(Demico Hannoun, left, and Scott Conway had big nights Saturday)
- If you recognized the Back to the Future reference in the title of the blog, then take a bow. Doc Brown had the trademark line “Great Scott!” in the series and it could have been applied Saturday to the Vees win over Trail and the performance of Scott Conway. The Vees torched the Smokies for eight goals and Conway had a game-high four points in the win. Saturday was the second time in just THREE games the Vees have scored eight in a game and third time this season. Also, they’ve now outscored Trail 26-6 through four games this season and 21-3 in just the last three games in the season series. Wrap your head around that.
- It wasn’t just Conway on Saturday and that’s what made the win so satisfying for the team. Six different players scored and all four lines had at least on goal in the game. Depth players like Mitch Brooks, Desi Burgart and Taylor Ward all found the scoresheet, as it was not just the veterans contributing either. Five rookies combined for two goals and six points in the win, as Burgart led the young pups with a goal and an assist. There wasn’t one weak link on Saturday as the Vees got contributions from up and down their line-up and even from their blue-line, as they combined for eight points, all assists, in the win. In all, once scoring corrections are submitted, 14 of the Vees 18 skaters on Saturday had at least a single point; that’s what you call a team effort.
- Before the game, the message was energy. The coaches wanted their team to play with a lot more energy Saturday after it was noticeably missing in their game against Vernon Wednesday. The very first shift of the game was a tone setter, as the line of Mitch Brooks, Demico Hannoun and Luke Voltin went right into the Trail zone, threw their weight around and ate up some clock; the standard was set. The day off Thursday and no game Friday, definitely helped the Vees but they still made the conscious effort to play at a higher pace than they did the game before and it paid dividends Saturday. Trail, who played in Wenatchee Friday, had trouble keeping up with the Vees speed early and that got them into trouble as the game went on; a bit road weary too. It’s great to watch a plan come together and then get executed very well. It’s not only satisfactory for the coaches to see their team go about the plan that was laid out before them, but it shows the players the benefits of sticking to the plan at hand. The coaches wanted more energy, quicker pace and that netted not only the win but eight goals. At this level, keeping you feet constantly moving, shift by shift, is what separates the good teams from the great teams. No let downs from the Vees last night.
- Speaking of moving their feet, Demico Hannoun arguably is one of the best players in the BCHL when he’s playing a top speed. When the 20-year-old is going, keeping his feet moving, shift after shift, he’s hard to stop. Just look at his second goal of the game Saturday, as he blazes down the left-wing, beats the defenseman wide, and in one fluid motion, the right-handed shot forward turns the puck back onto his forehand and as he’s about to go around the net, he flips it over the goalie’s glove on the far-side. Patented Hannoun dangle. I’ve written about how well-rounded his game has become this year but it’s nice to see him finding the offensive touch again and consistently; three goals in three games for the 20-year-old.
- I really liked the line Hannoun was playing on with fellow 20-year-olds in Brooks and Voltin. As Brooks dubbed it post-game, the “Old Boys Club.” The three veteran players had a very effective game Saturday, combining for three goals and six points; all three had two-point nights. They were hard in on the fore-check, played a heavy game and didn’t cut corners in their own end. An example? With the score 8-1 Vees, I watched Brooks bust his butt to get back to the back-post and break up a pass across for Trail’s Evan MacEachern. A small thing like that is what makes coaches smile. Great example set by a 20-year-old in Brooks, showing he’s not cutting corners, no matter the score.
- Staying with the veterans, how about the pass by Voltin to Scott Conway, that eventually led to the Nicholas Jones opening goal? Voltin, from his own left-circle, fires a saucer pass all the way out to the far-side of the neutral zone, that lands right on the tape of Conway’s stick. Conway then moved in and found Jones at the back-post. That was purty.
- Scott Conway is rounding into form and that’s scary, considering he’s still be putting up points. Conway was back to his usual self on Saturday, making plays, hounding the puck and being a factor at both ends of the ice. He had two great setups on the Vees’ two first goals, dishing great passes to Nicholas Jones and Hannoun. Then, he sniped top corner on his first goal of the second period, then rolled his sleeves up, went to a greasy area and banged-in his second. He was good in his own end too, breaking up plays and getting in on the back-check. The key to the Vees is their best players are their hardest-working players.
- Another check-mark? Their start. Going into Saturday’s game, the Vees had given up the game’s first goal in three straight. Well, that Jones goal came 64-seconds into the game, on their first shot, then they added a power-play marker late to take a two-goal lead into the break. Big, because the Vees are now 21-0 when they scored first and 12-0 when they lead after 20-minutes.
- Quietly (?) Dante Fabbro picked up three assists Saturday and now is fifth in BCHL scoring with 37 points in just 22 games. That’s fifth overall, as in, only four forwards in the entire league have more points than him. Decent.
- Talked about young guys earlier and it was great to see Taylor Ward have a big night. A 17-year-old rookie and a guy playing a depth role but he had a big impact Saturday. Scores a beauty of a goal, a rocket from the right-wing circle and then has a great scrap with Trail’s John Laurito. Well, he even drew a penalty right after his goal, that to Mitch Brooks making it 4-0. Big confidence boost for “Wardo” and for the team as well, when young guys like him can be a spark plug. Here’s his goal:
— Penticton Vees (@PentictonVees) November 29, 2015