Not necessarily a bounce-back win for the Vees, as they played well on Saturday but Wednesday they were rewarded for their hard work. Another solid effort put forth tonight, which saw the Vees explode for a four-goal second period to go up by five after two periods; the third just a formality.
The Vees leap-frog Vernon and Merritt for first place in the Interior Division with 33 points, one better than the Vipers and Cents’ and the Vees have games in hand. Every Divisional game holds so much important to it and the Vees were prepared for the Vipers.
Vees record now jumps up to 15-5-1-2 and their home record moves to 9-1-0-1. The Vees are now 7-3-0-1 against their Division and have won four of their last five games against Interior Division teams.
- A key that was discussed on the radio tonight was speed and puck retrieval and those seem to go hand-in-hand. The Vees kept their feet moving tonight and looked like they won a lot of races to pucks. It’s hard to carry and hang onto pucks in the offensive end against teams that are big on the blue-line. The Vees found success in making soft chips along the boards and in the corners and tracking down this dump-ins. When they did have the puck, they were good at constantly keeping their feet moving and changing their angle of attack. They would make subtle cutbacks or reverse plays that forced the Vernon defense to chase. That approach created space and that resulted in a bevy of scoring chances. Pucks went into corners, Vees went after them, Vees came out with them.
- It was a big night at the SOEC, two long-time rivals going at each other, with a large crowd on hand due to a special promotion. There was a certain buzz in the building leading up to puck drop and Patrick Sexton and Liam Coughlin set the tone with a good scrap four seconds in. The two threw knuckles at the Vees blue-line and both players landed some quality shots to the head and body. Neither player buckled and you knew it was going to be a battle from then on.
- The Vees looked ready from the puck drop and were rewarded for their hard work late in the first period. It took probably longer than they wanted to but Anthony Conti’s goal was after a dump-in and race to the puck. Max Coatta darted back behind the net before serving Conti a pass in the bottom of the circle; there’s the puck retrieval key coming up again. Not a snipe by any means but the Vees spent a lot of time in the Vernon zone leading up to the goal; a goal on merit.
- Any team plays better with the lead but the Vees really do thrive off of good starts and not playing catch up hockey. They’re now 11-2-0-2 when they score first and 11-0-0-2 when leading after the first period. They out shot the Vipers 9-3 in the opening period and honestly could have had a bigger lead.
- Prior to the came, I wrote in my pre-game write-up that success for this team comes when they have contributions from everywhere in their line-up. Well, tonight the Vees had goals from five different players on three different lines. Five Vees also had two or more points and seven players registered at least one point. Anthony Conti, Cody DePourcq scored before Brad McClure got on the score-sheet. McClure did score but wasn’t a focal point in the offense and that isn’t a bad thing. Other rose to the occasion and that’s going to be needed going forward.
- Another topic I shed light on in the pre-game story was the need for the Vees to attack the net and get traffic out front. They did both on Wednesday, as there was a noticeable effort by the team to get to the blue paint. Three of the Vees goals tonight were from guys taking the puck to the “greasy area.” When this team is playing well it’s because they’re rolling up their sleeves and going to work.
- I liked the line of Jake Ahlgren, Riley Alferd and Matt Serratore; another strong outing for those three. Alferd may have been the strongest out of the three but that line has gained the coaches trust, as they were given major minutes. Alferd stands out because he never stops moving and annoys the opposition because of that. He was all over the place, skating laps in the offensive zone and worked the puck well down low below the circles. All three forwards were used on the penalty-kill and helped shutdown the Vipers PP.
- A few others were feeling it and that’s going to have to continue. Cody DePourcq scored again, and again it was a highlight reel goal. After going between his legs on Saturday, DePourcq scored while diving away from the net. He lunged for a rebound and as he was falling to the side, put a wrist-shot past the goaltender on the far side. His three points gives him nine goals and 20 points in 23 games. Anthony Conti scored his seventh of the season and third in three games; points in five of six. DePourcq’s winger Travis Blanleil had a big night as well, scoring once and finished with a three points, that snapping a four game pointless streak.
- Brad McClure doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down anytime soon. He scored his team leading 17th tonight and now has run his point streak to six games (7-5-12). The Captain always seems to know when his team is counting on him to score a big goal.
- Brett Beauvais had his six game point streak come to an end in the win. In those six games, Beauvais had one goal and 13 points.
- Speaking of streaks, the Vees didn’t let the line of Dexter Dancs, Michael McNicholas and Liam Coughlin record a point. Those three each had six game points going into’s Wednesday’s clash.
I would like to thank Neil Jamieson from Underwriters Insurance for putting on a great night. He was instrumental in getting the car raffle organized and put a lot of time and effort in making Wednesday night happen. Thanks NJ!