- Quite the contest Saturday night at the SOEC. It was somewhat like two veteran boxers going at it. After a feeling out process in the first, the Vees came out swinging in the second scoring three times to go up 3-0. But Salmon Arm kept jabbing away and tied it up in the third to force OT but the Vees found a way to deliver the knockout blow in OT. Fun game to watch, call, as both teams were flying up and down the ice early, as Salmon Arm is faster than sin; right up there with the Vees in team speed.
- First and foremost the Vees battled their butts off from start to finish, despite letting a 3-0 lead and a two-goal third period lead slip away. They’re not a team to make excuses but the short-handed line-up factored into the story line, as the Vees had just 11 regular forwards and four regular defensemen in the line-up; they only played five D. Not to take away from the Silverbacks, who cranked it up a few notches in the third, but the Vees legs started to get heavy towards the end of regulation but that made for a fantastic finish. The effort level was a complete 180 from Friday night, as all four lines brought something to the table Saturday. Just look at the scoring, through regulation, the Vees got goals from their first, second and fourth lines. That “team approach” was highlighted by AP forward Liam Lytton, just 15-years-old, scoring the Vees third goal in the second period. Even though the first period was a scoreless one, the Vees were noticeably better, as they tripled their shots from the first the night before and brought a noticeably physical edge.
- Great moment to see Lytton get his first BCHL goal, in just his second game, in front of eight family members and friends; I know because I had to organize the tickets ;). No, it was a direct shot but a puck banking in but in the end, they all count the same. Liam won’t forget that any time soon, and hey, he can tell his friends he went bar down.
- Also good to see Darius Davidson score his first as a Vee; nice one too. Great release early in the second to put the Vees up 1-0. He looked waaaaay more relaxed last night compared to Friday. I’m excited to see what he can do once he gets settled in.
- All you have to do to look at how hard the Vees battled was the play of Colton Poolman. He was a beast on the blue-line. Easily had the most minutes out of any player, on both sides, and was going up against the ‘Backs best forwards all night. He was near the 30-minute mark in ice time Saturday, kept Ross Heidt in check and that’s saying something, as he’s arguably the fastest player in the BCHL. Poolman looked to be feeling the minutes as the game moved into the third, but there he was, closing down the gap on the speedy Salmon Arm forwards, shutting down opportunities. Assistant Coach Steve Cawley said post-game, that was the best individual performance he has seen from a Vee this season. He also made a heckuva play on the game-winner, on “the shift.” During the three-on-three OT, Poolman made a smart play, moving in front of the net, drew a defender with him, as he was setting up a moving screen for Scott Conway. Poolman, unintentionally or intentionally, opened up the legs and Conway fired right through for the game-winner; don’t think the goalie saw the release.Here’s what I’m talking about:
— Penticton Vees (@PentictonVees) December 13, 2015
- Great play by Poolman to drive down the middle of the zone and act as a moving screen; bit of a basketball pick and roll play. That sequence might be known as “The Shift” going forward. Chris Gerrie makes two determined plays to take the puck away on the boards and keep it in the zone for the Vees, which eventually led to Conway scoring. The play by Gerrie was his best during that shift, as he races back to the blue-line, settles the puck then quickly spins and flips it back down to Conway who does the rest. Gerrie had a backhand attempt that just missed seconds before the goal but he didn’t sulk, rather he raced after it in the corner and took it away from the defenseman. That shift I think captured what the Vees were all about on Saturday. Hard-work.
- How about the bounce-back performance by Zach Driscoll? He gets pulled after 20-minutes on Friday, allowing two goals on seven shots. Great story about his character, was the fact he came to the coaches after that first period Friday and owned up to those two goals and said he wasn’t good enough. So, the coaches give him a shot to redeem himself and he takes the ball and runs with it. His best sequence was in the third and the first OT. I had him down for seven “Grade A” saves on my roster sheet. He made two clutch breakaway saves in the second too, robbing Mitch Newsome (five-hole) and Ross Heidt (glove). The Heidt save might have been the most flashy, as the Salmon Arm forward went backhand, but despite falling forward, Driscoll reached up and snagged it. In total, I have him down for four breakaway saves (Newsome, Heidt, Josh Blanchard and Elijiah Barriga). In OT, he made that HUGE right-pad save on Blanchard and then spread himself out in the crease, stuffing Newsome who walked out of the corner. If it wasn’t for him in the third and OT, the Vees don’t win this game. He’s performance can’t be overstated given how thin and fatigued the Vees were on the blue-line late. Big bounce back.
- The Vees are now 3-0-0 coming off a loss the game prior. They’ve outscored their opponents 15-7 in those three games. They have yet to lose back-to-back games this season. It’s December 13th.
- Scott Conway point streak update: 30-games, 28 goals and 64 points. He’s alright.
- At the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Ontario, Tyson Jost, Dante Fabbro and Canada West opened their tournament this morning with a 7-3 win over the Czech Republic. Jost had a goal and two points and Fabbro had two helpers. This morning, Jost was named the team Captain and Fabbro was named an Assistant. Game recap can be found here