- I wonder if Langley goaltender Bo Didur full submerged himself in an ice bath after Saturday’s game. The Rivermen goaltender faced 53 shots, yes FIFTY-THREE, from the Vees, as he was peppered by rubber. The Vees threw 22 at him in the first, 16 in the second and 15 in the third. The Vees had over 90, yes nine- zero, shot attempts in the game; that from the Vees hockey analytics department. Didur was the sole reason the Rivermen weren’t run out of the building in the first period. He stood on his head, allowing them to tie the game late in the first and then kept them within striking distance in the second and third periods. Didur is still uncommitted but that shouldn’t last too much longer if he turns in another performance like Saturday’s.
- Speaking of goalies, it’s hard for the other guy at the end of rink to be sharp when a puck is just a rumor for the most of the game. Anthony Brodeur only faced 14 shots through two periods and it’s tough to stay engaged when there’s long stretches without facing shooters. Look at the first, the Vees were all over Langley and all of a sudden, theirr leading scorer, Justin Fregona, comes dancing down the wing and right at Brodeur’s net. Langley scores on just their second shot of the game and it’s a high quality chance. That can be extremely frustrating for a goalie but I thought Brodeur did a good job of staying engaged despite a lot of inactivity. He did made a great breakaway save on Zac Masson in the second and of course that blocker-save at the end of the game, when Max Kaufman ripped it from the point just before time expired. Bottom line, Brodeur is still undefeated, 8-0 this season.
- Getting outside of the crease, a couple of Vees extended their point streaks. Scott Conway’s three-point night means his point streak now sits at 12 games. He’s scored in five straight games now as well. Conway has 26 points during his 12-game run, which is the longest active streak in the BCHL. Dante Fabbro pushed his point streak to 10 games. He scored last night and now has three goals in his last three games. He’s the highest-scoring defenseman in the BCHL with six goals and 20 points in 12 games; missed a game due to injury. Colton Poolman had a seven-game point streak going into last night’s game and was announced as getting an assist on the Vees fourth goal, but later in the boxscore it was changed to Chris Gerrie. I wonder, when scoring corrections are submitted, if Poolman’s streak will remain intact. Regardless, he’s having a fantastic October and sooner or later he’ll get his first goal as a Vee.
- Turnovers plagued the Vees on Friday but that wasn’t the case on Saturday. They were much better with the puck and had it for practically the entire first period. A big reason why the turnovers were down was their exits. They were far better Saturday at getting the puck out of their zone cleanly and quickly. The defensemen did a great job of finding a streaking forward in the neutral zone and that had the transition game clicking. The Vees Saturday were going from defense to offense in a hurry. Great first passes from the D-core throughout the night.
- Langley was no slouch and played as advertised. After a less than memorable first period, Langley got their feet underneath them in the second and most noticeably in the third, where the scoring and shot total was far more balanced. I was in charge of picking the three stars Saturday and it was hard to pick just three in a game like that, so apologies if you wanted more Rivermen up there. Outside of Didur, I thought Fregona had a really solid game, as the slippery forward was just that and scored two key goals; he’s the real deal. I also liked defenseman Will Campion who seemed to play every other shift and finished with two assists. He had that fantastic breakaway pass to Ben Butcher in the third period, as the Rivermen made it a 3-2 game. Langley has quite a few nice pieces and I don’t see them dropping out of the race for first place in the Mainland Division anytime soon. I think we’ll be seeing them up near or at the top all season.
- Some stats to update you on: The Vees are now 6-0-0 against the Mainland Division, winning three each at home and on the road. They’re 7-0-0 in the month of October and their winning percentage is now at an astounding .923. I know it’s only 13 games but for comparison’s sake, the vaunted 2012 Vees finished that regular season with a winning percentage of .917. Right now this year’s squad is on a better pace but there’s a lot of hockey left. A lot. But we can’t help ourselves can we? We always feel the need to compare and it’s fun to do. Regardless, the Vees hot start has given themselves a bit of a cushion at the top of the table and that’s key going into November and December. November is the World Under-17 Challenge and they’ll be losing Griffin Mendel for two weeks. Then it’s the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in December and you know Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro are locks for Team Canada West. Heck, Gabe Bast could be going back as he’s still eligible. Winning now and continuing to get points now, will help over the next two months when the Vees will be short-handed due to international duties.
- You know what impresses me most about this streak? How the Vees keep plugging holes and keep winning. They’ve had injuries to Gabe Bast, Chris Gerrie, Dante Fabbro and now Demico Hannoun but haven’t dropped a game. Think about that. That’s two top defenseman and two top-six forwards going down at one time or another but the Vees keep plugging away. Not many teams could do that. Credit to others, especially the youngsters, for stepping up and carrying the torch. We’ve seen fresh faces like Sam Jones, Griffin Mendel, Ben Brar, Seasmus Donohue and more step up and fill the void left by certain injuries. Depth, it’s vital to any teams success in junior hockey.