As the saying goes, the best offense is a good defense or is it that the best defense is a good offense? Well the Vees defense certainly brought the offense on Sunday, as the six on the blue-line combined for two goals and eight points. Gabe Bast scored the opening goal of the game, Shayne Gwinner scored his first as a Vee and Dante Fabbro had three assists. Oh, Mike Lee had a couple of helpers too.
How about the start? Gabe Bast scored on the Vees first shot 78 seconds in. Bad line change by the Spruce Kings, gave Fabbro the opportunity to fire the puck up the middle to Bast, who beat Jesse Jenks with a low, hard shot from the top of the circle. The goal not only surprised the crowd but Jenks too.
Despite the 7-1 finish, the first was up for grabs for the most part. Hey, the Spruce Kings had two breakaways and Hunter Miska had to be on his game not to let the visitors get ahead. Miska stopped Braiden Epp after the puck was turned over at the top of the circle. Michael Buonincontri was also denied after he broke in scott-free from the blue-line. Buonincontri tracked down a lob pass and raced in but Miska stuck out the blocker. Great goaltending from him.
Hey, Jenks buckled down after the first goal and stopped the next 12 and kept the Spruce Kings in it. Well, that solid goaltending proved to be vital, as Chad Staley scored late to tie it at 1-1. Jenks showed a lot of poise not to get rattled after allowing one goal on one shot. His first period performance may be lost in the final score but Jenks was great early. His team ran out of gas late and you can’t really fault him on any of the goals, outside of the first one. Hey, he did also stop a three-on-oh in the second. Feel bad for the guy to have a seven hung on him today.
Hey, remember when the power-play was struggling? Well that seemed like last year (see what I did there?). Since the calendar turned to 2015, the power-play has been different. Hungrier. This week the Vees scored seven power-play goals in three games. Their power-play jumped four spots to fifth after Friday and now it’s nipping at the heels of the top four. The Vees are showing more poise with the puck but, as Assistant Coach Nick Fuher said post-game, the power-play’s success has come with smart puck movement. Guys aren’t putting each other in bad spots with poor passes and are not hanging on to pucks longer then they have to. Sometimes you can over think things with the PP and the Vees maybe were guilty of that earlier this year. Now, it’s a more direct approach and their seeing the success.
That was something in the third. Three goals in just sixty-four seconds. Shayne Gwinner kicked-off the spree with his first as a Vee. The Vees forced a turnover on the wall and Gwinner crept down from the point and snapped it far-side from the right-circle. Then it was Lewis Zerter-Gossage blowing down the left-wing before snapping it high-glove forty-nine seconds later. Well, fifteen-seconds after that it was Tyson Jost making a nice move on a backhand deke, courtesy of a nice dish of Demico Hannoun. How fast was the Jost goal? Well, I didn’t even see it as I was still writing down the prior scoring play by Zerter-Gossage. That was something. It went from 3-1 to 6-1 in a blink of an eye.
The Vees are now 9-0-1-0 against the Mainland Division with one more game to go against Chilliwack on the road in February. It’s big to get points outside of your division and the Vees are doing just that and then some. You never know when these points will come in handy down the stretch.