Road trip continues, as the Vees jumped on the ferry over to Vancouver Island, as they pay a visit to the Cowichan Valley Capitals at the “Big Stick” in Duncan. The Vees started the three-game road swing on a winning note, scoring a 6-3 win in Chilliwack on Friday night; their sixth win in a row.
Ben Dalpe led the way offensively Friday, scoring once and finishing with a game-high three points. Dalpe scored a key power-play goal midway through the second period to give the Vees a 3-2 lead, en route to a three-goal surge that turned the tide in the Vees favour. Travis Blanleil, Jack Ramsey, Steen Cooper, AP Mitch Newsome and Max Coatta also scored for the Vees. Olivier Mantha picked up his 11th win of the season, stopping 36 of 39 shots, including 18 in the first period.
This is the second and final meeting between these two teams, the Vees took the first encounter 5-0 back on September 28th, in Penticton.
- The Vees are 7-2-1-2 in the second game of back-to-backs this season and have outscored their opposition 50-30 in those 12 games; points in 10 of 12 is pretty darn solid.
- Opportunity to push their season-high win streak to seven games with a win over the caps. The Vees are a perfect 5-0-0 in the month of December, that after a 6-3-0-2 November. Common theme during the win streak has been the Vees ability to get scoring from up and down their line-up. Just look back to last night in Chilliwack, where six different players scored in the win and none of them were named Brad McClure.
- Jack Ramsey continues to wheel a hot stick, as the forward has four goals in his last six games and goals in back-to-back games.
- Matt Serratore picked up an assist last night and now has points in five of his last six games (2-3-5). In his first 27 games, Serratore had two goals and five points, and now has three goals and five points in his last six; he’s heating up.
- Those two may be feeling it, but no one is hotter than Ben Dalpe right now. Dalpe pushed his point streak to eight games last night with a goal and three points; Dalpe has five goals and 12 points in his last eight games.
- How much of an impact has Steen Cooper made? Since he and Dalpe and Brad McClure have been put together, they’ve combined for eight goals and 21 points in five games; an average of 4.2 points per-game. The three combined for two goals and five points in Friday’s win over the Chiefs.
- The power-Play is now at 25 percent on the season after last night’s 2-5 performance and they have seven power-play goals in their last 23 opportunities. It’s not just the fact the power-play is scoring but when it is. Last night, they scored twice in 60 seconds on the man-advantage after the Chiefs tied the game with two goals in 43 seconds; clutch.
- Critical for everyone to show up tonight and contribute. The Vees are in the midst of a three-game stretch in two and a half days and can’t afford to play a short bench. After tonight the red-hot Victoria Grizzlies await for a matinée affair at Bear Mountain Arena. Victoria beat Powell River 5-1 Friday at home, that’s the first place Kings they spanked, and are in Alberni Valley tonight. To avoid tired legs the Vees can’t have any passengers tonight. Friday was a good start, as they used most of their bench from start to finish; dot it all over again tonight.
- A couple line-up notes, as Cam Amantea draws back in after missing the last six games. Chris Rygus also checks-in after missing last night’s game with the flu. Hunter Miska gets the start and is looking to win his fourth straight start.
- The Capitals have stumbled since the beginning of November, as they won just three times since November 3rd, posting a 3-12-0 record. They’ve just have two wins in their last 13 but did post a 2-1 victory over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs Friday; the team they’re fighting with for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Island Division.
- Last night’s win was critical, as the Caps had lost their previous three meetings to the ‘Dogs, all of those coming in their last six games; the gap was just down to two points before Friday’s win.
- It’s a two-headed attack upfront, with Myles Powell and Dane Gibson leading with 31 and 29 points respectively; Powell leads the team with 12 goals. Cowichan Valley is considerably young upfront, with just one 20-year-old forward but eight that are 18-year-olds or younger, including three 16-year-olds.
- It’s a retooled blue-line, as Head Coach Bob Beatty has recently brought in veterans Valik Chichkin, Matt Berry-Lamontagna and former Vee Clint Filbrandt via trade. Robin Gusse has shoulder the load in-goal for the Caps, as he’s started all but five of Cowichan’s games this season and was tagged with the loss against Penticton back on September 28th; he allowed five goals on 26 shots.