(Cherie Morgan Photography)
- As Taylor Swift says in her hit song, “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.” The Vees pushed their win streak to 22 games Saturday, in an entertaining 4-3 win over the Cowichan Valley Capitals at the SOEC, and in front of over 2,500 fans. The Vees came back from a late first period deficit, then held off a pesky Caps team that erased two, one-goal leads for the Vees. Tyson Jost was at it again, scoring twice, including the game-winner with just over two-minutes remaining in regulation.
- Alright, Tyson Jost. The Vees Captain scores two goals, both on the power-play, and the game-winner with just 2:09 left on the clock in regulation. His first power-play was a rocket, as he absolutely hammered a one-timer from the right-wing circle, just five seconds into the power-play. If you blinked, you missed it. Then he puts his team on his back, scoring the GWG, on a great passing play between him and Nicholas Jones. The kid sure knows how to pick his spots. Remember, in the last home game on November 7th, it was Jost going end-to-end to tie the game against Nanaimo to force OT; that goal too came late in the third. Jost now has 21 goals and 46 points, eclipsing his total of 45 from last year and in half the games. How good has he been? Well, the Vees leading scorer in the regular season last year had 47 points. He’s one back and it’s mid November.
- It was a great game for the fans, as two division leaders went toe-to-toe for sixty back-and-forth minutes. The Caps and their fans were a bit jaded with the late penalty call against them that led to the game-winning goal. I went back and watched the video, making sure to take off my Vees-coloured glasses ;). When watching back, Nicholas Jones, a few feet off the boards, has his backed to the Caps’ Matt Hudie as he was stopping up to play the puck. Hudie, who had Jones’ number to him, did come up and it looked like he got his stick on the small of Jones’ back. That push, contact caused Jones to lose his balanced and crash into the boards. It wasn’t good optics, but by the letter of the law, it’s a penalty but I understand their grief of when it was called. I’ll put it this way, if that was say, Ryan Burton instead of Nicholas Jones, would you be OK with a non-call? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
- I think most of the frustration stems from the Caps not coming away from the game with at least a single point. I can definitely agree with that, as they played a great road game and, yeah, were deserving of coming away with something. Oh, and yeah they did have a power-play with six-minutes left in the game, when it was tied 3-3. They had their chance too.
- You can say the Caps were the better team five-on-five in the two-game season series, as they did outscore the Vees 5-3 but hockey is married to special teams. The Vees went 5-12 on the power-play in two games against the Caps. The Caps went 1-10. Penticton made the most of their chances. That says something too.
- Quite the game-winner too, as Jones and Jost team up for a great passing sequence, check it out:
- The goal all starts with the face-off win, critical. If you don’t win the draw your chasing back for the puck in your own end and that’s another 10-15 seconds shaved off the clock. Jost takes the puck, circles up to the high-slot, sucks a defender in thinking he’s shooting but drops it smartly to Jones. Jones then makes a great fake of his own, loading up a shot on the right-wing, bringing two PK’ers towards him. That opens up the seam for him to slide the back-door pass over to Jost; automatic after that.
- How about the supporting cast Saturday? I say that in the utmost respect as the Vees definitely got some secondary scoring. David Eccles, he of two assists, scores his first of the season to tie the game early in the second; as expected. Then it was Mitch Brooks, a key penalty-killer and depth forward, moving up on the second-line and scoring the 3-2 goal in the third. Jost did get two but the Vees got some key contributions from outside of their big guns. You can tell what it means to the team when good team guys like Brooks and Eccles score. Watch the highlights at the top of the page and watch the reactions after the goals by Brooks and Eccles. First, when Eccles scored, he looked like he was a bit shocked but his teammates were ecstatic. Demico Hannoun looked more excited than Eccles and even went and picked up the puck if I’m not mistaken. The guys on the ice were so excited for “Ecks”. Then Brooks, who isn’t one who lacks energy, had the celebration of all celebrations. Out comes the knee drop slide, arm pump combination, then it was the glass jump to cap it off; very fitting. That’s huge for a team’s confidence. morale when they get guys like that scoring.
- I thought the best line for Cowichan Valley was their “second line,” of Matt Hudie, Patrick Geary and Jared Domin. That line combined for two of three goals and as a unit, they finished with a combined five points. Hudie, for my money, was their best forward on Saturday. Had a goal and an assist and was always a threat off the rush. He has great wheels and showed them off quite a few times; quite the crafty player. Their first line has been good this year, with Kade Kehoe, Ryan Burton and Adam Osczevski but teams will have to be weary of Hudie, Domin and Geary going forward.
- Lost maybe in the win was the fact the Vees only had five defensemen in their line-up Saturday. With Domenic Masellis suspended, the Vees didn’t have the time to call-up a defenseman. So, it was up to Dante Fabbro, Colton Poolman, David Eccles, Sam Jones and Griffin Mendel to hold the fort. The group did a very admirable job and kept one of the highest scoring teams in the BCHL, to just two even-strength goals. Masellis will have to sit out one more game Wednesday before he can return on Friday, fittingly against his old team, the Langley Rivermen. But big props to those five for taking on the extra minutes and responsibility and finding a way to help push the streak to 22.
- So Cowichan Valley did something that many have struggled to do against the Vees this year: score a power-play goal. Believe it or not, Hudie’s goal in the second was just the ninth power-play goal given up this year by the Vees. NINTH. Just the second in their last 11, as they were 40-41 on the PK in their last 10 games, entering Saturday’s showdown. Big reason why the Vees are on this run is the play of both their PK and power-play.
- Cool moment that was pointed out to me Saturday, was the Vees and in particular Anthony Brodeur, getting some love from the folks on Hockey Night in Canada. During one of the intermissions in the Canucks-Leafs telecast, the intermission panel talked about Brodeur’s great start and the Vees streak. You can see that segment here. (Near the two-minute mark).
- Finally, a very touching and classy tribute prior to the game by the great people behind the scenes at the SOEC, paying tribute the victims of the tragic events in Paris, France, on Friday. I admittedly get caught up living in a “hockey bubble” but events like that jolt you and make step back and think. Wins and losses sometimes seem so insignificant.