(Photos: Andy Devlin, Hockey Canada Images)
Post-Game with Assistant Coach Nick Fuher
Jack Ramsey Interview
Andy Sturtz Interview
- The Penticton Vees have done what two teams couldn’t do against the Carleton Place Canadians: Score a goal and win. They not only scored but they scored four in a 4-3 win over CPC, to improve their record to 2-1 at the RBC Cup in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Coming into Tuesday’s tilt, the Canadians were 2-0-0 after 4-0 and 3-0 wins over the Soo Thunderbirds and the Portage Terriers respectively.
- I spoke pre-game about the Vees trying to capitalize on their good starts, especially considering the Canadians were playing their first afternoon game of the tournament, but it was CP getting ahead early- like 30-seconds into the game early. The Vees took a penalty on the opening shift, that 20-seconds in, than Andy Sturtz scored 10-seconds into the Canadians power-play. Blink of an eye and it’s 1-0 for Carleton Place. That wasn’t what the Vees envisioned in the first but they did well to regroup and tie it. They regrouped a couple of times and that was a sign of poise. Not only were they down 1-0 but 2-1, so they came back from two one-goal deficits to win. That against a team that hadn’t allowed a goal in the first 125-minutes of their tournament.
- During the pre-game show, I said one of the keys for the Vees was going to get traffic in front on Canadians goaltender Guillaume Therien and well, they did a good job of that. If you look back, three of their four goals came from on top of or in the Carleton Place crease. As discussed with Assistant Coach Nick Fuher in the post-game show, goals at this juncture of the season are going to come from those “greasy” areas and that’s exactly where the Vees scored their first three. They didn’t cheat themselves by cutting corners but rather willed pucks into the net; that’s how you’re going to beat a goaltender of Therien’s caliber. Cam Amantea puts a rebound underneath Therien in the first after the point-shot was blocked. Steen Cooper finds a loose puck at the base of the post and after a scramble and he smacks it in to tie it 2-2, then Riley Alferd was first a loose puck in another scramble on top of the Carleton Place crease. The Vees got their nose dirty.
- I really thought the game swung in the Vees favour in the second period. Don’t get me wrong, they had their moments in the first period but I thought they found their game in the second. They spent more time in the Carleton place end, worked the puck down low and it looked like that tired out the Canadians a bit; the Vees work ethic was unparalleled. It was simply out-working the Canadians that had the Vees ahead 3-2 after 40-minutes. The fore-check was going in the second, as the Vees were aggressive and physical and that created some turnovers in their favour. In the first they had some chances but didn’t spend enough time in the CP end. That changed in the second and wouldn’t you know it, they scored two goals.
- I thought Steen Cooper epitomized that work ethic today and was a no-brainer for the Vees Player of the Game award. The 19-year-old never, NEVER stops moving his feet and has an engine that doesn’t quit. He’s not flashy but he’s going to beat you straight up, because he wants the puck more; he’s a throwback of sorts. Just look at the goal he set up in the second period. Cooper out-muscles the defenseman on the boards, gets away from him, then spins and fires a dart, tape-to-tape, to an open Connor Chartier in front of the net. That “Vitamin C” line has picked up where they left off at the Western Canada Cup. That line now has three goals and six points in three games.
- Did Hunter Miska have an off game? Yeah, probably. Did he buckle down and came up big when it mattered? Absolutely. That’s a sign of a veteran goalie, who knew he wasn’t playing well but came up large in the clutch. Miska remember made an underrated pad save on Bryce Van Horn literally at the buzzer in the third. With just four-ticks left on the clock and the Vees up 4-3, Van Horn busted down the right-wing on a last-gasp effort but Miska hung in and squared up at the post and sealed the win. For his efforts he got run into by another Carleton Place player and then a scrum ensued. Miska fought through his struggles and came up with some key stops when it mattered. After the game he admitted he wasn’t at his best and that shows a lot of maturity. He said he needed to find a way to be there for his teammates in the end and he did. He fought through his problems. Hey, he did have that athletic breakaway save on Andy Sturtz in the first period, when the Vees were still down 1-0; that helped them get back into it.
- For two teams that had never played each other prior to today, they sure showed a healthy dislike for one another. Today’s game had a great feel to it and the game had a real nastiness to it; playoff hockey. Both teams knew what was at stake and the Vees wanted nothing more to hand CP their first loss of the tournament. It was physical out there but also the game had a great pace to it. Oh, and the drama at the end. This game had everything. That sure looked like a possible RBC Cup Final preview. OK, relax, I said POSSIBLE.
- Talk about hard-fought, Mike Lee took a shot in the face after it ramped up his stick in the third period. Lee had to get some stitches inside and outside his lip but he sucked it up and came back and played a few shifts after that. He’ll be good to go on Thursday, outside of a slightly uglier smile.