Post-Game #52: Goals Dry Up, Win Streak Too

Game Recap 


Penticton Herald “Vees in 5” Highlights 

  • The Vees scoring issues popped up again Friday, as they were held to just 1 goal for the 12th time this season. Yep, 12 times they’ve been held to 1 or less goals in a game. Twice they’ve been shutout so, it’s 10 times they’ve scored just one goal in a game and twice none. That’s 23 percent of their schedule where they’ve scored only 1 or less goals.
  • The Vees were prepared for a physical game and it was from start to finish. Vernon players were going out of their way early to finish checks, especially down-low on the fore-check. So much so, the Vees were getting odd-man rushes and chances off their transition game, as the Vipers were caught a few times behind the play, because they were finishing a check. Vernon clearly wanted to make the Vees feel their presence right from puck drop, as they had guys going hard at the Vees defense, throwing their bodies anywhere near a blue sweater. It was effective early, as the Vees did turn over a few pucks early but for the most part did well to adjust.
  • Hey, the Vees were throwing their weight around too, as they got a few good licks in on Vernon.  Chris Rygus put a shoulder into Brendan Persley, that saw the Vipers forward helicopter off the hit. He stayed down for a few moments, Persely did, before dusting himself off and continuing on. Riley Alferd, pictured above, also had a noticeable hit while playing on D.
  • It was obvious the Vipers were targeting Alferd in the first, as he had quite a few Vipers come his way trying to get a piece of him. Alferd was playing on the back-end in place of Alex Coulombe and considering the circumstances, handled himself. Alferd took some abuse but didn’t fold and I don’t recall and glaring turnovers off his stick. To be honest, I don’t think the Vipers physicality was a real issue. The defense adjusted to the Vipers approach and for the most part, weren’t hampered by their counterparts willingness to throw the body.
  • Though physical, I thought the big story was more the incredible pace it was played at. Both teams had the pedal to the metal and were taking turns rushing up and down the ice in the first 30 minutes-ish. They each had 10 shots in an up and down first period that had a really good flow. The game, as excepted, tightened up in the third, as the Vipers tried to slow things down when they were nursing a 2-1 lead. Can’t blame them, smart strategy in clogging things up, with a speedy Vees team on the other side.
  • flukey start, as Patrick Sexton, yes notable sniper, opened the scoring in an unconventional manner. The Vees got the puck in off the opening face-off, it was reversed to the far-side, where Sexton was guarding the blue-line. Puck came to him and he sent a wrist-shot to net hoping for a tip or rebound. However, the puck started to sail high but Vipers defenseman Riley Guenther reached up to glove down the floater. However, it turned disastrous, as Guenther inadvertently punched the puck up and over Austin Smith. 1-0 Vees just 17 seconds in. Credit Vernon, as they could have wilted after that goal and let the Vees walk all over them but they didn’t, and recovered quite well.
  • I don’t know if the Vees really let an opportunity slide when up 1-0 in the first. It was a lucky goal but they didn’t really have a most-score opportunity after that. Both teams were fairly even, both goaltenders were great in the first and no one else could put a puck past a goaltender on the next 19 shots.
  • Tying goal was just a nice play made by the Vipers top-line. Liam Coughlin gave it to Dexter Dancs on the right-wing, who then found Coughlin in the middle of the zone. I think everyone expected Coughlin to shoot but he quickly went back-door to Michael McNicholas for the one-timer into the open net.
  • The winning goal wasn’t earned on regularly play, which can be frustrating from a Vees perspective. The effort leading up to the penalty-shot was earned but the fact a team doesn’t beat you five-on-five is irritating. Hey, Dancs found a soft spot between the defense, found an extra gear to get a step and was justifiably awarded the one-on-one showdown. I want to apologize to Patrick Sexton, as on the broadcast I said it was he who hauled down Dancs, it wasn’t, as Chris Rygus was the culprit. But it wasn’t a foolish play on Rygus’ part, as he did what he’s suppose to do; try to stop a scoring chance at all costs. Well, I guess this is how Vernon felt after Brett Beauvais scored on a penalty shot in double-overtime in late October.
  • I hope this doesn’t get buried on the blog but Olivier Mantha was fantastic. He gets the loss and somewhat unlucky to have the ‘L’ stamped beside his name. He was making his first start since January 31st and was very good in that opening period and in fact, all three periods. In his last two starts, the Vees have scored a whopping two goals. Combined. He’s not getting the run support.  He’s 0-2 in his last two starts, with a 2.06 goals-against average and has a .911 save percentage. He had a good sequence late in the first, stopping two bang-bang chances on the doorstep during a delayed penalty call against Penticton. In the second he made an underrated save off of Brett Mulcahy, who made a move to elude a defender in the right-circle, but Mantha squeezed his legs on the shot. If you look at the two goals, you can’t fault him on either one. The first was a nice tic-tac-toe passing play by the Vipers first line, and the second was a damn penalty-shot against one of the hottest forwards in the BCHL right now.
  • His counterpart was as good, maybe not sexy but Austin Smith got the job done. I thought he looked a tad uncomfortable early after the Vees scored that bizarre goal but as the game wore on, he seemed to settle in. He didn’t look like the most technically sound goaltender tonight, as he let out his rebounds but he kept the puck out of the net.
  • Our three keys were as follows: 1) Special Teams 2) Transition 3) Physical Play. All three had their finger prints on the game. Both teams were physical, no question there but I thought the Vees got away from that in the second and third. Great at laying the body early bit I thought needed more of that in the second and third. The transition games had trouble at times, due to Vernon being in the way. Vernon were good at standing up in the neutral zone, notably the area between their blue-line and the red-line; that bottled things up. The Vees passing wasn’t the crispest either, as they seemed to be disjointed at times, in particular when they were trying to break out.  Vernon shoulders some of the blame, as they were quite active in the neutral zone and were good with their sticks in taking away passing lanes. Finally special teams, and that’s obvious which department struggled tonight. The Vees didn’t come up with one power-play goal on six tries. Frustrating considering they lost only by one goal and by another 2-1 score. What if they DID score on the power-play? How much different would the game have looked? At times the power-play looked real threatening, and other times it looked out of sorts; we saw the full spectrum. Vernon did do a good job at blocking quite a few shots, especially anything that was coming from the blue-line or at the top of the circles.
  • Was it a lack of shot attempts? Don’t think so.  Assistant Coach Mike Hengen said on the Post-Game the point-man didn’t had a tough time adjusting on the power-play, to what the Vernon PK was doing. Shots weren’t getting through and that threat from the blue-line was eliminated. Usually teams have to be careful of the likes of Brett Beauvais, Jarod Hilderman and Brad McClure up high on occasion. Not tonight. I’m curious to see what those adjustments will be tomorrow / tonight.
  • Bottom line, if you go 0-6 on the power-play, 0-3 in the third period, you’re probably not going to win. At this juncture of the schedule, games are tight, scoring gets harder, so you need to make the most of the opportunities you get, especially on the man-advantage. The Vees didn’t. The power-play has been yo-yoing of lately, as it was 0-6 tonight but 3-4 Saturday, but then again 1-6 last Friday. The need to find some consistency with the PP. A remedy? More confidence. I think they there was a bit too much indecision on both PP units. Grip it and rip it boys.
  • Early on I liked the looks of Matt Serratore, Max Coatta and Josh Blanchard. For about 30 minutes of tonight’s games, they were arguably the Vees most effective line, but they got split up, as the Vees started to jungle the lines in hopes of kick-starting the offense.
  • All the talk after tonight was about the Vees lack of finish both at even strength and on the power-play. How do you exactly going about fixing that? This isn’t a new problem, as the Vees for the most part, have struggled to score regularly all year. It’s not like there’s an answer written in a book somewhere. The Vees got enough chances to win tonight but flat-out missed too much, and missing the whole net at that. Nothing drives me more crazy, than seeing a guy find a scoring area but not even forcing the goalie to make a save, or get the puck on net to create a rebound. That happened one too many times tonight. Short answer: they need to bear down.
  • They did get into scoring areas but did they get close enough? I thought the Vees had a hard time getting within that last 15 feet to really test the goalie. Again, Vernon was good at collapsing in front and creating a chaos around their net when the Vees came at them. Tomorrow against Victoria this team will need to find a way to get to those “dirty” areas more.
  • I liked the comment made by Coach Hengen post-game, when he said they needed to hang onto pucks more. Sometimes your better served holding onto the puck, rather than just throwing it towards the goal. This team’s bread and butter comes from sustained pressure in the offensive end; working the cycle. I thought that was spotty at times tonight, as the Vees could have leaned on the Vipers defense more. When you’re hanging onto pucks, “using your layers” you can tire a team out and that’s when chances pop up.
  • The beauty of hockey at this level, is the Vees get an opportunity to quickly put this loss behind them with a game tomorrow against Victoria. A win and Friday soon fades away.



About CBeauchemin

Director of Broadcasting & Communication for the Penticton Vees
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