- Sometimes by watching warm-up you can get a good feel on how a team is going to play. Prior to tonight’s game I was casually watching the two teams warm-ups and they were vastly different. I glanced over the Vees warm-up (I it see quite a bit) but I caught myself doing a double-take when scanning through the Warriors pre-game routine. They were quiet, weren’t really zipping around their own zone and weren’t snapping the puck around. They looked a lot less energetic than the Vees and that’s where I thought the Vees had a chance. My Colour Commentator Trevor Miller both made some remarks to each other during the pre-game.
- That warm-up definitely was a foreshadow of things to come, as the Vees got off to another great start, scoring the only two goals of the first to take a 2-0 lead into the dressing room. Remember, the Vees only had 10 forwards dressed, nine regulars but you couldn’t tell they were short-staffed by the way they played; no tired legs.
- Lewis Zerter-Gossage built upon last night’s performance, as the confidence he showed from Friday carried over into Saturday. He made a nice play on the Vees first goal to get the puck on the left-wing and then have the sense to make a drop pass to Patrick Newell, who went post and in. Zerter-Gossage only finished with two assists, and I say “only” because it felt like he had more points by the way he played tonight. Again, he was dominant in the offensive zone and has built up some great chemistry with Newell.
- Speaking of Newell, he had himself quite the night, bagging his first career BCHL hat-trick. Impressive given the fact Newell isn’t 100 percent, as he’s been battling an illness this week. He may looked a bit pale and sounded hoarse but it didn’t affect him on the ice. All three of his goals were nice and in their own unique way. His first was a nice shot, as he picked the corner of the net from the left hash-mark. His second came at a critical time late in the second period restore the Vee two-goal lead. He showed great sense to flip the puck from behind the goal-line, back out front and off the defenseman and goalie, before it trickled across the goal-line. He left little doubt on his third goal, as he put a laser in the top corner that popped the water bottle. With his three goals tonight, Newell has now passed Riley Alferd for the team scoring lead with 35 points. The kid is starting to really come into his own.
- I said this on Twitter but I’ll reiterate it here. I’ll never tire of seeing players score their first BCHL goals, especially the young guys. Great moment for call-up Taylor Ward who scored the Vees second goal, his first career BCHL goal, and in just his second game. Ward didn’t look like a wide-eye AP with the puck, as he hammered a one-timer into open net after a nice cross-ice pass from Zerter-Gossage. Watching Ward react to scoring his first goal was priceless and the Vees players were as ecstatic. Kudos to Zerter-Gossage, as you could tell he made a conscious effort to try to set up Ward for a scoring chance.
- I said the Vees would need some contributions from the likes of Connor Chartier and Dakota Conroy if they were going to be successful this weekend. Well they each had a goal and an assist in Saturday’s win. Chartier scored his first in eight games, when he scored on a two-on-one with Conroy in the third. Funny how a player like Chartier can’t buy a goal lately but breaks the slump by having a pass go off his shin before going through the goalie. Conroy’s goal gives him three in as many games and four in his last five games. This weekend was why the Vees went out and got Chartier and Conroy and the two stepped up when they needed to.
- For the most part this weekend the Vees kept the Warriors top players at bay. Yes, Cotton scored in the second but Liam Blackburn, Jonathan Desbiens and Michael Buonincontri were held off the scoresheet Saturday. In fact, Blackburn, who is second in BCHL scoring, only has two assists against the Vees in six games this season. Desbiens and Gelsinger, who have been Vees killers this year, only combined for one assist this weekend. Coming into this weekend’s action, the two combined for five goals and eight points in the previous four games against Penticton.