Miska, Vees Blank Vernon; Win Ninth Straight

Game Recap Oct 25

GAME RECAP 

BOXSCORE 

  • First, congrats to Penticton Vees Head Coach Fred Harbinson on career win 300 behind the Vees bench. What an accomplishment and that milestone was reached in just a little over seven seasons. A little sweeter that it was done against one of the Vees longest rivals and via the shutout. Now in his eighth season as the Vees bench boss, tonight’s milestone is added to a list of many other significant accomplishments. Personally I’m sure tonight meant a little extra for him and it wsa great to see the Vees deliver.
  • Team defense. That story I think isn’t getting enough play. With tonight’s result make it five straight games the Vees have held their opposition to two or less goals and eight straight games they’ve held them to three or less. Now in their last five games the Vees have only coughed up five goals. They have allowed 12 fewer goals than the Chilliwack Chiefs and Langley River who are tied for second in the BCHL in goals against. As a team, the Vees goals-against average through 13 games is 1.85.
  • Tonight’s win makes this the longest active winning streak the Vees have had since the 2011-2012 season. OK, park it right there, there is a LONG way to go before we starting thinking about “that streak.” The Vees won 42 that year and the RBC Cup. The year after, their longest winning streak was seven games and last year it was eight. Hey, they do have something on the 2011-2012 Vees and that’s the fact they never started 12-1-0-0.
  • Tonight didn’t feel like a 1-0 hockey game. It was much more than what some might perceive as a defensive struggle. Yes, both teams didn’t give up much in the way of space and chances but it was a thoroughly entertaining game. Despite the fact of being scoreless, the first period was fun to watch as both teams had their feet moving early. There was prolonged stretches in the first without a whistle and that’s because both teams hurried up and down the ice. Whenever they two teams get together, you might as well put the whistle in your pocket. They skate so well that it creates little in the way of stoppages. By a rough guesstimate, I would have said there was about seven-minutes in the first where we didn’t hear a single whistle; maybe it was longer.
  • Despite the lack of goals, the first period didn’t lack offensive excitement. The Vees best chance in the first came off the stick of Josh Laframboise. The rookie forward had a shot labeled for the top corner but Jarrod Schamerhorn quickly came across and denied him with an eye-popping glove save. Talking with Laframboise after the game and he said he had to look down for just a moment to settle the puck and that half-second maybe cost him a goal. Regardless, it was one heck of a save.
  • Hunter Miska didn’t want to be upstaged, especially in his own rink, so he came up with a quality glove save of his own. Vernon’s Trevor Fidler found space in the right-circle but his wrist-shot was snatched by Miska; both goalies looked sharp early.
  • Like I said earlier, the first period of hockey was something the BCHL should try to bottle and sell in mass quantities. There was skating, there was hitting, there was great goaltending and there was emotion. Fans weren’t getting short-changed.
  • Throughout the first period and the game, I thought the Vees did an extremely good job at keeping Vernon to the outside-for the most part. Vernon did have 12 shots in the first and another 7 in third, eventually leading them to out shoot Penticton but I thought a majority of those chances were from the outside of the dots or above the circles. For the most part the Vees defensively didn’t give up much real estate in the slot. When there was a breakdown, Miska was there to bail out his team.
  • The Vees much maligned power-play manufactured the game’s first goal seconds into the second period.Nice quick and direct puck movement lead to Dante Fabbro’s third goal of the season. After Anthony Latina was dinged for an offensive zone penalty, the Vees won the face-off back to the point. Tyson Jost and Fabbro had a quick exchange, before Fabbro teeing up a one-timer that beat the Vernon goalie inside the near-post. Nice to see the power-play make a difference and score at key time. The Vees needed all of seven seconds on their first power-play to open things up.
  • Fast-forward a bit and there was a crazy sequence midway through the middle stanza and somehow the Vees could not build on the teams 1-0 lead. On one shift, Tyson Jost, Demico Hannoun and Lewis Zerter-Gossage had quality looks at the net. Hannoun kicked things off by just missing an opportunity to put the puck up high on Schamerhorn after he elected to keep the puck on a two-on-one rush. Soon after Zerter-Gossage had a clear-cut chance to double the Vees lead. Zerter-Gossage caught a tired and flat-footed defenseman up ice, as he won the race to the puck and almost got his second goal in as many games, but the shot was wired off the cross-bar. Soon after Jost showed a burst of speed, as he streaked down the right-wing before dancing around the defenseman. As he moved in towards the net, he tried to stuff the puck back along the ice but Schamerhorn’s pad kept it at 1-0. One of the more bizarre sequences I can remember, as each member of the Vees top-line had a scoring chance, all during the same shift.
  • Vernon had some looks of their own in the second but none better was the chance from Mitch Meek. The defenseman crept down from the point and from the right-circle looked like he had a goal on a one-timer. But Miska slid across from his right and flung out both of his legs for the double pad stack; old school. Via Hockeytube here is a look at that save Miska SaveMiska looked calm and cool all night and there was one stretch the Vipers were buzzing during a second period power-play but he stopped the shots from the outside and tracked the puck well during a prolonged scrambled; he’s dialed in.
  • Going back to the top-line for a second and I’m starting to notice them being a bit more physical and that’s creating some space. We are all well aware of their skill set but their physicality has caught me by surprise. Not only are Jost, Hannoun and Zerter-Gossage dangerous off the rush but the three are creating chances now off the cycle. They protect the puck so well and can create separation with that strength. The three had this one extended shift in the Vernon zone that was a cycling clinic. All three touched the puck several times as they kept the puck below the goal-line. It didn’t result in a goal, a few chances yes, but more importantly it ate up valuable zone time; your opposition can’t hurt you if they don’t have the puck.
  • Miska’s 29 save shutout might get overlooked because it didn’t come with a catalog of eye-popping saves and that’s a testament to his positioning. Miska continually got himself in front of shots, fought through traffic and put rebounds out of harms way.  He was always at the right place and at the right time and that’s a hallmark of a top goaltender. Miska is now a stagger 10-1-0 on the season with a minuscule 1.65 goals-against average and a sparkling .939 save-percentage. He’s tied for the BCHL lead in shutouts with two.
  •  It wasn’t just Miska back there for the Vees as their six blue-liners had solid games. I thought Saturday night was the most confident I’ve seen Miles Gendron this year. The rear-guard was flying up and down the ice, as he showed off his smooth skating ability. He had one great end-to-end rush in the third that even featured him stick-handling around a Vernon defender, before failing to jam the puck in at the post. Gendron continues to grow in the defensive end and now he’s showing that offensive flare we heard about.
  • I thought Jarod Hilderman took another step in the right direction. He was very sound in his own end tonight, as he significantly cut down on the turnovers and he was very good with his stick. One play that sticks out to me was him, from a knee, lunging across his body and poking the puck away from Anthony Latina on a Vernon two-on-one rush. Hilderman has shown this underrated ability to separate attackers from the puck by the way he attacks them with his stick. He’s finding his success defensively not from his physicality but his positioning. The whole back-end pulled up their socks tonight and it showed on the scoresheet.
  • One defensive tendency I picked up tonight and I thought was effective was the Vees patient approach. There was stretches when the Vipers were working the puck along the boards on the outside, but that’s just it, on the outside. The Vees weren’t panicking and allowed Vernon to do their thing as long as they found a way to seal off the middle. The Vees would let any team go have at’er on the outside as they’re not going to let them get in close from the middle.
  • One player who found a chink or two in the Vees armor was Vernon’s Thomas Aldworth. News flash, he’s a talent. Aldworth had that one great deke in the third that he was denied on by a great pad save by Miska. All night Aldworth showed off his wheels and his ability to quickly turn the play up ice. He’s got this great ability to hang onto pucks and have it on a string at times. He’s big, he’s skilled and he’s a handful. I’m looking forward to the game, with the game, which is the Vees matching up against him.
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About frodgers

Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations for the Penticton Vees
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