- It didn’t take very long for Steen Cooper, Josh Laframboise and Patrick Newell to generate some chemistry. The new-look line, which made its debut Friday, had three goals and eights points collectively. Cooper and Laframboise each had a goal and two assists and Newell had goal and an assist. The three looked super comfortable with one another and that’s just with a week’s worth of practice.
- Laframboise and Cooper both now have two goals and five points in their last three games respectively. The two had been playing with each other before, as they were teamed up with Mitch Newsome to start the year and the chemistry is evident.
- What an odd start and it could have been deflating for the Vees. Remember the scenario: its their home opener, with a good crowd on hand and the Silverbacks score first and short-handed. Ballon popped? Hunter Miska misplayed the puck behind the net and Nic Hutchison capitalized just eight-minutes into the first. This COULD have deflating but the Vees bounced back quickly and Miska didn’t allow another goal the rest of the way, stopping the next 23 shots he faced.
- So the power-play was in a bit of a slump heading into Friday’s game. Going back to the third period of their first game this year, the Vees were 0-20 in their last three games and one period. Great to not only see the Vees respond quickly to the Salmon Arm goal but to do so with the man-advantage. Simply goal too as Tyson Jost setup Dante Fabbro for the one-time from the middle point. Nothing complicated about the equalizer, as Fabbro leaned into his slap-shot that blew through a crowd and past Angus Redmond’s blocker. Shoot the puck and good things happen.
- The first period wasn’t the Vees best as they did have a tough time breaking out of their zone and making the first outlet past. First, credit Salmon Arm early for bringing plenty of pressure with their fore-checkers which gave the Vees fits. Second, the Vees were trying to force too many passes up the middle in the first and that got them in trouble. However, like every good team, the Vees made an adjustment in the second and were much better with the puck in their own end. A big reason why they cleaned things up was better support from their forwards for their defense. Guys were coming back in their own zone and providing a better outlet opportunity for the puck carrier. Decision making too, as the defenseman were quicker to dump ins and didn’t hang onto the biscuit as long. It’s the small things.
- Also, as Assistant Coach Nick Fuher said post-game, their gap control was much better in the second and third periods. The Vees weren’t giving Salmon Arm so much time and space with the puck and really forced the issue when the ‘Backs were trying to step over the Vees blue-line.
- The Vees game turned around in the second offensively as the Vees gave the Silverbacks a taste of their own medicine, so to speak. The Vees fore-check made some tweaks and they started to pressure better in the Salmon Arm end and at their blue-line. The ‘Backs started to get in trouble with the puck and the Vees thrived on those offensive zone turnovers.
- Great to see Patrick Newell get the “monkey of his back” and finally get his first goal as a Vee. As we were saying earlier on the broadcast, if he can just get one the flood gates might just open. He made a nice move on his goal in the second, which proved to be the game-winner, as he came down the middle and cleaned up his own rebound. His original shot was blocked but it took a favorable bounce and he scooped the back-hand up and over a prone Angus Redmond. Newell had a lot of jump in his game on Friday and he seemed to be all over the ice. Hopefully Friday’s performance is a tipping point.
- Also good to see Demico Hannoun hit the scoresheet again. He’s got three goals in five games but you still have the feeling he hasn’t fully hit his stride yet; that’s a scary thought. He showed some good smarts in the third when the Vees were on the power-play. Redmond lost his goalie stick, so Hannoun walked out of the corner and went five-hole for his second in three games. Hopefully tonight he can show how impactful he really can be.