Fred Harbinson Pre-Game
Trail’s Nick Deschenes Pre-Game
Brett Beauvais 1st Intermission
Chiefs Broadcast Marc Fitzgerald, 2nd Interimission
- Not pretty, but two points is two points and these were two BIG points. The Vees were making up a game in hand on Vernon, Merritt and Salmon Arm and didn’t squander the opportunity to pad their lead at the top of the standings. The Vees are now three up on Vernon, seven up on Salmon and nine up on Merritt AND still have a game in hand all three.
- TSN Turning Point: Ben Dalpe’s late, LATE, second period goal. At that point Trail is riding high, they’re up by two, on the road and against the first place team in the Division; confidence soaring. BUT, Trail coughs up the puck in the slot and Dalpe steps into a slap-shot, that he blasts into the top-corner; just 11 seconds on the clock. The Smoke Eaters were 11 seconds away from a 2-0 lead after two periods. Going into tonight’s game, the Vees were 0-4-1-1 when trailing after two. A 2-0 deficit would have felt like being down 5-0 at that point for Penticton. It was a huge momentum swing, as it was the shot in the arm the Vees needed. It was the shot that unravelled a fragile Trail team.
- When this team gets rolling, they’re hard to stop and tonight was further proof of that. That Dalpe goal gave the team the kick in the butt they needed and they carried the momentum into the third. Jack Ramsey got things rolling with a sweet deke as he drove the net from the right-wing. Conti spotted Ramsey from the slot and hit him with a tape-to-tape pass in stride. Ramsey’s got hands folks and he showed that skill again tonight, with a forehand, backhand deke in-tight, which opened Todd up just enough for Ramsey to slide the puck through; he did that dangle at full-speed too.
- That Ramsey goal was the final push the team needed, as they took off from there. Though the team scored the game-winner fourteen-minutes later, they controlled the third from start to finish. Prior to the third, the Vees weren’t spending enough time in the Trail zone, partly because they weren’t hanging on to pucks enough or pressuring their defense enough. Well, that changed, as they ate up time down-low in the Trail zone, grinding out minutes along the boards and in the corners. Those taxing minutes put on Trail’s defenders wore them out, as they were just dumping the puck out to get a breather. That constant pressure and puck pursuit gave the Vees an opening and they took full-advantage. The game-winner was off a turnover just inside the Trail zone, when Cody DePourcq lifted the stick of a defenseman, before Matt Serratore followed up with a wrist-shot from the slot. The Vees weren’t making it hard enough for Trails D in the first forty-minutes but sure made up for lost time in the third.
- There isn’t a secret formula for the Vees success, as their game revolves around structure, tempo and work ethic. Teams say they know what the Vees are going to do; there are no surprises. But it’s a challenge to match the tempo the Vees play at, match their relentless work ethic they put out and match their attention to detail for an entire sixty-minutes At certain points, during this five-game run, teams have had breakdowns in one or more of those three areas and that’s where the Vees take advantage.
- Brad McClure, Brett Beauvais and Max Coatta, the Vees top three scorers, didn’t score or even register a point tonight but they still managed to find a way to win. Instead, it was guys ranked 4th, 5th, 6th, 12th and 14th in team scoring getting the job done; that’s depth right there. Serratore, after going twelve games between goals, has two in back-to-back games. When Serratore and Jack Ramsey score, the Vees are now a combined 7-0-0, and if you include Ben Dalpe they’re a combined 15-2-1-0. Encouraging seeing the younger guys and secondary scorers step up once again and making significant contributions in the process.
- Someone that may go unnoticed is Anthony Conti, who quietly has two goals and seven points in as many games. Coming into tonight, he had points in five of his last six; make that six of his last seven. When he’s “on” he’s a tough forward to handle down-low and in high traffic areas. Not a bad open-ice player either, evidence being the sweet setup on Ramsey’s game-tying goal; now if he can just doing something about that hair…
- Though he only faced 20 shots, Hunter Miska’s performance needs to be acknowledged. He looked sharp in the first when the Vees gave up one too many chances for their liking; he stopped a few in-close opportunities. He was at his best in the final two-minutes when the Smoke Eaters pulled their goalie for the extra-skater. Miska had to contend with a lot of traffic near his net, as the Smokies were buzzing and firing pucks from every which way out of desperation; not easy for a goaltender to deal with. Don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I imagine his “Grade A “save-percentage was quite good tonight.
- Not every win is going to be a Picasso and tonight was maybe winning ugly. But after a so-so first forty-minutes, the Vees saved their best for last and you can’t complain about that. Maybe a win like this helps this team focus for Friday’s game and reinforces the notion that there is truly no weak sister in the BCHL. Yes, like Trail, Chilliwack has struggled but also did erase a three-goal deficit in Penticton a week ago; that means something. Another challenge waits in Chilliwack.