- The scored was 1-0 after 20 minutes. 1-0. 11 goals later, the Vees walked away with a 8-4 win after a six-goal outburst in the second period. Very 2012-esk that second period. The Vees put 18 shots on the West-K net, scored six times, including twice on the power-play. They looked like a team scoring at will during stretches of the second period. Pretty impressive from Penticton.
- Five-on-five, it was a more than serviceable effort from the Vees in the first but their special teams let them down a bit. The Vees had two power-plays in the first seven-minutes but couldn’t muster really any scoring chances or momentum. It can be tough to get a power-play early, as the Vees first man-advantage came just a buck 58 into the game. That power-play didn’t go well and the follow-up one five-minutes later wasn’t so hot. To compound matters, West Kelowna scored late in the first on their only power-play of the period. As I said last night, the special teams was the story line in the first but that was quickly forgotten about after that offensive explosion in the second.
- Doesn’t that first period feel like it happened ages ago? Not many people will remember the Warriors had the lead going into the second when they talk about Tuesday’s game. From my point of view, the Vees were lacking some bite to their game in the first but they quickly turned that around in the last 40-minutes. Credit the Warriors penalty-kill early on for giving the Vees all sorts of fits. They were aggressive and winning battles and face-offs too. When you lose face-offs on the power-play, your likely conceding 10-15 seconds, as you have to go back and start from your own end.
- Demico Hannoun knows how to pick his spots. He hadn’t scored since January 2nd coming into Tuesday’s game and had just one point in his previous six games. The coaches wanted more out of him after a so-so performance on Saturday in Trail. Hannoun was a different player Tuesday, scoring just 44 seconds into the second on a great shot from the top of the right-circle. Mitch Newsome made a great drop pass to Hannoun on the right-wing and he did the rest. That goal meant a lot to him and the team, as he’s a guy that’s looked upon to help lead offensively and for him to tie the game and early, gave the Vees a big boost of confidence. Hannoun, with the correct scoring changes, finished with a goal and four points in Tuesday’s win. That’s how you bounce back. He didn’t pout or whine but sucked it up and was one of the Vees best on Tuesday. He doesn’t like doing interviews, so if I ask “Nooner” about the game, he’ll likely give me a Marshawn Lynch-esk post-game quote. He was “thankful.” Hannoun got the “belt,” after the game Tuesday. That means a lot, as Hannoun’s peers thought he was one of the best out there. The “belt” is an awarded handed out by players to who they think was a leader or player of the game.
- Really that second period was nuts. The Vees scored three straight goals in two different stretches only to be broken up by two Warrior goals in 1:25. The Vees scored goals 1-3 in 5:36. Hannoun 44-seconds in, then Mike Lee on the power-play at 5:59 and then Connor Chartier 21-seconds later at 6:21 After the Warriors tied it, the Vees scored another three goals in just over five-minutes; 5:02 to be exact. It came fast and furious and it was wildly entertaining second period.
- Not only did the Vees score a lot but they scored some really nice goals. Chartier’s first of three was a nice bit of skill, as Cooper slung a centering feed to Chartier who was alone at the side of the net. He finished off the play by putting a backhandmdeke up and over the Warriors goalie on the short-side. Speaking of Cooper, he showed off his great hand-eye coordination by batting the puck out of the air at the side of the net. Hannoun, not sure if it was intentional, lobbed the puck over the goalie and over to Cooper who choked up and bunted it into the open net. Then there was that nice two-on-one rush between Dakota Conroy and Tyson Jost. Hey, the play started with a great pass by Vees AP defenseman Tyler Holz, spotting Conroy on the right-wing. The Warriors made a bad change, allowing Conroy to jet down the right side. He waited for Jost to bust down the middle, then put the puck right on his tape for a tap in. Lots of skilled plays by the Vees in the second.
- I know it’s buried halfway down the blog but what a run Connor Chartier is on for the Vees. He had five points on Saturday, was the first star in Trail in the Vees win. His encore performance was a hat-trick in West Kelowna and again he was named the game’s first star. So, that’s five goals and eight points AND two first stars in two games. Before Saturday, Chartier had three goals and nine points. He was one point shy of doubling his season output in the last two games. Let that digest for a minute. It’s good to see Chartier get rewarded for his hard work, as it wasn’t like he was slumping; the points just weren’t coming.
- Another guy that is on a roll is Steen Cooper. He had a goal and assist on Tuesday (correct scoring changes) and now has six goals and 11 points in his last 10 games. I know he went to Mexico with the family at the Christmas break and I guess a dip in the warm Pacific ocean was all he needed. His work ethic has always been there but now he’s picking up points by the handful. It’s great to see him elevate his game, when the games themselves get harder post-Christmas. I sure hope he can carry this into the post-season.
- As Assistant Coach Steve Cawley said post-game, what might be lost in an 8-4 win was the play of the Vees defensemen. They basically played four defensemen for the entire game, as call-up Tyler Holz only had a few shifts. Dante Fabbro, Patrick Sexton, Shayne Gwinner and Mike Lee logged major minutes and only surrendered two even strength goals against. Sexton set the tone in the opening moments of the game, by laying down and blocking a point-blank shot with his midsection. He was hurt, no question, as he doubled over but he gutted it out for the rest of the game; I imagine he will be sore Wednesday. Fabbro I thought had one of his best games in recent memory, as he was a rock in his own end and was very good at getting the puck up ice in a hurry. Gwinner and Lee did a great job on the power-play in the second and third, as it looked way more threatening after the first and those two were so slippery in their own end. Those four guys really deserve a lot of credit for the minutes they were taxed with. Not only did they play a lot but it’s never an easy time in West Kelowna.