Vees Throttle Eagles, Win 11th Straight

Game Recap Oct 29



  • The message Wednesday was not to take your opponent lightly and the Vees made sure of that. From Start to finish, they pressed and were just too much for an overmatched Surrey team. The Vees didn’t cut any corners or cheat themselves last night as it was a pretty consistent effort from period one to period three.
  • It’s now 11 straight wins for the Vees who have yet to drop a game in the month of October. They’re a perfect 7-0-0-0 as the home team this year and have yet to drop a single point at the SOEC, as they’re now 6-0-0-0 and have won all six games in regulation. The Vees success at the SOEC since it opened in 2008 is well documented but the Vees are starting to look dominant at home once again and that reminds me of a certain Vees squad in 2012.
  • Speaking of the SOEC, it’s been a house of horrors for the Surrey Eagles in the last two seasons. In their last two regular season trips to Penticton, the Eagles have been outscored 17-1 by the Vees. 17-1. Last year the Vees thumped the Eagles 7-1 at the SOEC on December 7th, 2013. Have to feel for the Drapluk twins, Joseph and Brian and Darius Davidson, as those three are the only holdovers from that squad. It’s been long bus rides to the Interior and back in the last two years.
  • In this season series, the Vees have now outscored the Eagles 21-2 and are averaging 10.5 goals per game heading into Friday’s season series finale. The Eagles were overwhelmed on September 19th when the Vees spanked them 11-2 and Wednesday was no different. Remember, Wednesday’s win was without Patrick Sexton, Dante Fabbro and Tyson Jost; all three played back in September against Surrey.
  • Good starts have been contagious for the Vees. If you include Wednesday they’ve now scored first in nine of their last 11 games. I’ve written about this numerous times but having good starts is so critical at this level. Just look at the Eagles, who’ve now lost four in a row and you can look at their starts as a major reason why. In their last four games, the Eagles have now been outscored 9-1 in the first period. So, a big reason why the Vees are winners of 11 straight is the fact they’re getting off on the right foot. One more time: playing catch up hockey kills you.
  • Wednesday’s 10 goals was the highest output at the SOEC this season and highest since the Vees hung nine on the Chilliwack Chiefs on November 30th of last year. Wednesday was the greatest margin of victory for the Vees since they beat up the Coquitlam Express 11-0 two seasons ago on February 2nd, 2013. Also that was the last time the Vees hit double-digits at the SOEC.
  • Assistant Coach Nick Fuher had been saying they wanted more offensive production from their blue-line heading into Wednesday’s game and the players delivered. The six blue-liners Wednesday combined for two goals and nine points in the win. Gabe Bast scored his first career BCHL goal and Miles Gendron picked up his second goal of the season; both have now come against Surrey. The defense Wednesday was not only good in their own end but they really forced the issue at the other end of the ice. Guys like Gendron and Mike Lee were leading rushes and using their skating ability to create odd-man situations off the rush. The Eagles couldn’t handle the Vees transition game and the defense was a big part of that. If it wasn’t them carrying the puck up ice, it was great first passes from the likes of Jarod Hilderman, Bast or Connor Russell. It’s an overlooked skill but one that gets harped on by coaches and that’s a quality first fast; the ability to put the puck on a forwards stick on the breakout. The Vees defensemen were great at getting the up ice in a hurry. Credit the blue-liners for that.
  • I re-watched Bast’s goal and boy, was that a thing of beauty. He not only roofed the wrist-shot on the short-side but the took the cross-ice pass off his skate and in stride kicked it up to his stick before scoring. Hmm. Pretty.
  • Are Riley Alferd, Jack Ramsey and Matt Serratore checkers anymore? The three each scored in the win, combining for three goals and seven points. Ramsey and Serratore were the 1st and 2nd star and Riley Alferd was the Energy Player of the Game. Fitting. The three were known more for their defense coming into this season but now are making a name for themselves offensively. Alferd and Serratore have set career-highs in goals and Ramsey is starting to heat up as well. The coaching staff told that line to have more confidence in the offensive end, take chances and the results have been overwhelmingly positive.
  • Well the two youngest players in the game Wednesday handled themselves quite well. Jordy Bellerive and Griffin Mendel were the Vees two AP’s in place of the absent Dante Fabbro and Tyson Jost. So I didn’t think the Vees could have got younger but they did last night, as two 15-year-olds replaced two 16-year-olds. Bellerive and Mendel play next door at the Okanagan Hockey Academy and play on the OHA’s Midget Prep team. Starting with Bellerive, he looked so strong on the puck and didn’t shy away from the physicality. I didn’t see the stat sheet after the game but there’s a good chance Bellerive led the Vees in hits Wednesday or was close to it. He’s offensively gifted as well and he showed that early on. In the first he almost scored his first BCHL goal on his first BCHL shot. Bellerive took the puck around the net and his backhand just squirted wide of the post. He had great vision as well, as he made a couple slick tape-to-tape cross-ice passes that had me questioning his birth certificate. Mendel was solid on the blue-line and played so well in fact the team gave him some penalty-kill time in the second and third period. Mendel didn’t look uncomfortable and wasn’t shying away from mixing it up with the opposition. He’s a smooth player, as everything he does doesn’t look uncontrolled or sloppy. Calm and collected on the blue-line. He took a penalty in the second but I thought it was a veteran play by him. He knew Joseph Drapluk had a step so he leaned on him to slow him down on his way to the net; he denied a scoring chance. It was one of those plays were its sometimes is called a penalty and sometimes not. Impressive debut by him as well.
  • Can’t write a post-game recap without mentioning Hunter Miska. No he wasn’t the busier of the two goalies but he did make some quality saves Wednesday. His best was thwarting Joseph Drapluk on a rebound attempt in tight. Miska originally had trouble with a shot from the slot, as the puck laid in the crease. Drapluk crashed the net and tried to tuck it past Miska on his glove side but the goalie quickly shot out his left pad for a great reactionary save. Miska now has back-to-back shutouts, as his last win was a 1-0 blanking of Vernon last Saturday. Miska now hasn’t allowed a goal in 127 minutes and thirty-nine seconds of action. The last puck that beat him was back on Thursday, when Brogan O’Brien scored at 12:21 of the third period for Prince George. His numbers are off the charts too. If you look at goalies with a minimum of five games played, Miska is first in all major statistical categories. He leads in wins (11) goals-against average (1.51), save-percentage (.944) and now shutouts (3). Don’t try me with the old “he has a really good team in front of him” line. You could argue that if his numbers weren’t superb across the board. Miska is the best goalie in the BCHL right now. Case closed.
  • Yes they played a struggling opposition but it’s still good to see the power-play get going. The Vees were 3-3 on the man-advantage and that will instill some confidence for the power-play personnel. It doesn’t matter who you play, it’s still impressive to bat a thousand in a game. Remember, this all happened without two key power-play guys in Dante Fabbro and Tyson Jost. After Wednesday’s power-play clinic, the Vees PP went from 15 to 19 percent. Hopefully that performance kick-starts their power-play.

About CBeauchemin

Director of Broadcasting & Communication for the Penticton Vees
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