Photos courtesy of: Cherie Morgan Photography
- A rematch of last year’s Fred Page Cup Final and a highly anticipated encounter between Penticton and Nanaimo didn’t disappoint. No, there wasn’t enough five-on-five play, as special teams dominated the story line but it was a thrilling finish, with some great action late. The Vees were just over two-minutes away from seeing their 18-game win streak end but the Captain did it again and then it was a wily veteran winning it in OT. Over 2,900 fans packed the SOEC, creating one of the best atmosphere’s of the season and they weren’t disappointed; they got their money’s worth.
- The penalty-kill. Front and centre on Saturday and boy did it ever step up-again. It was a battle of the league’s best penalty-kill (Penticton) against the league’s second-best power-play (Nanaimo). There were some hairy moments but the Vees PK was superb on Saturday, going a perfect 8-8, killing-off not only a four-minute double-minor but also a minute and thirty-five seconds of five-on-three time in the third. Folks, this Nanaimo power-play was humming along at 27 percent and they had scored at least one power-play goal in their last nine games coming into Saturday’s clash. That ended. First and foremost, Anthony Brodeur was at his best. As the cliché goes, your goaltender has to be your best penalty-killer and Brodeur was just that. Just 18-seconds into the game the Clippers were given a four-minute power-play after Tyson Jost was called for high-sticking. Brodeur and the gang were up for the challenge, as they kept the Nanaimo snipers at bay and Brodeur stopped seven shots during that four-minute sequence. Remember, the Clippers first unit power-play featured the league’s third, fourth and ninth overall scorers going into the game; Matt Hoover was second in power-play (8) goals in the BCHL. The four-minute kill was huge but just as big, was the five-on-three for ninety-five seconds they had to deal with at the start of the third. The game was still 1-1 at the point and who knows how things would have played out, if Nanaimo had scored there. After Saturday, the PK is now over 90 percent, which is tops in the BCHL and it’s almost three percent better than the next best team. At home their only second to Trail on the PK at 87.80 %. I know the players hand out “the belt” to their player of the game in the room after every win. Maybe Saturday, the PK unit should have gotten the honour.
- I’ve said this a few times recently but maybe Saturday was one of Anthony Brodeur’s top performance. Not only did he face 37 shots and 28 through two periods but the quality of shots face needs to be taken into consideration. He made his fair share of stops from threatening areas and I can count a good handful, if not more, great reactionary saves. He had an answer time and again on the PK and when Nanaimo was buzzing. The two he conceded were great individual plays by Devin Brosseau and Sheldon Rempal. He’s a competitor and he’s a winner and you can see that in his game. He’s now 12-0 and his goals-against average is well below two and his save percentage is an impressive .933. Bottom line, the guy keeps winning.
- What a day for Tyson Jost and Scott Conway. Both were playing with little to no sleep but found a way to make an impact, especially Jost. The two were on separate school visits down south the last couple of days, Jost visiting North Dakota. I talked to the Captain after the game and he gave me this nugget on his travel today: His day started at 1:30 am PST in Grand Forks, North Dakota and ended just before 9 pm PST in Penticton, BC. It was a journey from the start to finish line, making pit stops in Minneapolis, Seattle and Kelowna before getting into Penticton just after 1:30 pm PST. Then it was back to the rink for a 6pm PST face-off. He scored both of their regulation goals. Pretty incredible. He played a lot too and didn’t look rusty out there. Jost is now just four points back of matching his total output from his rookie season (45); he’s played 20 games.
- Demico Hannoun, he could be that “X factor” going forward. A guy who’s always known to have that ability to be a game-breaker and we saw it again Saturday. Early into three-on-three overtime, he is deep back-checking a Rempal chance. He closes the angle to negate a real quality opportunity, then gives a subtle bump to Matt Hoover in front to create some space going the other . He then takes off, finds open ice, gets the pass from Nicholas Jones and gets on his horse to score the winner. It was a crazy sequence and to fully appreciate it, take a look at the photo:
That’s Hannoun beside the blue arrow, the four red arrows are Nanaimo Clippers. Yes, this was three-on-three OT but Nanaimo made a mess of a change and momentarily had four players on the ice. That’s Hannoun at his own blue-line taking the pass for the breakaway goal, and that’s TWO Clippers ahead of him. Speed wobble or not by the Clippers defenseman, that’s impressive power by Hannoun to find another gear and win that race to the Nanaimo net and easily. He’s at his OWN blue-line folks. Since returning from injury, Hannoun has scored five goals in four games and some big ones too. Hannoun is a guy that you know loves the big moments. He wasn’t going to miss.
- Scott Conway did extend his point streak to 19-games with an assist on the Jost game-tying goal. Originally the assist was to Easton Brodzinski but upon review, Conway does dig the puck loose out of a scrum and pushed it over to Jost, who then does the rest. Conway, 19-game point streak, the Vees on a 19-game win streak. He’s such a fierce competitor and it rubs off on his teammates. What makes good players great is when their work ethic matches their skill. What makes the Vees special this year is the fact some of their most skilled guys are some of their most competitive. Conway fits that bill. He too had a long travel day back from south of the border but didn’t use that as an excuse.
- OK, speaking of Jost, what a goal his second was. Take away the timing of it and it’s still pretty remarkable. He gets the puck between his own circles, right in front of his net. Quickly slams it into sixth gear, breezes through the neutral zone and is on top of the Nanaimo defense in a blink of an eye. He finishes off the play with a laser over the glove of the Clippers’ netminder. Oh, yes, this all coming with just over two-minutes left in the third, with his team down one. The link above to the highlights is worth the watch.
- Have to mention the battle of the top-lines and the Clippers, statistically speaking, did edge the Vees. Brosseau, Rempal and Matt Hoover combined for two goals and five points in the win, one point better than Brodzinski, Conway and Jost. Despite Brosseau scoring twice, Rempal hands down was the best Clipper Saturday. The 20-year-old finished with two assists, was all over the ice and never really seemed to tire. He played a ton and was dangerous from start to finish. That shift he had that led to the Clippers second goal was something, which is in the highlights. Rempal was buzzing around the Vees zone, almost scored in own right, only to be betrayed by rut in the ice. He got back up, threw a hit to force a turnover and then fired a quick cross-crease pass to Brosseau. I think he ran a bit out of gas in the overtime periods but he was as advertised and a treat to watch. He moved into second in BCHL scoring behind Jost with his two points. His determined effort and skill is a nice blend and is fun to watch.
- I was a pair of pom-poms away from being a full-blown cheerleader on Colton Poolman’s chance in double-overtime. He pinched down, went to the back post and almost jammed in the puck on the pass across for his first as a Vee. I’ll admit, I am rooting for the kid to get his first goal. He’s been a horse on the blue-line, especially with the rash on injuries back their lately. At even-strength, on the power-play or penalty-kill he’s steady. He’s got 16 assists and his first will come. It will come.
- Geography is a pain in the ass. It would be great to see these two teams play each other more than twice every year. Unfortunately their separated by a few hundred kilometers and ocean. Too bad, as Saturday had a playoff feel to it.
Congrats to defenseman Griffin Mendel and Canada White on Gold Medal win at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek, BC. Canada beat Russia 6-2 in the Championship game. Great photo from Griff’s dad here as he’s given his gold medal. First time a Canadian team has won gold at the event since 2011.Advertisements