Post-Game #38: Vees Firing Blanks in Salmon Arm

Game Recap Jan 3

GAME STORY 

BOXSCORE 

  • The shoe, or should I say the skate, was on the other foot Saturday for the Vees as they were on the wrong end of a 3-0 score. One night before it was the Vees getting stellar goaltending and timely scoring, en route to a 3-0 shutout win over Vernon. Fast-forward 24 hours and it was the Salmon Arm Silverbacks getting stellar goaltending from Angus Redmond and timely scoring, as they handed the Vees a 3-0 loss. Saturday was just the second time the Vees were shutout by an opponent this season and first since September 27th.
  • Like Friday, Saturday’s game was very entertaining as it had a playoff feel to it. It was fast, it was physical and it was intense. If you told me this was game four, five of a first round series, I wouldn’t have doubted you. Great crowd on hand too, a thousand and change filled the Shaw Centre and that crowd provided a great atmosphere. That crowd was treated to a pretty good game.
  • Despite the loss, I found a lot of positives in the Vees performance. This wasn’t a 3-0 loss where they looked flatter than an open can of pop that had been sitting in the fridge for a week. No, this was a 3-0 loss that had you shaking your head at the goaltending performance by the opposition and by the rotten puck luck they had. It was one of those games, where no matter what they tried, the puck wasn’t going to go in. The Vees hit two cross-bars, had two of their own players find their way into the net on the same play but not the puck, and had countless near misses.
  • Great start for the visitors, as they had the first five shots of the game and an odd-man rush but couldn’t capitalize. Unfortunately Salmon Arm only needed one shot to open the scoring as Taro Hirose scored on a nifty end-to-end deke  six-minutes in; like a hitter nailing a home run on the first pitch. Hirose picked the puck up at his own blue-line, raced down the right-wing, cut to the middle and went blocker-side. Obviously a deflating moment for the Vees, as they had all this pressure, build up in the first five-minutes and had it all washed away on one rush by a crafty player. A kick in the ole’ tackle.
  • Compounding matters, was the fact the Vees were inches away from opening the scoring moments earlier. Off a face-off in the Salmon Arm end, Mitch Newsome stepped into a puck in the left-circle and smacked it off the fat part of the cross-bar. An inch or two lower and we’re talking about an early 1-0 lead on the road for the Vees but all we can now do is think “What if?”
  • Overall, a pretty good road period from the Vees in the first twenty-minutes, as they out shot Salmon Arm 13-7 and had some quality looks. The Vees gave up more quality looks from in close than they wanted to but Hunter Miska kept the game at 1-0. Salmon Arm in the first and for most of the game, were an opportunistic bunch. They didn’t have prolonged stretches of possession in the Vees zone but by design, they used an aggressive fore-check to create turnovers and that’s where they in turn tried to create their offense. One example was Bryden Marsh finding himself right on Miska’s porch after a turnover but the Vees goalies bailed out his team with two excellent arm saves.
  • The second was like the first and the third was like the second and the first was like both the second and third. The Vees pressed, came at the Silverbacks at times hard but they kept rebuffing the Vees attack. The Vees got off to another good start in the second and had back-to-back power-plays to try to muster a goal; they came up empty.
  • That for me was a big turning point of the game. With a power-play that carried over to the second, the Vees basically were on the power-play for the first four-minutes of the period. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on who you cheer for, not scoring on any of the two early power-plays was a back-breaker. The Vees did look good on the two man-advantages, as the power-play units spent most of the two power-plays in the Salmon Arm end.They were zipping the puck around and finding openings but they couldn’t get it by Redmond.
  • What made the lack of power-play success worse, was the fact the Silverbacks doubled their lead late in the second on a power-play of their own. Well, technically the power-play had expired but I would argue that the Vees penalized player wasn’t really in the play itself  before Salmon Arm scored. Just as the Vees killed-off the BCHL’s best home power-play, Phil Middleton hammered home a seeing-eye slapper from the mid-point. Ouch. As I said a game of inches and fractions of seconds. Tough pill to swallow for the Vees, after coming up empty-handed on their two power-plays earlier in the period, just to see Salmon Arm score right after their only power-play expired. That goal came late in the second, with just over three-minutes left in fact. Instead of a one-goal deficit it was a two-goal deficit going into the final twenty-minutes.
  • Lots of pressure again in the third from the Vees but they couldn’t buy a goal. Angus Redmond was good, no question but the Vees just couldn’t find their touch around the net. They threw 15 shots at Redmond in the third and he had an answer every time. The Vees best chance to break seal was whenDemicoHannoun went darting down the left-wing.Hannoun had a great in between the legsdeke before smoking the cross-bar with a shot from the goal-line.
    • Hannoun was a man possessed in the third, as he was playing with a lot of pace and urgency. He had a great hit on a ferocious back-check, as he hunted down Ryley Booth and clocked him between the benches on the glass. Assistant Coach Steve Cawley raved about Hannoun’s third period during the post-game show but said if Hannoun had played like that in the first and second, we’re probably not talking about a shutout loss. As Coach Cawley said in our chat, If Hannoun can play at that level for sixty-minutes, he would be the best forward in the BCHL. Bold but I wouldn’t argue, as when Hannoun’s “on” he’s hard to stop.
  • Transitioning over to Salmon Arm, they look like a retooled team that is poised to make a serious run at the post-season. The ‘Backs were much better in their own end, as the likes of Andrew Farny, Jordan Burns, Chase Priskie and Phil Middleton had strong games. We all know what Farny can do with the puck but his play way from it is pretty impressive. Burns was leaning on Vees forwards all night and was Farny’s D-partner. Burns had a running battle with Tyson Jost  and at one point in the third, Burns had Jost all tied up in the corner as the puck was at the other end of the ice.
  • Simple, yet effective game the ‘Backs played on Saturday. They kept it north-south, clogged up the middle and got pucks in deep in the Vees zone when they had to. They never really had to chase around the Vees in their own zone for concerning length of time.
  • Two big takeaways: Lack of power-play success and lack of secondary opportunities were catalysts in the Vees losing Saturday. Both manageable areas of their game that can be worked on as the month grows longer.
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About frodgers

Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations for the Penticton Vees
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