Post-Game #28: Warriors Rally to Stun Vees, Snap Streak

Game Recap Nov 29



  • Everyone will talk about the controversial game-winning goal by West Kelowna’s Brayden Gelsinger. Was it a high-stick? Initially the tip was ruled by the referee in the near corner as a high-stick, as he emphatically waved-off the goal right away. However, they two referees and two linesman huddled at the penalty box for quite some time and during that discussion, the officials concluded that Gelsinger did in fact contacted that puck below the crossbar. From my vantage point and at first look, it looked like the blade of his stick was well over the crossbar when stick met puck. However, maybe the referees determined that when he his stick was moving in a downward motion, he made contact with the puck below the crossbar.
  • Video doesn’t really help in this case as both angles, from the PPV overhead and from the team’s video camera, didn’t have the clear angle that can prove that Gelsinger did indeed contacted the puck illegally. I watched the two angles and thought to myself yes, that’s a high-stick but also thought the video wasn’t conclusive enough. That’s junior hockey though, at this level, where you don’t have video replay and have to live with the decisions on the ice. But that is why I’m and I’m sure Vees fans are a bit chapped.
  • The original call on the ice was no goal and that call was made by the referee in perfect position to make the call. The referee in the corner and was in the best spot to make the call. On video, you can see him immediately wave-off the call and signal high-stick. The other official who lobbied for the call to be reverse wasn’t even in the camera frame when the puck went in. The trailing official was at the West Kelowna blue-line when the puck went in. How on earth can you be 100 percent certain that it was a good goal from all the way down there? Yes, he’s looking directly down at the net but to overturn the call, you have to be certain it wasn’t a high-stick and I can’t believe an official that far away had the best angle, when there was an official 15 feet away making the original call. It sounds like sour grapes but I’m more or less miffed then anything else. Like I said earlier, I can’t be certain it wasn’t a high-stick and I’m broadcasting out of that corner where the goal occurred. So how can the official 150 feet away be so certain?
  • Despite the late game controversy, the Vees were their own worst enemy in that third period, not the referees. They were playing so well through forty-minutes, up by two and only surrendered nine shots through two periods. Nine shots! It was a very structured approach by Penticton in the first two periods, as they hung onto pucks in the offensive zone, ate up zone time and controlled the territorial game. The defense was making smart plays with the puck too, especially in their end so they weren’t stuck inside their own blue-line for any extended period of time. West Kelowna barely had a sniff at the net in the first two periods. Then it all changed.
  • Things started to unravel when the Vees took a careless high-sticking penalty in the offensive zone. A double-whammy, as it was an infraction coaches hate being in the offensive zone 150 feet from your net . Secondly it wasn’t because a player was making a hard play denying a scoring chance; careless play with the stick. Those penalties usually have negative results and sure enough West Kelowna scored on that ensuing power-play to make it 2-1 and that kicked-off their comeback. Head Coach Fred Harbinson had a blunt assessment about that penalty, as he told the Penticton Herald, “We take a ridiculous offensive zone penalty to open the door and then we just lost all regard for our own end of the ice.”
  • That “lost all regard for our own end of the ice,” flared up on the second and third West Kelowna goals as well. On the tying goal, Kylar Hope was allowed skate right to the side of the net and smack a loose puck up and over Hunter Miska. The Warriors were cycling below the goal-line but the Vees got caught watching the puck and Hope moved to the net unabated and made no mistake. Then on the Warriors go-ahead goal, it was a pair of mistakes on the same sequence that result in the Vees going down for the first time. As the Vees were changing, a defenseman made the poor decision to try to dance around two Warriors defensemen at their blue-line without any support. The result was the puck being poked off his stick, sent up ice in transition and as that happened, the Vees failed to pick up on the back-check. Jonathan Desbiens was untouched and WIDE open streaking down the right-wing and he got a pass for the tap-in goal. Two mental errors equals trouble and we saw it on the third West Kelowna goal.
  • Frustrating to watch and I’m sure even more frustrating for the players to see such a solid performance unravel so quickly. But the coaching staff was preaching about minimizing mental mistakes in games like Saturday’s and that in fact was the Vees undoing in the third. Gun meet foot. They weren’t just sharp on the ice in the first two periods but between the ears as well. Then it all came undone and you can’t make that many mistakes against such a talented team like West Kelowna and go unpunished.
  • Give the Warriors all the credit in the world for not folding and mounting an impressive third period rally. The Vees are 18-2-0-0 this year when leading after two periods and 11-2-0-0 on home ice. Their only two losses now have come against West Kelowna. Think about that, the Vees are 18-0-0-0 against the rest of the BCHL when leading after two, and 11-0-0-0 against teams at home not named West Kelowna. The Warriors did what has been the near impossible and comeback and beat the Vees in their own building. Hey, Saturday was just the third time the Vees have allowed more than three goals this year and West Kelowna managed to hit that mark in one period.
  • Warriors goaltender Andy Desautels deserves a lot of credit as he was instrumental in West Kelowna’s comeback. Prior to Saturday, Desautels owned a pedestrian 3.39 GAA and a .906 save-percentage against Penticton this year. Well, he’s now won his last two starts against the Vees and has a .926 save-percentage in those two wins. He made some clutch saves to keep the Vees at two goals when the Warriors were trying to come back. Desauteles made big time saves off Mitch Newsome, Dakota Conroy and Gabe Bast. Yes, you could argue the Vees third goal was a bit of a softy but he also shut the door when he had to and you have to give him credit for that.
  • For West Kelowna, their rally was led by the trio of Kylar Hope, Michael Buonincontri and Andrew Johnson. That line carried the mail, as the likes of Liam Blackburn, Jason Cotton and Jordan Masters, the Warriors top line, was held in check. Hope scored the 2-2 goal and Johnson and Buonincontri assisted on the first two Warriors goals. That line finished with a goal and five points. Hope I thought was the most consistent out of the three, as he looked dangerous in the first and second periods when not many Warriors did. Buonincontri and Johnson, quiet in the first forty-minutes, stepped it up in the third and helped spur on the comeback.
  • I know this is a Vees blog, but I want to give the opposition a fair shake and if I do I have to mention Brayden Gelsinger. Scored the game-winner and setup the 3-2 goal that Jonathan Desbiens scored. Gelsinger now has two goals and four points in two games against the Vees. Great pickup by the Warriors who got him from Cowichan Valley earlier this month.
  • There were some great individual performances turned in by the Vees despite the loss. I thought Miles Gendron had a strong outing, as he built upon his solid outing in Langley. Gendron was great moving the puck but his defensive game was strong, as he was so good in his own zone and he was a big reason why the likes of Blackburn were held off the scoresheet. Gendron was very good in front of his net and with his stick, constantly shutting down the puck carrier.
  • Tyson Jost and Patrick Newell looked sharp upfront, as those two each had a goal and an assist; each setting up the other’s goal. They were good in the offensive zone, as they ate up the zone time by keeping the puck below the circles and behind the net. Newell’s defense is underrated as he has an uncanny ability to get much bigger players off the puck. One play in the first sticks out for me, where he went to the wall against the much bigger Buonincontri but alertly got his stick in perfect position to pry the puck free and start the play up ice. Newell extended his point streak to 15 games in the loss and now has 22 points during the streak, which dates back all the way to October 3rd.
  • Despite the troublesome loss, the Vees finish the month of November with an 8-3-0-1 record in 12 games. Their lead atop of the Interior “shrinks” to 12 points over second place Vernon but the Vipers have two games in hand, so for the benefit of the doubt you would say it’s an eight point lead. A tough loss but there’s a lesson to be learned and the Vees were reminded you can’t fall asleep on any team. This division is too good to not string sixty-minutes together.

About CBeauchemin

Director of Broadcasting & Communication for the Penticton Vees
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