(Photos: Garret James Photography)
- The Penticton Vees picked up their first road win Friday night with a 6-2 triumph in Surrey. It was a competitive game early but the Vees pulled away in the second period and never looked back, rattling off their second straight win.
- It was a bit of a sluggish start despite the Vees jumping out ahead early, when Chris Gerrie pushed in a rebound at the side of the net. Scoring less than three-minutes in should be a big boost for the road team but the Vees couldn’t build upon that goal and that kept the door open for the Eagles to tie in late. The Vees just weren’t as crisp as they wanted to be early but they sorted things out in the second and slammed the door shut on the Eagles.
- Before I go any further, I would to heap some praise on last night’s starter Émilien Boily (BWAH-lee) Officially signed earlier in the day on Friday after the Vees released Brendan Barry, Boily was sharp in his debut, earning his first BCHL win. Not overly big, as he’s listed at 5’8 but Boily showed athleticism in the net and had a calming presence in the crease. He competed all night but was economical in his movement and fought through traffic very well when the Eagles had pressure. His puck handling was impressive and can be a big asset for the Vees moving forward. Especially on the power-play, as Boily was firing darts out to centre ice for the forwards when he was below the goal-line. That cut the rink in half and on a few occasions, caught the Eagles PK on a change. It’s only one game and it’s EARLY but so far, I like what I see from Boily.
- The “TSN Turning Point,” for me was Desi Burgart’s goal early in the second that made it 2-1. Lets back it up a bit to the first period shall we? Burgart’s line was on the ice when the Eagles tied it late and a lot of coaches would have stapled their depth line to the bench after that. Not the Vees, as Fred Harbinson showed a lot of faith putting that line out there early in the second and his loyalty was rewarded. Burgart’s line was determined to make a positive impact and did they ever, as the centreman tipped Dante Fabbro’s point-shot over the glove of the Eagles goaltender three and a half minutes in. Post-game, Assistant Coach Nick Fuher made a point of talking about how that line wasn’t doing something wrong on that Eagles first goal, they were, as he put it, over-checking and got burned; coaches don’t mind mistakes when you’re playing hard. Great moment though, as Burgart, who grew up in Vancouver, scored his first BCHL goal in front of family and friends.
- The Burgart goal seemed to spark the Vees, as they ended up scoring three goals in 2:53 and that seemed to take the wind right out of the Eagles sails. Easton Brodzinski scored on a rebound on the power-play to make it 3-1 and Owen Sillinger finished it off on a tic-tac-toe play 1:28 after Brodzinski’s goal. The Eagles took a timeout after the fourth Vees goal but now looking back, it was too little too late.
- Mr. Brodzinski now has four goals in three games and three of those goals have come on the power-play. He, right now, seems to be the answer to what has been missing on the Vees power-play: a net-front presence. All three of his power-play goals this season have come within six-feet of the net and in high traffic areas. With his big frame camped out front, he provides a good screen for the shooters and is showing his efficiency at cleaning up rebounds. Last year the Vees tried a few different players in front of the net and they had some varying degree of success but right now Brodzinski seems to be that “X-Factor” on the power-play.
- So, Tyson Jost went about getting three assists Friday night and the scary thing is you didn’t even notice that. I mean that in the best way possible, as he’s a great play-maker right now on the power-play and at even strength. He’s going to draw a lot of attention and that usually means being double-teamed, so that means other players will be open and he’s finding his teammates in soft areas= goals. Jost, Gerrie and Scott Conway have some chemistry going, as they had a few dazzling shifts Friday where it appeared they had the puck on a string. If Jost is getting the attention, Conway and Gerrie will be open and they’ll hurt you.
- Lost in the shuffle was the play of the Vees away from the puck. They limited the Eagles to just nine shots over the final two periods after allowing 12 in the first period. Heck, they only surrendered two shots in the entire third period, and the Eagles didn’t get their first shot of the third until the 15-minute mark. Fifteen minutes. It’s a wider ice surface in Surrey but as Fred Harbinson said pre-game, the distance between the circles is the same and the Vees defense did a good job of keeping their shape and structure in their own zone.
- It was labelled as a trap game Friday, as the Vees easily could have overlooked the Eagles, as a match-up with the West Kelowna Warriors loomed but they focused on the task at hand and that reflected in the boxscore. Now, it’s time for some fun at Royal LePage Place.