Post-Game #25: Late Rally & OT Magic in 3-2 Win

Game Recap Nov 21




  • Friday’s word of the day was “persistence.” The Vees were just that in the third period, as they had a determined effort to tie the game, which they did, then they still had some gas in the tank for some overtime magic. Down 2-1 entering the third, the Vees didn’t panic, looked very composed and didn’t break from their game plan. That patient, persistent approach paid off in the end as Pat Newell tied it with under three-minutes left in regulation.
  • From a Merritt perspective, it was a rotten bounce that saw the Vees tie the game. Newell had his centering pass from just above the right goal-line go off Jake Clifford’s skate and underneath Anthony Pupplo. Newell was trying to pick out Demico Hannoun on the other side of the net but the puck got the inside of Clifford’s left skate instead and deflected in.
  • I say it was an unfortunate bounce from a Merritt perspective but it was a well-earned bounce from a Penticton perspective. The Vees were all over the Cents’ in the third, putting 13 shots on net to Merritt’s two and dominated the territorial battle. The bounce was some karma I suppose after the Vees couldn’t catch a break for over 55 minutes. The Vees had their chances tonight, as they were around the Merritt net quite a bit but couldn’t really get a bounce. They were foiled more than once by a bad bounce, a near miss, a blocked shot or whatever else you could imagine. Some believe you generate your own luck in hockey and I guess the Vees earned their luck tonight. It didn’t come right away but they didn’t get frustrated and the Vees finally got rewarded with a favourable bounce in the third.
  • Just before the tying goal, the Vees had some great pressure in the offensive end, as it seemed like someone pressed the tilt button on the pinball machine. The Vees were hungry for an equalizer and the Cents’ were hanging on trying not to let the 2-1 lead slip. Not sure if Merritt can really be too upset how that third played out, considering their were on full defend mode for much of the period. Hey, they only mustered two shots on net in the period and were trying to grease out a 2-1 win on the road. They had their hands full with the Vees late push.
  • Not many probably noticed but if it wasn’t for Dakota Conroy’s fore-check behind the Merritt net, the Vees probably would have never tied the game late. Conroy raced after Shane Poulsen behind the net, separated him from the puck and then gave it off to Newell, who worked a give-and-go with Tyson Jost before tying it. Conroy got on his horse, leaned on Poulsen, which is no easy feat, then got himself parked in front of the net for the power-play. A veteran move but a savvy forward and that’s why the Vees got him
  • Conroy looked great on a line with Lewis Zerter-Gossage and Connor Chartier. Conroy and Zerter-Gossage are two big bodies and Chartier plays a heavy game. The three was using their size and strength to their advantage, as the were a handful in deep. Conroy made a nice play in the first, setting up Zerter-Gossage in the slot, who was somehow thwarted by Anthony Pupplo, who made a great save point-blank. Chartier played a real in-your-face style Friday as he was around the net all game; once he was in it too. Despite not getting a goal, I thought Friday was one of Zerter-Gossage’s most determined efforts as he built upon his good showing Wednesday. LZG used his size to create space and won his share of puck battles; he took the puck to the net with purpose. No points Friday but they’ll come for him and his new-look line soon enough.
  • Demico Hannoun knows how to turn it on when he needs to. The veteran was great in the third period and overtime after a quite first 40 minutes. Hannoun stepped up when he needed to and looked like a man on a mission in third. He had one shot just miss on a third period power-play, as he his one-timer just caught a piece of the post / goalie. He had a couple more chances, including a cannon of a shot that he just missed on the blocker-side off the rush on the right-wing. He could get an honorary assist on the game-tying goal, as he was in a position to receive that Pat Newell pass, which ended up banking in. If Hannoun didn’t sense to slide into open space on the weak side, there would have been no need for Newell to pass it. The best from Hannoun was his cheeky saucer pass to Tyson Jost in overtime. The Vees were against the ropes early in OT but on their only chance they scored. As they got the puck out of their own zone after sustained Merritt pressure, Hannoun carried the puck in on the right-wing, held up just enough to buy time for Jost to race into the play, then threaded the needle on a saucer pass that landed right on Jost’s stick.; perfectly timed. Hannoun wasn’t effective for the entire game but showed up when it mattered.
  • The Vees blue-line had a pretty solid night, outside of the one-even strength goal against. I thought Mike Lee put together another strong performance at both ends of the ice. He was great in his own end, using his positioning to get Centennials off the puck on more than one occasion. He almost tied the game in the third, as he found open ice in the right-circle but his wrist-shot missed on the blocker-side. Mile Gendron was going tonight too, as he was flew up the ice quite a bit and almost scored on a redirect at the side of the Merritt net. Gabe Bast, Dante Fabbro, Jarod Hilderman and Patrick Sexton were solid too, as all six contributed in some way, shape or form. No one was dragging their rear-end on the blue-line.
  • Hunter Miska will get a lot of the blame on the Cents’ first goal but I think it was a play that the defenseman has to take some of the responsibility. Miska had to race to a puck after he and the defenseman got caught in  the “you take it, I got it” situation. I know the d-man wanted to stay wide for the outlet but I thought he needed to go back for the puck himself. It was a bit out of Miska’s way to try to race it down in the circle. He missed, a total whiff on the clearing attempt, and Colin Grannary had the easiest goal of his young BCHL career. Hey, those things happen in junior hockey. Outside of that mental gaffe, the Vees were pretty tidy in their own end.
  • Both teams were good in their own end, especially in the first period. It was hard to get to the net on Friday, as the defense on either side did a good job boxing out forwards. Even when the Vees were pressing in the third, the Cents’ were being physical, leaning on Vees forwards who tried to fight through heavy traffic; getting to the net came at price.
  • The Vees had their penalty-kill streak end in the win. Going into the game, the Vees hadn’t surrendered a power-play goal in six straight games, dating back to November 5th. Despite the Poulsen power-play goal in the second, the PK looked sharp. The Vees PK came up large killing-off that Cam Amantea penalty late when the Vees were still down 2-1. A power-play goal there by Merritt and that would have been the game.
  • I know Merritt was upset with that Amantea hit on Grannary which drew the penalty; I think the bench wanted more than two minutes. But if you go back and watch it, Amantea came behind Grannary’s left shoulder in the middle of the Vees zone. He made contact with his left arm and the upper back and not Grannary’s head, so no blow-to-the-head penalty. I think the two-minute cross-check was the right call. I know Amantea wanted to go into Grannary’s side but next time he has to go out of his way to lead shoulder first to avoid such a call; Hard to get the angle on a the guy when coming from behind.
  • A scuffle after that hit broke out and the result was Patrick Sexton dropping the mitts with Daniel Nachbaur. I’m not a fighting advocate but I thought Sexton’s timing was commendable. The Vees weren’t playing poorly but were trailing at the time of the scrap and seeing their Co-Captain sacrifice himself for the rest of game, no doubt provided a shot in the arm going down the stretch.You hear about “picking your spots” and I think Sexton did just that. More of a wrestling match as both combatants lost their footing but both got a shot or two in before hitting the deck.
  • Overtime was nerve-wracking for Vees fans as the Cents’ found a second win. They didn’t look like a tired team, as Diego Cuglietta and John Schiavo were buzzing off the face-off in the Vees zone. Both of them had their chance to win the game, including one attempt just going off the side of the Vees net. That was Merritt’s first OT loss in five games; the Vees are now 4-1-0 in the extra frame. One chance is all they needed. To use a boxing analogy, the Vees were on the ropes early but just waited to landed the knockout blow.
  • A fun game, that lived up to the pre-game billing. Round two is back in Merritt Saturday and that building always produces drama; should be fun.

About CBeauchemin

Director of Broadcasting & Communication for the Penticton Vees
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