(Bringing back the “Three Stars” feature to the blog. Below is my three lasting thoughts on tonight’s game)
- Heavy Legs? Where? Three games in four days. Two games in less than 24 hours. Second straight game with just 10 regular forwards. The ingredients of a sluggish performance, right? Well, no. The Vees didn’t show any real sign they were tired, as they scored two first period goals and these weren’t greasy ones either. Heads up play on the opening goal, when Ben Dalpe pounced on rebound in the slot for his 10th. Then he turned to play-maker, when he put the puck on a silver platter for Brad McClure on the power-play (ho-hum, another two-goal game for the Captain), who rifled the biscuit up high over Bo Didur. What a saucer pass by Dalpe, going across the zone and hitting McClure in his wheel house. Were any of the seven goals “cheapies?” The Vees showed some quality finish in the win. OK, big Blake Butzow’s goal was from a fortunate bounce off an Eagles player on its way to the net. But for the most part, the Vees were making plays around the net. Not easy to do when you’re playing out the string of a busy schedule and playing for the second straight night with a short bench.
- Details. It’s all in the Details. Lasting sentiment from this one is how the Vees stuck to their game plan and didn’t go off track. That would have been easy, considering the circumstances I mentioned above, but in games like these, executing the game plan is crucial. Tonight was likely a bit of a grind for the Vees. They were coming off two emotional wins over a close rival, especially Friday’s battle in Merritt. Before you can let Friday’s game sink in, you’re getting up and preparing for a non-divisional opponent back at home. Tonight was one of those night’s emotions wasn’t going to will you to victory, as in this ain’t no Merritt, West Kelowna or Vernon game. This had all the makings of a stinker but the Vees were focused and it showed in their performance. It wasn’t necessarily big plays that jump out at you but a lot of small things done well. In their own end they were stingy, not really giving up a whole lot, especially on the PK. They blocked a lot of shots, didn’t give the Eagles the middle of the ice and was there really any secondary chances for Surrey? The one that comes to mind is their only goal. In the offensive end, it was about using their speed to create space and holding on pucks to find soft spots. Coaches talk about “layering,” a lot and that was evident tonight. Guys were always moving, cycling the puck to create an opening, getting in front of the net and just getting into open areas; they never stopped moving in the offensive end.
- Depth. Yes, Brad McClure scored again… and again tonight but the Vees are getting goals from everywhere lately. Six different players hit the scoresheet and all but three skaters picked up at least a single point; that’s 15 with a point in the win. The first two goals come from two top guys but then you get goals from Blake Butzow and Anthony Conti before Brett Beauvais makes it 5-0. Matt Serratore scored his first in 12 games early in the third before McClure bagged his second. As soon as you become predictable, you’re in trouble. A few weeks ago the Vees were top-heavy in the scoring department and McClure doesn’t appear to be slowing down. But it’s not just ’89’ scoring every goal. It’s those second level guys hitting the scoresheet and when that happens you’re sitting pretty. It’s good to see these guys score who work so hard game in and game out and in practice.