Post-Game: GM #43 Goals Hard to Come By

VEES GAME RECAP

Game Story 

Boxscore 

  • Frustration. That would sum up the mood after Friday’s 2-1 loss at the hands of the Centennials. You could hear it in Vees Assistant Coach Steve Cawley’s voice in the post-game interview. You could see it on the players faces at the end of the game and on the bus ride back to Penticton.
  • Wouldn’t you be frustrated if you allowed just two goals against on the road, whilst holding your opponent to 23 shots, yet still lose? I know I would. How many teams can say they held the Cents’ to single-digit shots in all three periods in their rink, where you can be credited with a grade ‘A’ scoring chance by shooting from the darn concession? Think about that for a moment. Nine, nine and five. That was Merritt’s shot totals tonight by period. The tight confines of the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena always seem to lead to inflated shot totals. The Vees however, managed to keep Merritt from hitting double-digit  totals in any of the three periods, including just 14 in the final two periods.
  • The Vees had 13 more shots than the Cents’ tonight and this was in Merritt.
  • There was plenty to like in the loss, as I thought the Vees put together two very good periods (the 1st and 3rd) but maybe that there lays the problem. Consistency may have been a bit of an issue, as the Vees got off track in the second. After tidy first period, where there was hardly any whistles, the Vees got away from their details, as they took shortcuts and that’s when they got in trouble. When I say shortcuts, I mean they weren’t getting back onto pucks quick enough. Supporting the puck carrier became a problem, as  they were outnumbered one too many times. Again, this wasn’t happening in the first or third, as the Vees looked a lot sharper in those two periods.
  • Got to give your goalie some run support, especially on the road. Hunter Miska was solid tonight, stopping another penalty-shot in Merritt too. He made a lot of his saves look routine and that’s the mark of a goalie who’s in position and on top of his game.
  • After Friday, the Vees have only scored more than two goals twice in their last six and just once have they scored more than three goals during that same span. Right now, the Vees are averaging just 2.17 goals-per game in their last six. Defensively, they’ve been air-tight, only coughing up 1.67 goals per game and Friday was the sixth straight game the Vees held an opponent to two or less goals. Yet their record is a pedestrian 3-2-1-0 during that stretch.
  • So, scoring now has come under the microscope, after it looked like their scoring woes were well behind them. This retooled roster has only had two games together so we can’t get too panicked; chemistry builds over time. However, those that are counted on to score and chip in offensively need to be better and that starts tomorrow. Guys who are known to put the odd puck or two in the net aren’t right now, and instead of it being one or two guys, it’s three or six that are snake bitten; everyone is in a funk The McClure’s and Beauvais’ can’t be relied upon to score every night, that’s why the Vees made the moves they did last week; to help with the secondary scoring.
  • In a results oriented business, everyone wants to see an immediate return on a player. Erik Benoit did have a goal tonight (not Brad McClure as credited on the boxscore) and was one of the Vees better forwards. Nic Pierog also had a strong game down the middle, as he had a great chance to score in the second and was a handful around the net. Shane McColgan is still shaking out the rust and it showed at times tonight. He’s got a world of talent but remember, he’s only played 10 games this season before his debut Wednesday; he needs to get some reps in.
  • Encouraging to see the power-play finally get on the scoresheet. Coming into tonight, the man-advantage was on a 1-29 skid but it did produce the Vees only goal, the game-tying marker at the time. However, they did come up empty late in third on another power-play, this when they were down 2-1 too. Baby steps I suppose. The first unit looked a lot more threatening tonight compared to Wednesday and should be that much better by Saturday; chemistry takes time.
  • Got to feel for Brett Beauvais. His family is out visiting all the way from Summerside, PEI and you know he wants nothing more than to score a goal for them. He hit three posts tonight. THREE. Twice in the second period his shots clanged off the iron and again in the third. The last was likely stings the most, as the Vees were down 2-1 at that point and if I’m not mistaken, that was during their sixth and final power-play.
  • Staying with the defense, I thought Jarod Hilderman was the best Vees defensemen outside of Beauvais. How do you know he was playing well? The team had him out on the ice inside the final minute trying to help tie the game; that’s a huge confidence boost for a 16-year-old. Hilderman even had two chances to tie the game, once ripping a shot from the point just wide, and another time, he broke down the middle but  couldn’t get the puck to sit. He didn’t hesitate to rush the puck out of his zone and right down low in the other end on several occasions.
  • The Vees will need to shake the goal tree a litter harder, as they can’t pluck the low-lying fruit anymore. Meaning, this ain’t November-December; at this point, with five teams trying to do whatever it takes to make the playoffs, the goals come less frequently; the game just tightens up.Not a matter of coaching as it is the players finding a way to produce and in the clutch.
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About frodgers

Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations for the Penticton Vees
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