Audio: 1st period, tells the story
- Really dramatic sequence of events at the start and then at the tale end of the first period Tuesday. First, a terrific start by the visitors, who jump out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Connor Chartier and Steen Cooper; their goals coming 3:10 apart. Vernon looked nervous and tentative in their own end early and the Vees capitalized. Then the Vipers get a timeout, slowly turn it around and manufacture a three-goal rally in three and a half minutes near the end of the first. What looked so promising for the Vees, turned into a one-goal deficit at the break.
- Assistant Coach Steve Cawley touched on it in the post-game show, saying the Vees for whatever reason, got away from what gave them a lot of success in the first five-minutes of the game. Some credit to Vernon, who turned it on after a rough start but the Vees turn it off after a promising start. Their undoing was an untimely goal by Riley Brandt that Hunter Miska would want back. That goal spurred the late period rally.
- Yes, Hunter Miska struggled tonight. No secret he was far from his best and he likely stops the first three shots on any other night. But even he’s bound to have a Mulligan and though you would have liked it to happen in the regular season, it happened on Tuesday. Look, he’s the Vees MVP, had lights-out numbers in the playoffs and is a big reason why the Vees were winners of six straight games. He’s had quite a few of his teammates have “off nights” in front of him in the post-season and he had to bail them out. Unfortunately his teammates didn’t pick him up Tuesday but I expect he and his teammates will bounce back Wednesday. Pretty much have to wash your hands of it and move on.
- On the goaltending subject, really tough spot for Brendan Barry to be in tonight and he handled it as best as he could. He came in to briefly spell off Hunter Miska and allowed one goal on four spots in seven-minutes of work. Miska, I think was going to come back no matter what (a mental breather) but it was still a hard situation for Barry. His first ever BCHL playoff action, his team down 4-2, he’s coming in cold and hasn’t played since February 8th. He likely was beating himself up after the fifth goal but I think he’s being too hard himself. Bad goal? Sure. But he was in a really tough spot and he can use it as a learning experience going forward. His time will come.
- One more ‘tender thought: Todosychuk-shaky early, good rest of the way. After fighting some noticeable nerves, Todosychuk got better as the game moved along. He looked a lot more comfortable in the final two periods and had two really nice stops. In the second he robbed Cam Amantea of a goal, by reaching back with the paddle and swatting the puck out of the air-video here. He also made a quick, reactionary glove-save off of Demico Hannoun in third period. Hannoun hammered a one-timer but Todosychuk came across with the windmill glove-save. Not an easy spot for a 20-year-old, local guy, to get his first start since March 3rd, which was essentially a “must win” for Vernon; 3-0 would have been a deep hole.
- It wasn’t just the goaltending, the Vees didn’t have that fire in their game they had in the first two games of the this series; the compete level was drastically down. Coach Cawley said post-game he didn’t think the Vees competed hard enough, lost too many battles and didn’t work hard enough to get to the net; I would agree. We’ve seen this team have that spark recently, helping them to a six-game win streak but that energy had gone missing on Tuesday. Basically, I look at game three as “one of those night,” as for whatever reason, it wasn’t going to go their way. Not much else you can say or do, then just hope the players learn from it and move on to game four.
- Shine some light on Vernon, they battled back from being down two in the first four-minutes and at home; not easy to do. As mentioned, after shaking off some noticeable nerves, they got some jump in their step and made the most off their scoring chances. This game had a different feel, as there wasn’t a whole lot of “bad blood” or fireworks like the previous two. Vernon manufactured momentum not by going after the Vees but going at their net. Their top-line carried the mail, as Liam Coughlin and Thomas Aldworth combined for six points.
- Both Aldworth and Coughlin had a goal and two helpers and that line gave the Vees fits all night; it was hard to slow them down. Their centreman TJ Dumonceaux didn’t get on the scoresheet but was solid in the face-off circle and excellent on the penalty-kill. That line was rather sleepy in game two but woke up in game three and that was crucial considering Liam Finlay, second-line centreman, was a late scratch. The Vees need to find a way to keep those three out of the spotlight in game four.
- Not much else to dive into other than the fact the Vees know how to bounce back. They were 9-2-0-0 in the regular season when coming off a loss, and in eight of those 11 games they held their opponent to two or less goals; they always seem to find a response. Remember, that was the Vees first loss in Kal-Tire Place since the playoff series against Vernon last year; game three of that one too. So including the post-season, that had won five in a row in Vernon dating back to March 2014.
- Wednesday will be dubbed as another massive “swing game.” A Vees win and it’s 3-1 for them going back to Penticton for game five Friday. If Vernon pulls it out, its tied 2-2 and now becomes a best-of-three. Wednesday will be fun.