(Photos courtesy of Damon James Photography)
AUDIO-Demico Hannoun Overtime Goal:
- When the Vees went out and swung a deal to acquire Demico Hannoun in the summer, they likely had days like Sunday in mind. The fourth-year forward already had 44 BCHL playoff games under his belt before coming to Penticton and that experience was evident in Chilliwack. Hannoun made a great play on the tying-goal before he scored, as he knocked down a puck that was coming around the boards that looked to be going out of the zone. After he dishes it off, he slides down to the side of the net before taking a pass and roofing it short-side. VIDEO
- That was a power-play goal and Hannoun scored with 19-seconds left in the man-advantage. Calculated gamble by the Vees to pull Miska in favour of the extra-skater. No it’s not a ground-breaking maneuver but the Vees did it early, as there was still over two-minutes left in third when they went six-on-four. Great to see the power-play produce in crunch time, as that was the Vees only power-play. Going back to Wednesday, it’s the first time the Vees have scored power-play goals in back-to-back games since March 14th and 15th. In the BCHL Round-Robin the power-play is now 2-7 which is great to see after the Vees well documented struggles in first two rounds.
- Playoff hockey can be a game of inches. Just before the Vees tied the game on that power-play, Chilliwack JUST missed on a short-handed two-on-one. Jake Hand took the pass on the near-side but pushed it inches wide of the post. Close call. Also Eric Roberts rifled a shot off the post early in OT too; Vees had that going for them.
- Trying to figure out the math? Me too. What we do know, is the Vees are guaranteed at least a home date for the BCHL Round-Robin tie-breaker game-if needed. That would be on Monday, April 6th if the Vees find themselves in that situation. What fans should focus on is tomorrow, as with a win the Vees clinch a spot in the Fred Page Cup Final. Tuesday is simple for the Vees: Win and you’re in.
- One of the more controversial moments of the game was the goalie interference penalty that was overturned early in the first. Mason Boh was originally called after falling into Hunter Miska. The call on the ice by the two officials was goalie interference but some lobbying from the Chiefs bench, then a short discussion from the four officials led the call to be overturned. Never really seen that before. Hey, I get Boh goes shoulder to shoulder with a Vee right in front but to me, he doesn’t make a noticeable effort to not fall into Miska. I know it’s a fast game and it’s a bang-bang play but if you watch the video, he does follow through when contacting the goalie. Not the worst collision in the world but it opens a can of worms when that stuff is let go. Hey, it sets a tricky precedent in the game with goalie contact. Doesn’t help David Jacobson either. If that was a Vee going into Jacobson I could stomach the call because the referee is erring on the side of caution.
- Pretty open first period from both teams, as they combined for four goals on 19 shots. I thought both teams were a bit too loose in their own end in the first, as the game certainly opened up and both sides were trading chances. It created some exciting, fast-paced hockey for the fans but I’m sure raised the blood pressure of the coaches. The game seemed to settle down in the second and third period, as there wasn’t as nearly as many quality opportunities like we saw in the first.
- The Vees did have a pretty good second period, as I thought they carried more of the play, five-on-five, and really didn’t get into trouble until late when they took two quick penalties. At one point, well past the halfway mark of the second, the Vees were outshooting the Chiefs 8-2. Then Dante Fabbro and Jarod Hilderman took penalites 57-seconds apart and the Vees are down two skaters and against the league’s best power-play. The Chiefs didn’t waste the opportunity as Bennett Morrison scored his second of the game and the Vees found themselves down a goal going into the break.
- Impressive come from behind win for the Vees, as they’re now 3-1 in the playoffs when trailing after two periods. 3-1. A stark contrast to their 3-5 record from the regular season when trailing going into the third period. This team has shown a lot of character in the post-season to come from behind and win three of four games. Not only does it show a lot of character but poise too, as the Vees didn’t panic, even when the game was still 3-2 and getting late. Stuck to their guns.
- How about Miles Gendron? Was a team best plus 13 going into last night’s game and was on the ice, again, for the Vees overtime goal. Assistant Coach Steve Cawley and I were wondering how many times he’s been on the ice for an overtime goal? Well, I asked “Gendy” on the bus after and he said five. Five out of the six playoff overtime wins, Gendron has been on the ice. Last night he keeps the puck in twice at the point, his second shot not missing by much, before Pat Newell finds that rebound and centers for Hannoun. Great to see Gendron get the assist on the overtime goal too, as he was fighting some nerves early in the game. He shook off a defensive zone miscue that led to a Chiefs goal and came back and had a strong finish. Says a lot.
- His stat line doesn’t jump out at you but I thought Steen Cooper had one of his best games of the playoffs. He had his feet going on Sunday and was a real spark plug upfront for the Vees; brought a ton of energy. He did pick up an assist on the Vees second goal and I thought he was the straw that stirred the Vees drink upfront.
- Some big minutes turned in from Patrick Sexton and Gabe Bast who I thought really set the tone on the blue-line. Sexton had two great hits on Jordan Kawaguchi and Brandon Potomak but also was a rock in his own end. Yeah he was on the ice for the second goal against but rebounded after that and was a calming presence inside the Vees end. He was clutch on those back-to-back penalty-kills in the opening minutes of the third; ate pucks. Bast played a lot, wore some shots in front of his net and chipped in with two assists. Mike Lee also had one of those games were you didn’t notice him but in a good way; very steady.
- I was looking forward to seeing Jake Hand in person and he didn’t disappoint. The Chiefs leading scorer picked up a goal and two helpers and was a handful in the offensive zone; a really nice blend of size and skill. He was also great in the face-off circle, as he won his fair share of draws. The Vees will have to key in on him on Tuesday.
- “Special teams might play a significant role in the outcome of tonight’s game.” That from my pre-game write-up and sure enough the special teams department had an impact. Yeah, both teams scored on the man-advantage but the Vees had those two crucial kills early in the third to keep it a one-goal game. I even said at the time, if the Vees come back, we would be talking about those back-to-back penalty-kills. The Vees had their run of 13-straight penalties killed snapped but now are 15/16 on the PK going back to game four against Vernon.