- The Penticton Vees played 20 good minutes of hockey and that was enough on Wednesday night. Coaches always preach about 60-minute efforts and being consistent through all three periods. That wasn’t the case Wednesday, as the Vees stumbled in the first and second before flipping the switch in the third. Hey, credit the team for pulling up their socks and getting the job done, they just put a scare it their fans by leaving it so late.
- Of course Captain Tyson Jost scores a highlight reel short-handed goal early in the third period to ignite the comeback. Through two periods, the Vees had just one goal and 11 total shots. In the third period alone they scored four times, twice short-handed and matched their shot total from the first two periods. Jost’s wonder-goal seemed to give the Vees the shot in the arm they needed. Then another veteran, Scott Conway, took over and put on a show himself, scoring two goals in under three-minutes as they Vees started to pull away. The Vees are trying to get away from relying on their top guys constantly and we’ve seen the secondary scoring emerge recently, but nothing wrong with the top guys carrying the mail Wednesday.
- Before we go any further, we must credit the Trail Smoke Eaters. If I didn’t know what their record was prior to the game, I wouldn’t believe you if you told me they had lost three straight and were sixth in the division. They were a handful for the Vees, pushing them right to the end and they worked their butts off; probably their best effort to date. Their aggressive fore-check, neutral zone play gave the Vees headaches through the first two periods and that style of play manufactured their first two goals. Their best player(s) Wednesday? Harlan Orr and Ryan Swanson. Orr was clearly their best forward, as he was very good in the face-off circle, making plays off the rush and was key piece on both their penalty-kill and power-play. His PK efforts stood out, as he setup Kienan Scott’s short-handed goal in the second. More than worthy of the third star. Swanson was hands down, the best defenseman for Trail and pretty much played the entire game. OK, maybe not the entire game but he did log some serious minutes and never seemed to tire. He was a threat rushing the puck and even had a couple of chances down-low. He also was solid in his own zone, breaking up numerous plays in front of his net. This Trail team, if they play like Wednesday, should start winning more games and soon.
- Outside of Jost and Conway, I liked what I saw from Demico Hannoun. He was moved up on the wing with Jost and Conway in the second and provided the spark they needed. He setup the 3-2 goal by Conway on a really smart play off the rush. Hannoun came down the right-wing, fired the puck into the body of the Trail goaltender hoping to create a rebound. He did and Conway crashed the crease to give the Vees their first lead. Hannoun has a goal and four points in nine games, no, those numbers won’t jump out at you but he’s developing into a great defensive forward. He’s one of the Vees best penalty-killers and checkers. Yes, it’s come at the expense of some offense but he’s becoming a well-rounded player. Coaches won’t want to change a thing.
- Chris Gerrie didn’t take the demotion the wrong way. No, he actually made a heck of a pass on the Vees first goal. He fired a great rink-wide pass to Jason Lavallee at the Trail blue-line from inside his own zone. That pass created the two-on-one that Lavallee scored on. Gerrie’s reassignment provided a nice balance to the top-six last night.
- Remember, the Vees were without two of their top defensemen in Dante Fabbro and Gabe Bast. They went with five on the blue-line last night and three were rookies. The group had their hiccups but they tough it out and got the job done. It was a great learning experience for the younger guys and they showed they can play the tough minutes. Nights like last night will go a long way in their development.
- Saw maybe the most unconventional goal scored last night. To steal a term from
soccer,futbol, it was an own goal by Trail. Max Newton, with his net empty for the extra-skater, tried to play the puck back to the point. Well, he split his defensemen and for Trail, the puck painfully slid down the ice into their net. Owen Sillinger was credited with the goal after he got a stick on it, scrumming with Newton after the face-off.
- Last night was just the second time this year the Vees were scored on first and just the second time they trailed going into the third. The last time that happened was on opening night in Salmon Arm, a game in which they lost 4-2. The Vees found a way to avoid the same fate Wednesday.