— Fraser Rodgers (@VeesVoice) December 16, 2015
- Well, that’s some kind of stat. The Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane had a well publicized 26-game point streak in the NHL, which ironically came to an end last night in their 3-0 loss to Colorado. Kane had 16 goals and 24 assists during the run, which was the second longest in the NHL since Mats Sundin’s 30-game stretch in 1992-93. Why am I telling you this? Well, for comparison’s sake, Conway now has a point in very game but one he’s played in this season. He was shutout on opening night, missed two games due to a school visit but has points in the rest. His streak stretches all the way back to September 16th, ironically enough against Vernon. He’s got 30 goals and 68, SIXTY-EIGHT, points during his run. Just think about that for a moment or two. He was a man amongst boys last night. Two goals, two assists and he scored the game-tying goal and set up the game-winner in double-OT.
- I think Vernon will deny enter to Kal-Tire Place for Conway next time the Vees come to Vernon. Conway after Tuesday now has seven goals and 11 points (yes that’s not a misprint) in four games against the Vipers. He’s got three two-goal games against Vernon in the season series. Snake charmer.
- Conway was at the center of it all on Tuesday, not only did he bag four points in the win but he was also at the center of a controversial penalty-shot call against Penticton. This was the play:
- Sorry, but that’s a textbook stick lift by Conway. The referee pantomimes a “holding” call on the play but as you can clearly see, Conway has both of his hands on his stick, he lifts Hunter Zandee’s stick twice and never turns over his blade. How is it a hold when he comes up from underneath and lifts his stick and then scoops the puck away? You can say I’m wearing my “Vees coloured glasses” but this was a flat-out missed call. Not only was it a terrible call but the time it was called at made it even more puzzling. It’s a 3-3 game with just over six-minutes left in the third period and that call could have decided the game. It was such a great play by Conway, who gave the puck away, to race back, change his angle to come at the side of Zandee and lift up his stick to prevent the shot. Luckily the Vees came back to tie the game and then win it in double-overtime. Heckuva play by Zandee to force the turnover and give himself an opportunity on the breakaway. He even recovered nicely on the penalty-shot, as he bobbled it somewhat before recovering and going five-hole. Fortunately that wasn’t the ending for the Vees.
- Some Vernon fans won’t be happy about the penalty call that led to Conway tying the game late in the third on the power-play. But the Vernon forward left his feet and hit the back of Colton Poolman just off the boards. Here’s the reverse angle from behind the Vernon net:
- That’s a textbook charging call. Brandt’s known to be a big hitter and his reputation for that is well-known around the league. So, he’s under the microscope and that hit won’t slide, especially when the optics look like that. I didn’t, from my angle, see him leave his feet when it happened but watching the video it’s pretty cut and dry.
- Funny, because I thought the officials did a pretty good job last night up until the final minutes when all that controversy broke out. A shame that’s what the fans will remember most and not what was a pretty exciting game in the last two periods.
- That’s the overtime-winner by Chris Gerrie above. So, this post-game blog is turning into the Scott Conway blog, but he made another great play on the winner. First, smart play by Luke Voltin to elude a defender in the neutral zone, before spotting Conway for the drop pass. He knew Conway was coming straight up the gut and would be in full stride so he just drops it for him to skate onto. Then Conway shows his smarts, as he comes down into the zone at top speed, sucks two defenders over to him, waiting for them to pinch over, before firing a dart back over to Gerrie for the shot. The Vipers knew all too well the OT prowess of Conway and you can see Jagger Williamson and Latrell Charleson key on Conway, as everyone thought he was going to shoot. Crafty play by the veteran to set up Gerrie for the winner.
- Funny, talking with Vernon Broadcaster Graham Turnbull after the game, he jokingly said the Vees were just playing it safe it four-on-four to just get it to three-on-three and take their chances there. That was the Vees’ fourth double-overtime win this season, as they’re 4-0 in the three-on-three period, so maybe there’s some truth to Mr. Turnbull’s comments. They have a ton of skill and you can see it take over when there’s so much open ice with only six skaters out there. They sure know how to pick their spots and this team is now 7-0-1-0 beyond regulation. Undefeated in eight games.
- Back to Gerrie for a moment, that was his first goal since November 25th, snapping a six-game scoreless drought. Coincidentally enough his last goal before Tuesday night came against Vernon too. Now, Gerrie and Conway have formed quite the OT pairing, as that’s back-to-back games they’ve manufactured the OT-winner. Saturday it was Gerrie setting up Conway and Tuesday they switched roles. I’m guessing we will see more of those two together in future overtime games.
- One of the biggest problems for the Vipers this season? Their record against the top three teams in the Interior. They’re now 0-9-0-3 in 12 games against the Vees, Warriors and Silverbacks. Divisional points are so valuable and they’ve struggled to get points against teams that are ahead of them in the standings. Big reason why they’re in a dog fight with Trail for the fourth and final playoff spot. Big, BIG, game tonight in Trail, as the Vipers and Smoke Eaters go head-to-head.
- How about Anthony Brodeur? Head Coach Fred Harbinson quipped this morning that it was a “Grant Fuhr” performance. He let in a few but didn’t let in the next one. After allowing three in the first period, Brodeur stopped 24 of the 25 shots he faced over the final 46-minutes and 41 seconds. He made an eye-popping pad save on Steven Jandric in the second to keep the game tied 3-3 and then, with the Vees down 4-3, he made three “Grade A” saves on Jagger Williamson and Riley Brandt. He stops Williamson on a breakaway, then stops his rebound AND THEN he stops Brandt on the follow-up try. He made the big saves when his team needed him to. Still undefeated.
- Speaking of Brandt, some Vernon Vipers and their fans were upset there was no call when Andrew Shortridge got bowled over in his crease late in the third. Well, here’s the video:
- Some friendly fire by Brandt, as he went to go make a hit on Voltin just at the top of the crease as Voltin was cutting to the net. Unfortunately when Brandt went to throw the hit he bounces right off of Voltin and flies into his own goalie. Voltin goes in after Brandt, as he trips over the sprawled out goaltender. You wonder if the risk there was worth it, as there’s a very good chance the goalie is going to absorb some of the impact when a hit is attempted that close to the crease. That just a bad luck collision in the Vernon crease.
- Some solid play but three veteran blue-liners in Poolman, David Eccles and Dom Masellis. I thought the three really stepped up when the Vees needed a push from the back-end in the second and third period. Poolman did Poolman things, logging a lot of ice and playing in all situations. Same goes for Eccles but I thought Masellis took a step forward last night. He was solid in his own end and was effective at the offensive blue-line make nice plays by keeping pucks in and firing intentional shots off the end boards, looking for the lively bounce back out front.
- Not to be buried at the bottom of the blog but Nic Jones may have been the Vees best forward outside of Conway. He had two assists in the win and was a puck magnet all night. Shift after shift, he was making things happen in the offensive zone. I’ve said it quite a few times before, but he’s one of the most competitive and hardest-working forwards I’ve come across.
- Shots seemed to be a bit off too last night, as in building they had them 41-29 Vernon but the Vees had it 33-29 Penticton on their shot tracker app. Odd, because the Vees weren’t credited with a shot in OT, despite scoring. Head scratcher.