- Funny how things work themselves out in hockey. Saturday’s game against West Kelowna ended in controversy, as the Warriors appeared to have scored the game-winner with a high-stick but the evidence was ultimately inconclusive. The Vees biggest beef about the goal was the way the officials went about overturning the original “no goal” call on the ice. Fast-forward to Wednesday and a similar controversial moment strikes just 20 seconds into the game. Of course it did. Jack Ramsey striped the puck from a Smokie and rifled a shot from the bottom of the left-circle over the left-shoulder of Adam Todd. The puck went in and out quickly, the red light went on, the Vees started to celebrate but the referee waved it off. Then in all the confusion, the Smokies went the other way with the puck and Charlie Zuccarini hit the crossbar on a breakaway. Well then. Credit Grant Tyson and Dustin Minty, the two referees, for getting together with their linesman and getting the call right. After a short discussion the four officials concluded that the Ramsey shot did indeed go in. The Vees have now been on both sides of it, so to speak, in the last two games. I guess it eventually all balances out in the end.
- What if Zuccarini scored on that breakaway? What a mess that would have been for the referees and off-ice officials to sort out. They would have realized the Ramsey goal went in, then would have had to wipe out the Zuccarini goal and reset the clock to the point Ramsey scored. Luckily for all parties that situation was side-stepped.
- Great response by the Vees after a lackluster finished against West Kelowna in their last game. Their first shift sets the tone, with a hard fore-check leading to an early goal and they never looked back after that.
- What a moment for 15-year-old Jordy Bellerive, who was called up from the Okanagan Hockey Academy. Bellerive scored his first BCHL goal just over a minute after Ramsey made it 1-0. Great vision by Mitch Newsome to find Bellerive in the right-circle for the drop pass. Newsome appeared to be taking the puck around the net but as he went below the goal-line he slung the puck back to Bellerive in the circle. Bellerive showed off his great release, firing a hard wrist’er over the right-pad and just under the blocker of Adam Todd. Not only his first BCHL goal and at the ripe old age of 15 but a nice goal too; a goal-scorers goal. It was great to watch his reaction when the puck went in but better yet was the reaction of the other Vees on the ice; they were as excited. Just watch the highlights above and see how the veteran players react, especially Patrick Sexton. They get it. Bellerive took to Twitter post-game to share a great moment:
- The kid had a great game outside of his first BCHL goal. Bellerive looked right at home on a line with Cam Amantea and Mitch Newsome. In the second period he laid out Trail’s Stephen Penner. That’s 5’10, 185 pound Bellerive throwing down 6’5, 210 pound Penner. The Trail defenseman tried to wrap up Bellerive at the blue-line but the Vees forward was having none of it and put his shoulder into Penner and he went down hard. Remember, that’s a 15-year-old giving up seven inches and 35 pounds but not looking phased at all. If that wasn’t enough, Bellerive almost scored a second in the second, when he nearly caught Adam Todd cheating off the post on the blocker-side. Bellerive was more than deserving of the first star.
- The Vees had some terrific pressure in the second period but couldn’t break through to get that insurance marker. The majority of the second, outside of a Trail power-play, was spent in the Smokies zone. The Vees cycle game excelled, as they were very good at going low to high and vice versa. The constant puck movement to the points and back down low created opportunities for the Vees but the Smokies, to their credit, kept funneling back in front of the net to cut down on shooting opportunities. The best chance in the second for the Vees was on a power-play, as Demico Hannoun got that one-timer on the off-wing but Todd came across to make an excellent blocker save. No goals came in the second despite the all that zone time but the Vees didn’t get frustrated and that persistence carried over to the third.
- It would have been easy for the Vees to drop their heads and feel sorry for themselves after not getting rewarded for all that work in the second. However, they stayed composed and persisted and it paid off early in the third. Dakota Conroy, Cody DePourcq and Connor Chartier had a really strong game, especially in the third and that line got that crucial third goal. After some great work by Miles Gendron to get the puck in deep, Conroy walked out of the corner and went over the glove of Todd to give the Vees a 3-0 lead five-minutes in. That line was buzzing in the third period. Chariter somehow got by three Trail defenders and created a partial breakaway but his five-hole attempted was squeezed by Todd. Then Conroy was robbed on a late breaking two-on-one rush with Dante Fabbro, as Conroy’s one-timer was just kept out by Todd’s pad. It seemed that line had something going every time they were on the ice in the third period.
- Great effort by Adam Todd in a losing effort. I wrote pre-game how his numbers weren’t great against the Vees, as he had a 4.58 goals against average and a .833 save-percentage in the previous two starts but he was excellent Wednesday. If Todd didn’t play the way he did in the second and in the third, stopping those chances I just wrote of, the Vees would have won this game handily. Todd gave his team every opportunity to get back into the game.
- Hunter Miska quietly went about picking up his 16th win of the season. Unfortunate his shutout bid was spoiled midway through the third by Trail’s Griffyn Martin. Miska looked sharp on Wednesday, quick but economical with his movement, as he was never out of position. What’s a sign of a good goalie? When they make challenging saves look routine. Miska had one of those late when he kicked out the leg on Kienan Scott, when the Smokies had their net empty. Miska is a goalie that thrives off of confidence and he had that quiet swagger back on Wednesday night.