Vees Surge Late, Again, Lead 2-0

Game Recap 

Boxscore 

Penticton Herald “Vees in 5” Highlights 

  • Are the Vees a “third period” team? Two games into the series they have scored nine goals in two third periods. Five of their eight goals came in the third last night and four of their six goals tonight came in the final frame. They’ve outscored Merritt 9-0 in the third period so far.
  • How about the offense? 14 goals in two games. To put that into perspective, they scored 18 in seven games in the regular season against Merritt.
  • Last night had an effect on both teams tonight. Early anyways. Assistant Coach Mike Hengen made a very good point in our post-game show about last night’s lopsided win. A game like that and the Vees have to guard against complacency, it’s only human nature to let your guard down after winning big. For Merritt, it lit a fire underneath of them and forced them to be better tonight. They were embarrassed and wanted to prove that was a one-off.
  • Merritt showed much better, especially early, as they were more aggressive and engaged. Luke Pierce commented pre-game that he thought his team thought too much and didn’t just go out and play in game one. Well, they didn’t over think things early and looked like the team I thought we were going to see in game one.
  • I thought the Vees problems early was their fore-check. Tuesday they really got after Merritt, pressured early and often and created chances from that. Wednesday that pressure didn’t seem to be there consistently, until the latter half of the second period. Again, that type of thing can happen when you’re coming off a blowout win.
  • Credit Merritt for not only scoring one but two short-handed goals tonight. In my time with the team, which is almost three seasons, I can’t recall the Vees giving up two short-handed goals in the same game. They only gave up four short-handed goals all season.  On their first, James Neil just out muscled the Vees forward for the puck at the blue-line and then he cashed-in on his own rebound at the side of the net. The second goal was another turnover at the blue-line but this time in the Merritt end. The point-man had pinched down to the wall, tried to turn back but was pushed off the puck by Jeff Wight. Wight spots Pare breaking at centre and makes a great back-hand deke on Hunter Miska. Two shorties on two self-inflected turnovers. That’s why coaches stress puck management.
  • The Vees found themselves down 3-1 midway through the second but give them credit for not throwing in the towel. It would have been easy, being down 3-1 and giving up two short-handed goals. They got back to what works for them late in the frame and were rewarded for a  goal by Cody DePourcq. That goal came off of some great pressure in the Cents’ end and it all started because of a big hit by Nic Pierog on Wayland Williams. Ah, the fore-check. That goal seemed to galvanize the Vees, as they were a much different team in the third. Like I said tonight, they reminded me of a light switch through the first two periods. There were stretches of being “on” but also spells of them being “off.” In the third they found their consistency which was huge. They got back to pressuring Merritt and never did let up throughout the period.
  • How about DePourcq? He has a spirited scrap with Gavin Gould in the first and then scores the Vees second and third goals, late in the second and early in the third. Through two playoff games he has three goals and five points. He has as many goals in two games, then his last two playoff runs combined. Before this season, he had three goals and six points in 30 playoff games; already five points in two this year.
  • Speaking of playoff performers, Nic Pierog loves post-season hockey. He has a goal and five points in two games this year, and for his career he has 10 goals and 15 points in 19 games; steps up where it counts. He was instrumental in the comeback, as I said, setting the tone physically and he set up both of DePourcq’s goals tonight.
  • Brad McClure loves playing Merritt. For his career, including regular season, McClure has 11 goals and 21 points in 15 games against the Cents’. He’s got four goals and six points in two games.
  • McClure, DePourcq and Shane McColgan sit 1, 2, 3 in league scoring after tonight. McClure with his four goals and six points, DePourcq with three goals and five points and McColgan has two goals and five points. Nic Pierog, Erik Benoit and Matt Serratore are also inside the top 10. I know it’s only two games but it’s nice to see six of the top 10 in playoff scoring are Vees. That’s depth.
  • The power-play came full circle Wednesday. Starts off the game by going 0-4 and giving up two short-handed goals, but finished 3-3 on the last three attempts and manufactures the game-winning goal. Quite the gambit of emotions with the PP.
  • Shane McColgan impressed me with how he handled himself after a tough sequence in the first. He had the puck taken away from him that resulted in Merritt’s first short-handed goal. Then it the third he makes everyone forget about that quickly, by scoring a beauty on the power-play. Nice to see a veteran elevate his play when his team needs it the most.
  • The third featured a lot of power-play time for the Vees and helped them get back on track. I know there will be some upset people on the Merritt side but the three power-play goals the Vees netted in the third, were from just two power-plays. Malik Kaila got his stick in Matt Serratore’s face, it knocked his helmet off and cut him open as well. Now, there wasn’t an original penalty on the play, but after some consulting, Kaila was dinged for the four-minute minor. It doesn’t look good but you’ve got to credit the officiating crew coming together to get the right call made.
  • The power-play looked much better in the third and maybe it was the addition of Paul Stoykewych. Coach Hengen said post-game he looked like a confident, hungry hockey player and he did look very comfortable quarterbacking things from the blue-line.
  • A couple of pretty goals scored too with the man-advantage as both Brad McClure and Shane McColgan had rockets. That will help the power-play’s confidence going forward.
  • Merritt played short-handed, starting with 11 forwards and six defensemen but Dane Birks never took a shift. They basically played the game with 11 forwards and five defensemen. I think their penalty trouble was the result of not only tired legs but mental fatigue. They started to chase and got dinged for two back-to-back penalties in the third; chasing is trouble.
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About CBeauchemin

Director of Broadcasting & Communication for the Penticton Vees
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One Response to Vees Surge Late, Again, Lead 2-0

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