Vees End Pre-Season with Thrilling Tie

GAME RECAP 

  • If you said Saturday’s game was going to top Friday’s 6-5 OT win, I would not believed you. Well, here we are and I was proven wrong. For the second straight night the Vees erased a three-goal deficit, they tied the game with less than a second left in the third and then hit two posts in overtime. Oh, Bandits Head Coach Ryan Papaioannou was ejected for throwing a water bottle and this all happened in a pre-season game. Pre-Season. I jokingly send at the end of the game “I hope the Vees home opener can live up to this pre-season!” But now I think I’m serious when I say that.
  • It was a better start for the Vees on Saturday compared to Friday but they still found themselves down a goal after the first period, all be it on an unfortunate bounce. Brooks scored early but the Vees responded with an Easton Brodzinski equalizer but the Bandits grabbed the lead, again, on the power-play. Odd sequence, as twice the Vees blocked shot attempts only to see the puck squirt over to Bandits Captain Derek Lodermeier for the tap-in late. So, outside of that freakish bounce, the Vees strung together a solid first 20-minutes. Both teams played well and the game had a nice pace to it through 20.
  • Through the first two periods, I thought the Vees were better at exiting their zone and were crisper with their transitions. Friday they struggled early on with just getting cleanly out of their zone. The second period was much like the first, as both teams again were getting up and down the ice in a hurry and that resulted in some scoring chances. However, it was the power-play that did the only damage in the middle stanza.
  • Anthony Brodeur and Josh Davies were sharp in the second and the only shots that beat them came on opposition man-advantages. The Vees tied it on a great solo rush by Demico Hannoun during the dying seconds of a Vees 5-on-3. Hannoun busted down the right-wing, cut to the net and tucked the puck upstairs on the short-side. I think Davies thought Hannoun was going around the net to the far-post, so he started his slide prematurely, which gave Hannoun some daylight on the near-side. But the Bandits went back ahead 3-2 on a power-play late in the second. Josh McKechney took the shot from the left-wing but Hayden Ursulak just got a piece of it in front to cross-up Brodeur.
  • The third period is where things got really nutty. The two teams combined for five goals in the third alone, including a three-goal rally late by the Vees. At one point in the game, going back to the second, the Bandits scored three straight. That sequence went from 17:37 of the second to 9:25 of the third. But then the Vees scored the last three goals of regulation in the last 5:47 of the game. When Dylan McCrory scored on a 2-on-1 for the Bandits it looked pretty bleak. It was 5-2 for Brooks with 10 and a half minutes left. It looked even more bleak when Gabe Bast took a penalty inside the final two-minutes with the Vees down 5-4. But despite ALLLLLLL that, the Vees still tied the game. Pre-season, yes, but still pretty exciting.
  • So, how did the comeback start? Dixon Bowen. Bowen got mixed up Lodermeier off a face-off and the two dropped the gloves. For a visual, Bowen is listed at 6′ and 180 pounds and Lodermeier is 6’3 and 2010. Bowen was giving up closer to four inches and 20 pounds. Yet, there he was, grappling in the Vees zone with the Bandits Captain and he did a good job of not getting over powered. That was a spark the Vees needed, as they were stuck in quicksand for most of the third. That scrap happened just a couple of minutes before the Vees third goal and it was on from there. I would give the TSN Turning Point to Mr. Bowen.
  • OK, the ending was all sorts of crazy eh? Lets first get into how the play was set up. The Vees are down 5-4 and on the penalty-kill and are chasing down a puck in the Bandits corner. Jost has his back to the net, in the corner, trying to wrestle the puck loose as the clock is ticking down. Shane Bear, the Bandits defenseman, came in and took an ill-advised boarding call on Jost. That was a killer for Brooks. Not only did he take his team off the power-play, he stopped the clock and gave the Vees an offensive zone face-off. So with eight-seconds on the clock the Vees had a draw in the right-circle. They pulled the goalie to make it a 5-on-4 situation, as Bast and Bear were seating in the penalty-box.
  • Now to play that set up the tying goal. Off that face-off, Jost was lined-up behind Sillinger and off his right-shoulder. The draw came back to Jost but the pass wasn’t the greatest so the Captain had to settle the puck before firing a shot. He managed to get the puck to the net through a massive crowd and then it was on from there. The puck hit the goalie but laid precariously in the crease. No one knew where it was, as bodies flooded the crease but the referee, to his credit, was in great position right behind the net, as he didn’t blow the play dead. Before the clock struck zero, Colton Poolman swiped at it and it went underneath the goalie and across the line as bodies crashed into the goal. The puck crossing the line with .8 seconds left. POINT. EIGHT. Gosh. The Bandits were furious, as both Logan Aasmen and Jeff Malott blew a gasket. Malott horse-collared Owen Sillinger and that earned him a two-minute minor. But those two were upstaged by their coach, who rifled a water bottle across the ice, at the direction of the referees who were huddled at the penalty-box. Ryan Papaioannou showed off a great arm but it also cost him an early exit. This all happening, technically, inside the final second of regulation. Oh, this was pre-season?
  • Overtime was pretty crazy too, as the Vees were awarded a penalty-shot in double-overtime (any penalty called in double-overtime in the BCHL is an automatic penalty-shot). So, up stepped Friday night’s OT hero, Sillinger, for another chance to win the game. Sillinger stick-handled his way down the middle and snapped a shot on the blocker-side but the shot rattled off the post. Uh, that close. The Vees had another great chance when Bast barreled his way to the net but his shot hammered the other post. C’MON?!. The Bandits had a really good chance in the dying moments of the game but Brodeur made a great shoulder stop on Taylor Karel. Fit to be tied.
  • The Vees had to play with only five defensemen from the second period on. Tyler Holz took a stick up in his face and had to leave for stitches and dental work. Hopefully Tyler is alright and won’t be sidelined too long.
  • So after a pretty exciting pre-season schedule the Vees now open the BCHL season next Friday night in Salmon Arm. Here we go, the journey to the RBC Cup begins in the North Shuswap.

 

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About CBeauchemin

Director of Broadcasting & Communication for the Penticton Vees
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