to the game was “A good twenty minutes,” stressing about the start of this one. The Vees were good, scoring the only goal in the first period and again putting together a solid road period. They frustrated the Clips early, as Nanaimo took three straight penalties in the first eight minutes. The Vees didn’t waste that sequence, as Alex Coulombe scored his first BCHL goal off the rush. Nice play by Cody DePourcq to spot the trailing Coulombe in the high slot. The rear-guard did the rest, as he absolutely hammered the puck off the cross-bar and in.
- The second was a rewrite of the first, as the Vees barely gave the Clippers a sniff in the offensive end and used their power-play to double their lead. It was if the two teams decided to just play the first period over again.
- What (at the time) I thought was going to be a key in the win, was the early goal in the second. Anthony Conti showed a lot of poise by getting in front of the net, back to the goalie, and getting wood on Brett Beauvais’ point-shot. The power-play has been trending in the right direction recently, as coming into Saturday, the power-play was clicking at 27 percent in their last five games.
- Through forty minutes, the Vees had the Clippers all twisted up, frustrated and off their game. Just look at Mason Mitchell getting dinged with a two-minute penalty, a ten minute and eventually a game misconduct with just over six minutes left in the second. The Vees weren’t giving up much ice in their own end and for the most part, the Clippers were stuck on the outside throwing shots to the net from the wings. It was a pretty textbook road performance through the first two periods and they were in the driver’s seat.
- Now, the Vees forwards didn’t accomplish a whole lot either five-on-five tonight. It was odd, considering how dominant they were last night in Powell River. Consider this, they scored six even strength goals on Friday. None Saturday. Oh.
- One of the things that stood out Friday was the amount of puck battles the Vees won in the offensive end. They were hungry and competed their butts off in that win. Saturday, they had their share of offensive zone time, but when it came down to crunch time, I felt they didn’t spend enough time in the Nanaimo zone. Was it fatigue? I don’t think so but when the Clippers started to press in the third the Vees forwards had issues. Maybe the issue was not in the offensive zone but in their own end. The game tying goal was on a turnover, after a soft play trying to clear the zone. The game-winning goal was the same story, the Vees had an opportunity to clear the puck but didn’t. A failed out led to Nic Gushue picking up the garbage and walking into the slot; you know the rest.
- The coaches told the players how hard tonight was going to be, how the Clippers were going to be fired up to play the Vees. They knew the third period was going to be a grind to try and see a 2-0 lead through. But something happened, it wasn’t that new attitude we saw Friday, but that somewhat nervous bunch in road games of the past. A lot of it is between the ears and I hope they can learn from tonight’s disappointing loss.
- Best Vee Saturday? Hands down Paddy Sexton. He was a horse on the blue-line and should have been one of the three stars tonight. He blocked countless shots, some stung more than others, and was a physical presence. He went after the Clippers forwards, threw his weight around and got mean when he had to. His shot blocking was what stood out for me. He took a few good shots right of the shins/feet and was in some noticeable pain. He missed maybe one or two shifts before coming back. Nails.