Demico Hannoun’s game-winning goal in the second period.
- The Penticton Vees won their sixth straight on Friday and it necessarily wasn’t the way they envisioned how they wanted the game to play out. They had a slow start but did get the all important lead on the road late in the first. They got better as the game moved into the second, including their power-play padding the lead midway through the frame. In the third their priorities turned to their play away from the puck, as they snuffed out the Vernon comeback.
- Their performance was somewhat reflective of the game its self, as both teams fought the puck at times but both teams also traded chances. Last Saturday we saw a very structured and methodical performance from the Vees in West Kelowna. Friday night the game was a bit more open, due to the fact that both teams could really skate. I guess what I’m trying to get at is there was less structure to Friday’s win than the Vees previous wins. But give them credit, they never trailed and found ways to pick up goals when they needed to.
Hunter Miska was, to me, the reason the Vees carried a lead into both the first and second intermission. At the start of the game the Vees were on their heels, as the Vipers had four quality looks on goal inside the first 10 minutes. Assistant Coach Steve Cawley said post-game they didn’t like their start. He said the Vees were too indecisive with the puck, especially in their own end and that created scoring chances for the Vipers. Two saves early in the first stood out for me. The first, was a left-pad save by Miska who came across sliding from right to left to thwart a cross-crease pass. The second, was a point-blank arm save off of TJ Dumonceaux right on top of the crease. The puck was dished out front from behind the net and Dumonceaux one-timed the pass but Miska got his glove arm on the shot. The second period featured his best save of the night. The fine folks over at HockeyTube.net captured this save on video.
- Yes, that was the save of the game, as stated by the voice of the Vipers Graham Turnbull. Wow. With a player falling in his crease, Miska still manages to track the puck through traffic and as he’s falling forward, flings his glove-arm in the air to deny Luke Shiplo on the rebound. They gave Miska the third star in building but he should have been bumped up to the second or even first star. Assistant Coach Steve Cawley said the confidence and self belief Miska has is second to none. That confidence he exudes is reassuring for the guys that plays in front of him.
- The other guy that was in the running for the Vees best player award on Friday was Demico Hannoun. He clearly was motivated to go back and face his former team for the first time and in their rink. The former Viper had the Vees first two goals and his power-play goal in the second turned out to be the game-winner. With his two goals Friday, Hannoun pushed his point-streak to six games. In his last six games the North Delta, BC, product has seven goals and 11 points. It’s not just his offense that’s impressive but his play away from the puck. Assistant Coach Steve Cawley post-game said, in all his time watching Hannoun play in this league and at the Major Midget level, this season is the hardest he’s seen him compete. Hannoun’s defensive play gets overlooked but there was one play that stood out for me. Late in the game, with the Vees up 2-1, Hannoun stepped up on Vipers defenseman Luke Shiplo and laid his shoulder into his chest to force the puck out of the Vees zone. I don’t know if we would have seen that from Hannoun last year.
- Psst, Riley Alferd extended his point streak to five games. Alferd assisted on Matt Serratore’s empty-net goal in the dying moments of the game. In his last five games, Alferd has four goals and seven points. In 57 games last year, Alferd averaged .04 points per-game. Through 10 games this year, Alferd is averaging nearly a point-per game at .09. He’s only two goals away from tying his entire output from last season.
- The Vees back-end might get overlooked in this game, as a lot of the attention went to Hunter Miska. But the group of six turned in another solid performance on Friday. Remember, they’ve been missing their most veteran player and Captain in Patrick Sexton since October 3rd. Mike Lee continues to take steps in the right direction, as he’s learning how to simplify his approach. His deception abilities are second to none, as he can dance around forwards like nobody else, but he’s also learning the sometimes the simple play isn’t a bad option. He’s not overly big in stature but he has this uncanny ability to get pucks off forwards; he’s great with his stick. There were one too many odd-man rushes for the coaches liking but for the most part, the D-core was very sound and hey, they only surrendered the one goal against.
- One of these days the power-play is going to explode. They did score a key goal last night which is encouraging but the Vees has several chances to do more damage with the man-advantage. I guess the good sign is they’ve been producing chances. Their first two power-plays Friday weren’t great but power-plays three through five looked much better and they got some quality looks on net. Just before the Hannoun power-play goal in the second, Tyson Jost and Lewis Zerter-Gossage had great looks at the net during a scramble at the top of the crease. The Vipers goalie Jarrod Schamerhorn was down lying on his back but the puck somehow stayed out. Oh well, it will come. Patience.