- With Saturday’s win, the Vees as a franchise is now 22-9-0-5 in West Kelowna since the Warriors move to the Okanagan in 2006. Let that soak in. That’s their record IN West Kelowna and that’s not a small sample size either as that spans nine seasons. The Vees just feel very comfortable at RLP, maybe it’s the short travel or the fact a lot of Vees fans make the trip up. Whatever it is, it’s been working for a while.
- In the pre-game write-up I wrote about discipline and throughout the game we talked about it too and it was a factor Saturday. Yes, both teams were short-handed four times but I think it’s when they happened and how which separates the two teams. The Vees scored on their first two power-plays of the game, which were both against the Warriors Captain. First, Kyle Marino took a goaltender-interference penalty in the first, which Scott Conway scored on to make it 3-1. Then, he took a four-minute spearing penalty after he got mixed up with Dante Fabbro at the end of the first. Two undisciplined penalties and the Vees burned Marino and the Warriors on both. What did the Vees Captain do on Saturday? He scored a beauty on that second Marino penalty and finished with two points.
- The power-play is starting to find a groove, as the Vees are now 4-14 in their last two games. A 29 percent average would be a top five power-play in the BCHL come mid-season. On the first power-play, the Vees were buzzing in the Warriors zone and you felt a goal was coming, it was just a matter of time. It helped that Rylan Yaremko lost his stick, creating a five on three and a half sequence for the Vees. It ended with Conway sliding into the slot and firing a wrist-shot off a Warrior and in. That four-minute power-play had its up and down moments but Jost got the goal the Vees wanted, as he fired a dart into the top corner from the right-circle. It was an incredible shot, as it looked like he had a sliver of daylight to shoot at but still picked his spot. If teams are going to get in the Vees faces, they’re going to have to make hay with those power-plays, so far, so good.
- After being held pointless in the season opener in Salmon Arm nine days ago, the Vees top-line of Conway, Jost and Chris Gerrie now have seven goals and 16 points in their last three games. Conway already has five goals, Jost has six assists and Gerrie has a pair of points and it’s only a matter of time before he breaks out. Gerrie had his chances last night and that line is so dangerous below the circles; they seem to have the puck on a string at times.
- I don’t mean to bury this down here but Anthony Brodeur picked up his second straight win and looked really sharp. He stopped 28 of 29 shots and yes, he only had seven shots in the third but made some nice stops when the Warriors were pressing in the first two periods. He had a couple of crafty poke-checks and looked confident playing the puck. Like Emilien Boily on Friday, Brodeur was effective at playing the puck from behind his net and hitting forwards with breakout passes. When a goalie can play the puck as well as he can, it saves your defensemen from taking hits retrieving pucks, and cuts the rink in half for forwards looking to make a play in transition. It’s almost like having a third defenseman at times and there’s still some kinks to be worked out but it’s promising to see two good puck-handlers in the Vees’ crease.
- 62 shots against and 59 saves for Brodeur in his first seven periods of action this year. He’s doing alright.
- Got to toss some credit to Owen Sillinger, Mitch Brooks and Jason Lavallee. They had the task of matching up against the Warriors top-line at the start of the game and they helped keep them pointless five-on-five. Liam Blackburn, Garrett Forster and Paul Lovsin was the top-line for the Tribe and only Forster got a point and that was on the power-play. We saw other Vees lines go against that trio too but the Sillinger line saw a large chunk of time against those three and did very well.
- Demico Hannoun has found another element to his game: defense. Not like he didn’t play well away from the puck before but he’s really taken it to another level this season. He’s seeing regular time on the penalty-kill and is very effective and he keeps making plays in his own end. Hey, he still knows his way around the net, as he scored the game’s first goal on that breakaway five-minutes into the first.
- A funnier moment came during warm-up when both teams hit the ice. I was watching both warm-ups before realizing these two teams do have similarities: taste in jerseys. The Warriors were debuting their new red third jerseys on Saturday and it turned out to be the exact same template the Vees are using for their home and road jerseys. The Warriors were decked out in crimson red, gold and black and the Vees had their traditional white blue and black combination. Click the link above for photos from last night to look at what I;m talking about. But I think the similarities end there.