Post-Game #53: Vees Win the Battle of the BCHL’s Top Teams

Game Recap Feb 13

GAME RECAP

BOXSCORE 

  • The Penticton Vees were challenged by their coaching ahead of Friday’s game and they answered that challenge. After taking issue with the team’s lack of “fire in the belly” the Vees coaches wanted to see more urgency, hunger out of the Vees Friday night and the team responded enthusiastically. The Vees did a complete 180 from Wednesday, as they were noticeably more physical, their compete level was significantly higher and they had a lot of jump to their game.
  • A really good start set the tone, as the Vees were flying off the opening face-off and their very first shift of the game was a positive one. That top line of Tyson Jost, Demico Hannoun and Pat Newell attacked the Clippers end and the Vees were buzzing in the opening minutes. They had the Clippers on their heels, as the Vees were taking away time and space in the neutral zone from the Nanaimo defenders and that created quite a few turnovers; they held the red-line very well. If it wasn’t for Nanaimo’s Guillaume Decelles in the first, the Vees could have had more than just a one-goal lead through 20-minutes.
  • The Vees fired 14 shots on net in the first and had plenty of bodies going to the net, something that was clearly lacking in their previous two losses. I mentioned Decelles first period performance because, at times, it was a shooting gallery around the Nanaimo net; some were blocked too. Decelles best save was when he denied Tyson Jost on what looked like a backdoor tap in. But Decelles stretched out all of his 6’3 frame to get a pad on the one-timer. Friday was a showdown of two of the top goalies in the BCHL and it didn’t fail to live up the hype-through the first 40-minutes anyway.
  • The Vees showed a lot of poise by not getting frustrated by the fact they weren’t scoring on Nanaimo despite all that pressure. Some teams with a lesser mental makeup might have let the frustration seep into their game and that’s when trouble starts. Not the Vees, not on this night anyways. It sounds cliché but it’s been said numerous times by the coaches and it’s true, “It’s all about sticking to the process.” The Vees didn’t cut corners, kept to the game plan and were finally rewarded late in the first period on that Jack Ramsey power-play goal.
  • OK, I’ve been harping on the Vees lack of power-play production for a few games now and they finally shut me up on Friday. Two goals on their first three power-plays and the Vees finished 2-4 on the man-advantage. Not only did they score a power-play goal(s), they did so at critical times. Ramsey opened the scoring late in the first, as the Vees took a lead into the intermission, and Demcio Hannoun scored early in the third period to restore the Vees two-goal lead. The power-play stepped up, snapping an 0-24 skid and getting a goal for the first time in seven games. It also stepped up in “crunch time” and that’s what separates the winners from the losers come playoffs.
  • Funny how a team can go through a prolonged dry spell and when they do get out of the funk, it isn’t overly pretty. It doesn’t matter how you score, as long as you score one more goal as the opposition. The Vees had only one goal to their name in their last six periods of hockey before Friday. The power-play had its picture plastered all over milk cartons in the South Okanagan, as it had been missing since January 23rd. Well, Ramsey gets the offense and power-play out of a funk and did so from within two feet of the goal-line. Ramsey ordered an extra side of grease when he muscled in his 14th of the season and first in seven games. Dakota Conroy made a nice saucer pass in front to “Rammer” and he whacked the puck underneath Decelles. Hey, they all count no matter how you score and that goal I think had everyone breathing a little easier.
  • Something you don’t see too often but it happened early in the second period and that was Connor Chartier’s penalty-shot. Chartier got in behind the Clippers last defenseman and took a pass from the right-wing by Cody DePourcq. As he was about to shoot the Clippers defender reached back and got his stick in on Chartier’s hands, who did hit the post. Nic Gushue took down Chartier and the ref signaled penalty-shot. I can see the argument from both sides on the call. I know Nanaimo wasn’t happy with the call, as it wasn’t a “clear-cut” breakaway and they likely thought it should have been a two-minute minor. But, Chartier did have a step on Gushue, he was in behind the last Clippers player and had a scoring chance impeded and there was an infraction on the play. Chartier did make no mistake, showing off a great set of hands with a fake shot and deke to the right. Chartier showed shot, quickly pulled the puck back in, then deked around the outstretched pad of Decelles on his blocker side (southpaw). Big moment there, scoring early in the second to double the lead.
  • That Chartier goal was huge because Nanaimo put together a good two-minute sequence in the Vees end late in the second and got on the scoreboard. Nicolas Carrier and Yanni Kaldis played give-and-go down low, with Kaldis finishing the play by beating Hunter Miska up high. The only sequence in the game the Vees didn’t look sharp. A few players were caught puck watching and a team like Nanaimo will make you pay for it. But hey, clutch by Chartier to score that goal earlier on one of the league’s best goalies. He didn’t show any nerves and calmly tucked in his 11th on that nice deke. Savvy veteran.
  • The big moment or moments in the third involved Demico Hannoun and roughly three-minutes apart. First, on the Vees third power-play, Hannoun hammers a “clapper” from the left-circle to give the Vees a 3-1 lead just under seven-minutes in. That goal was some salt in the wound for Nanaimo, as the penalty that lead to the power-play came from the offensive zone, when Sheldan Rempal got his stick up on Shayne Gwinner. Then, just before the 10-minute mark, Hannoun pounces on a goalie puck-playing error and banks in his second and 21st of the year to give the Vees a 4-1 lead. In three-minutes and 13 seconds, the game went from 2-1 to 4-1 for the Vees. A huge momentum swing and a big punch in the gut for Nanaimo, especially how that fourth goal was scored. Heads up play by Hannoun to pressure the goalie behind the net and then bank it in off of the goalies leg as he was trying to scramble back into the crease.
  • Hockey can be a funny game, as Hannoun hadn’t scored in the previous seven games, despite playing some really good hockey; I believe he hit 57 posts. Well after going without a goal for that long of a time, he scores two in three-minutes and 13-seconds. Now he is tied with Tyson Jost for the team goal-scoring lead, as both have 21 goals. Jost and Hannoun have forged quite the partnership along with Pat Newell. Newell by the way, has quietly gone about moving into second in team scoring (14-29-43). Hannoun is like the big brother out there, especially when it comes to the 16-year-old Jost. There was a sequence in the first period that really caught my eye. The Vees had a face-off just outside their blue-line and Jacob Hanlon and Jost were jawing at one another. Hannoun, lined up to take the face-off but first skated over to Hanlon to tell him to cut out the yapping (I think he said it in a more colourful way.) Then after the puck was dropped, Hannoun skated over to Hanlon and gave him a bit of a shot across the chest and some parting words. I loved it. Shows theses guys are engaged but more importantly tight. That chemistry and comradery  will be key in the playoffs.
  • The Vees are now 9-2-0-0 after a loss and got their first win against Nanaimo since December, 15th, 2012. A good first step for the Vees, as they fine tune their game heading into the playoffs. However, they need to keep that flame lit for Saturday, as the Trail Smoke Eaters are proving their no push over. Just ask West Kelowna.
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About CBeauchemin

Director of Broadcasting & Communication for the Penticton Vees
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