Post-Game: GM #42 A Grinder from West Kelowna

Game Story 

Boxscore 

  • The Vees talked the talk but they didn’t walk the walk Wednesday. I spoke with several players leading up to tonight and they said in some way or another, that they were eager to bounce back after that two-game sweep before the Christmas break. They said those two losses left a bad taste in their mouth and they wanted nothing more than two points tonight to exact some form of revenge. Well, the bad taste still lingers.
  • The Vees were coming in riding a three-game winning streak and dropped just one point from their first four games of January; they were undefeated. What made them successful on the weekend and what was responsible for their good January start, was noticeably absent tonight. The Vees looked a bit flat-out of the gate, void of a spark that you usually see when they play the Warriors. The Vees intensity level wasn’t up to snuff and they struggled with the finer points to their game tonight. This looked more like an early season effort against a non-divisional opponent. Not a game against a rival and during a tight divisional race.
  • Before I go any further, credit the Warriors for putting together a game plan that they executed it very well. They had lots of jump early, as they threw 14 shots on the Vees net in the first and had some great opportunities as well to open the scoring. The Tribe turned in your prototypical road effort. They didn’t try to be flashy, they kept it very basic but worked their rear-end off and it translated into success. That’s something you rarely see the Vees get beat at, but tonight was one of those nights.
  • “One of those nights” was a phrase I used a few times through the broadcast tonight. It just seemed not to be the Vees night, despite the large and boisterous crowd. They didn’t have much going for them, from sticks breaking at miss opportune times, to hitting their own teammates with shots from scoring areas; heck, even being stopped by a positional player when the Warriors net was abandoned. No matter what happened, or how hard they tried to get on track tonight, it just wasn’t going to go the Vees way tonight. The game-winning goal from Adam Plant, was his first this season and first since March of last season.
  • One of the areas the Vees struggled tonight in was their transition game. Usually their staple, it caused a lot of headaches, as they had a tough time trying to string three passes together. The Warriors certainly had a role to play in that with their stinginess but Penticton was bogged down too many times in its own zone. This team is usually known for how quick they can go from defense to offense and vice versa. That starts with a good first past; then a second. The Vees just couldn’t fire up the breakout the way the wanted to and it weighed down the counter-attack. They were bottled up more than a few times and when that happens, it just slows everything down. When you don’t generate speed, you’re much easier to defend against.
  • It basically comes down to details, sticking to the details. The Vees are usually a team that finds a way to stay on track and follow the details the coaching staff has prepared for a particular opponent. Going beyond the breakout, they seemed to struggle with establishing a fore-check presence in the Warriors end, as they didn’t have much sustained pressure. Where there usually strong, is in the puck retrieval department but tonight they had a tough time getting to the puck first on shoot-ins and then establishing a presence below the face-off circles; they’re usual bread and butter.
  • On the flip side, that’s where I thought West Kelowna excelled at, the details. They never really changed on how they approached the game from minute one to minute sixty. the Warriors put a lot of bodies in the neutral zone to help slow down the Vees attack and it worked. Quite a few times the Vees were trying to move through the middle but were stalled at the Warriors blue-line.
  • We talked about specials teams being the first key tonight and special teams struggled somewhat Wednesday. The power-play went 0-6 but those last two power-plays for the Vees came with seven seconds left in the game. Coming into tonight, the Vees were just 1-21 in their last five games and heap on another six tonight and it’s quite the dry spell. With the addition of Shane McColgan, the Vees had two new looking power-play units to go along with a new breakout. They only had two short practices to work in the two units and practice the new wrinkles. Well, at times on the power-play it looked like two new units trying to learn a new system on the fly.
  • New guy Shane McColgan, looked like a guy who was playing his first game in nearly a month. McColgan showed some flashes of what you expect from him but for the most part was pretty quiet. Look for him to feel more comfortable, and then be more of a factor on the ice as we move forward. He’s still shaking out the rust and getting accustomed to his new surroundings. He also was dinged with a 10-minute misconduct at the end of the second and sat for the first 10 minutes of the third. I didn’t hear what was said between McColgan and the referee, but it did at the time seem a touch heavy-handed.
  • The Vees need to play with more energy from the start to the finish; no shortcuts. They can’t get outworked by teams, especially this time of year when things start to clamp down.
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About CBeauchemin

Director of Broadcasting & Communication for the Penticton Vees
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