RBC Cup Post-Game 4: Vees Beat T-Birds; Semi-Finals Talk +Commish Interview


Post Game_RBC GM 4

(Photos: Andy Devlin, Hockey Canada Images)




Chatting with BCHL John Grisdale










John Grisdale Interview

Pat Newell Interview 

  • The Penticton Vees finished the round-robin at the RBC Cup with a 5-2 win over a pesky Soo Thunderbirds squad. Pat Newell led the way for the Vees, scoring twice and finishing with four points and they got singles from Steen Cooper, Dakota Conroy and Tyson Jost. The Vees did built up a 3-0 lead before Brett Jeffries scored back-to-back goals for the Soo to make it 3-2. Jost and Conroy then scored back-to-back power-play goals to ice things in the third period.
  • At the time, the Vees moved into first place in the standings with nine points, but Portage won their round-robin finale tonight 3-2 over Melfort and have clinched top spot in the standings. So, the Vees finished second and play the Carleton Place Canadians in the 2 vs. 3 Semi-Final on Saturday, May 16th, at 2 pm CT / 12 om PST. The Portage Terriers face the Melfort Mustangs at 7 pm CT / 5pm PST on Saturday night in the 1 vs. 4 Semi-Final.
  • Need tickets? If you’re a traveling Vees fan (parent, family member or avid supporter) you can get your hands on some Semi-Final tickets. Word came down that a block of 100 tickets will be released on Friday morning at 8:30 am and will be up for grabs on a first come, first serve basis. All you have to do is go down to the PCU Centre box office at the rink here in Portage la Prairie, or phone their administration office (204) 239-1520. All you have to do is say your looking for the Vees block of tickets for the Semi-Final game. Of course, if you’re not in Portage la Prairie, you can listen to the game on EZ Rock AM 800, http://www.penticton.myezrock.com, or watch online at http://www.hockeycanada.ca/rbccup. 
  • OK, the interview with Commissioner John Grisdale is above and there is a few nuggets to breakdown. One, Wenatchee is just waiting for the stamp of approval from Hockey Canada but as Commish Grisdale says above, it’s merely a formality, as BC Hockey approved it last week. So, they’re in, but where will they play? The Wenatchee Wild will play in the Mainland Division for the 2015-2016 season, then realignment will be looked at next off-season; the Wild could be in the Interior for 2016-2017. What about imports? As the Commish revealed, they’ve come out with an import formula, as the Wild will have Washington, Missouri, California and Colorado as their branch. So, that’s where they can get their underage players from, the 16 and 17 year-olds which wouldn’t count as imports. Grisdale says under USA Hockey, they’re allowed four imports, so would that means any players outside of those four states would be considered imports. Americans or Canadians. So my understanding is they’ll be allowed four imports whereas the rest of the BCHL will be allowed six. Please, correct me if I’m wrong.
  • Victoria. Lots of news has been swirling around in the last 48 hours about the state of the Victoria Grizzlies franchise as they were in drawn out lease negotiations with Westshore Parks & Rec over their leasing of the Q Centre. It didn’t look good at all just a day ago, as there was strong talk of the team folding or relocating. The Times Colonist newspaper in Victoria had a story on that yesterday. But, as Commissioner John Grisdale said, it’s part of the process of negotiations and late this afternoon, local TV in Victoria had a follow story on their news tonight saying that meetings today went well and there looks to be an agreement in the near future. WATCH HERE.  
  • Let’s talk about the game shall we? It was a pretty good start for the Vees, as they got up 1-0 after one and 3-0 early in the second period. As Assistant Coach Steve Cawley said post-game, it was pretty solid first 30-minutes from the Vees; however, they did stray away from the game plan somewhat in the last half of the second and that’s where we saw a push by the T-Birds. Hey, the Soo gave the Vees a good fight and today was arguably their best effort in this tournament. But as Coach Cawley said, they seemed to stray away from what was working after they got up by three; human nature to cheat a bit with a cushion.
  • What was the turnaround? A crafty timeout by Head Coach Fred Harbinson early in the third. The Soo scored late-ish in the second and then early in the third, both by Brett Jeffries to make it 3-2. Then, Nathan Hebert rattles the cross-bar on an attempt from the bottom of the circle; that shortly after the 3-2 goal. So, the Vees call a timeout, the coach settles down the troops and they go and outscore the Soo 2-0 the rest of the third and end up out shooting them 13-6 in the third. Great turnaround by the Vees and another sign of poise. They saw the game was getting away from them a bit but most importantly, they did something about it.
  • Pat Newell eh? A four-point afternoon and finished the round-robin with four goals six points, which is a team-best. He’s such a crafty player, always slipping away from checks and finding soft spots in coverage. I asked him in the interview above how he avoids contact so much and he laughed it off and said it’s about anticipating the play; he’s got great vision. Both of his goals were nice and in different ways. His first was a nice play between him, Demico Hannoun and Gabe Bast. Bast fires the pass up to Hannoun at centre, who sees Newell breaking ahead down the right-wing and has the presence of mind to push it ahead to Newell. Newell knew he wasn’t going to win a race to the net so he fired a shot inside the far-post on the blocker-side; well placed. Then, Connor Chartier makes a great no-look, backhand pass across to Newell and he buries it into the open net. Yes, it was a power-play, but Newell still had the sense creep into a quiet area at the side of the net for the tap-in.
  • The top-line was cooking this afternoon. Newell, Hannoun and Jost finished with three goals and eight points. They finally broke out today and in a big way after being somewhat stifled. They were playing very well in the previous three games but didn’t have that break out moment-it came Thursday. The Vees won two of their first three games with those games not putting their fingerprints on the scoresheet. They did that today. Hopefully this was a precursor to the Semi-Final.





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RBC Cup GM 4 Preview: Vees Meet Familiar Foe

GM 4_RBC Cup











The Penticton Vees wrap up their RBC Cup round-robin schedule this afternoon when they face the Central Region Representatives the Soo Thunderbirds from the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL). The Vees sit second in the RBC Cup standings heading into Day 6, with a 2-0-1-0 record and still have a shot a nabbing first place with a win today and some help in the Melfort-Portage game tonight. The Soo Thunderbirds have been eliminated from Semi-Final action after dropping their first three games and will be playing for pride this afternoon.

The Vees still have a shot at clinching first place but will need a regulation win this afternoon, possibly by a couple of goals too, and will need the Melfort Mustangs to force overtime tonight against the Portage Terriers. A Portage regulation win against Melfort would clinch them first place overall.

Just one line-up changes as Cam Amantea will come out for rest and Mitch Newsome will drawk back in on a line with Cody DePourcq and Lewis Zerter-Gossage.




Vees Projected Line-Up

11 Patrick Newell 71 Tyson Jost 21 Demico Hannoun

17 Steen Cooper 48 Connor Chartier 67 Dakota Conroy

12 Matt Serratore 91 Riley Alferd 15 Jack Ramsey

28 Mitch Newsome 19 Cody DePourcq 77 Lewis Zerter-Gossage

53 Patrick Sexton 2 Dante Fabbro

10 Miles Gendron 4 Gabe Bast

3 Mike Lee 27 Jarod Hilderman

35 Hunter Miska

1 Brendan Barry

Soo Thunderbirds


Two years after becoming the first Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League team to reach the RBC Cup in a decade, the Soo Thunderbirds are back for another shot at Canada’s National Junior A Championship.

The Soo was its usual successful self in the regular season, finishing atop the NOJHL standings for the fourth time in five years, and it ran away with from the competition in the playoffs, winning 12 of 14 games and outscoring its opponents 86-21. At the Dudley Hewitt Cup, the Thunderbirds clinched first place in the round robin – and a bye to the final – with two wins and a shootout loss, and a 3-2 win over host Fort Frances gave them a spot at the RBC Cup.

The Thunderbirds have only one player remaining from their 2012 RBC Cup team – forward Joey Miller – but that doesn’t mean they’re short on national championship experience; nine Thunderbirds were members of the Sault Ste. Marie North Stars when that team hosted the 2013 TELUS Cup.

Thunderbirds Projected Line-up:

13 Boris Katchouk 23 Brett Jeffries 10 Matt Pinder

18 Matthew Mitchell 15 Anthony Miller 26 Eric Hillock

14 Jaren Bellini 28 Matt Caruso 17 Nicolas Tassone

19 Nathan Hebert 12 Joey Miller 25 Connor Dea

20 Andrew Barbeau 27 Owen Headrick

21 Caleb Boman 24 David Radke

8 Brandon Grandinetti 2 Matt Busby

30 Mario Culina

35 Brian Kment

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RBC Cup GM 3 Post-Game: Vees Hold-Off CPC

Post Game_RBC GM 3

(Photos: Andy Devlin, Hockey Canada Images)




Audio Highlights:

Post-Game with Assistant Coach Nick Fuher

Jack Ramsey Interview

Andy Sturtz Interview

  •  The Penticton Vees have done what two teams couldn’t do against the Carleton Place Canadians: Score a goal and win. They not only scored but they scored four in a 4-3 win over CPC, to improve their record to 2-1 at the RBC Cup in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Coming into Tuesday’s tilt, the Canadians were 2-0-0 after 4-0 and 3-0 wins over the Soo Thunderbirds and the Portage Terriers respectively.
  • I spoke pre-game about the Vees trying to capitalize on their good starts, especially considering the Canadians were playing their first afternoon game of the tournament, but it was CP getting ahead early- like 30-seconds into the game early. The Vees took a penalty on the opening shift, that 20-seconds in, than Andy Sturtz scored 10-seconds into the Canadians power-play. Blink of an eye and it’s 1-0 for Carleton Place. That wasn’t what the Vees envisioned in the first but they did well to regroup and tie it. They regrouped a couple of times and that was a sign of poise. Not only were they down 1-0 but 2-1, so they came back from two one-goal deficits to win. That against a team that hadn’t allowed a goal in the first 125-minutes of their tournament.
  • During the pre-game show, I said one of the keys for the Vees was going to get traffic in front on Canadians goaltender Guillaume Therien and well, they did a good job of that. If you look back, three of their four goals came from on top of or in the Carleton Place crease. As discussed with Assistant Coach Nick Fuher in the post-game show, goals at this juncture of the season are going to come from those “greasy” areas and that’s exactly where the Vees scored their first three. They didn’t cheat themselves by cutting corners but rather willed pucks into the net; that’s how you’re going to beat a goaltender of Therien’s caliber. Cam Amantea puts a rebound underneath Therien in the first after the point-shot was blocked. Steen Cooper finds a loose puck at the base of the post and after a scramble and he smacks it in to tie it 2-2, then Riley Alferd was first a loose puck in another scramble on top of the Carleton Place crease. The Vees got their nose dirty.
  • I really thought the game swung in the Vees favour in the second period. Don’t get me wrong, they had their moments in the first period but I thought they found their game in the second. They spent more time in the Carleton place end, worked the puck down low and it looked like that tired out the Canadians a bit; the Vees work ethic was unparalleled. It was simply out-working the Canadians that had the Vees ahead 3-2 after 40-minutes. The fore-check was going in the second, as the Vees were aggressive and physical and that created some turnovers in their favour. In the first they had some chances but didn’t spend enough time in the CP end. That changed in the second and wouldn’t you know it, they scored two goals.
  • I thought Steen Cooper epitomized that work ethic today and was a no-brainer for the Vees Player of the Game award. The 19-year-old never, NEVER stops moving his feet and has an engine that doesn’t quit. He’s not flashy but he’s going to beat you straight up, because he wants the puck more; he’s a throwback of sorts. Just look at the goal he set up in the second period. Cooper out-muscles the defenseman on the boards, gets away from him, then spins and fires a dart, tape-to-tape, to an open Connor Chartier in front of the net. That “Vitamin C” line has picked up where they left off at the Western Canada Cup. That line now has three goals and six points in three games.
  • Did Hunter Miska have an off game? Yeah, probably. Did he buckle down and came up big when it mattered? Absolutely. That’s a sign of a veteran goalie, who knew he wasn’t playing well but came up large in the clutch. Miska remember made an underrated pad save on Bryce Van Horn literally at the buzzer in the third. With just four-ticks left on the clock and the Vees up 4-3, Van Horn busted down the right-wing on a last-gasp effort but Miska hung in and squared up at the post and sealed the win. For his efforts he got run into by another Carleton Place player and then a scrum ensued. Miska fought through his struggles and came up with some key stops when it mattered. After the game he admitted he wasn’t at his best and that shows a lot of maturity. He said he needed to find a way to be there for his teammates in the end and he did. He fought through his problems. Hey, he did have that athletic breakaway save on Andy Sturtz in the first period, when the Vees were still down 1-0; that helped them get back into it.
  • For two teams that had never played each other prior to today, they sure showed a healthy dislike for one another. Today’s game had a great feel to it and the game had a real nastiness to it; playoff hockey. Both teams knew what was at stake and the Vees wanted nothing more to hand CP their first loss of the tournament. It was physical out there but also the game had a great pace to it. Oh, and the drama at the end. This game had everything. That sure looked like a possible RBC Cup Final preview. OK, relax, I said POSSIBLE.
  • Talk about hard-fought, Mike Lee took a shot in the face after it ramped up his stick in the third period. Lee had to get some stitches inside and outside his lip but he sucked it up and came back and played a few shifts after that. He’ll be good to go on Thursday, outside of a slightly uglier smile.
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RBC Cup GM 3 Preview: Vees Face Undefeated Carleton Place

GM 3_RBC Cup



The Penticton Vees are back in action Tuesday afternoon / morning when they face the undefeated Carleton Place Canadians on Day 4 of the 2015 RBC Cup in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.

Listen live on EZ Rock AM 800 starting at 1:30 pm CT / 11:30 am PST

The Vees enter Day 4 of the tournament in second place with a 1-1-0-0 record and a plus three goal differential. The Vees dropped their opening game of the tournament 3-2 Saturday to Portage, before rebounding with a 4-0 blanking of the Melfort Mustangs Sunday. The Canadians are 2-0-0-0 after back-to-back shutouts to start the tournament, the first team to do that at the RBC Cup since the Calgary Canucks did it in 1995. “CPC” as they’re commonly referred as, shutout the Soo Thunderbirds 4-0 on Saturday night, before blanking the host Portage Terriers 3-0 on Sunday evening.

The Vees are looking to climb above the .500 mark for the first time at the tournament, whilst the Canadians are trying to run their record to a perfect 3-0-0-0 and solidify themselves at the top of the standings. The Canadians have the tie-breaker on goal differential right now with a plus seven, so the Vees will need a win and win by a couple if they want top spot after Day 4.

After this afternoon’s contest, the Vees are again off on Wednesday before wrapping up their round-robin schedule with an afternoon tilt versus the Soo Thunderbirds on Thursday. The Canadians wrap-up their round-robin tomorrow against the Mustangs, as they’ll have two-days off before the semi-finals on Saturday.

A few have asked what the rule differences are at the RBC Cup compared to what we usually see in the BCHL. For starters, the defending team is allowed to change on an icing call, where as the offending team can’t do so in the BCHL. Unlike the BCHL, when given a power-play the face-off doesn’t automatically go inside the attacking zone. The face-off is done in the circle nearest where the play was blown dead. Also the overtime format isn’t what you traditionally see in the playoffs. At the RBC Cup, if teams are still tied after regulation, they’ll play a 10-minute four-on-four overtime period and if nothing is still decided, they’ll go to a shootout. That’s a stark contrast from the continuous five-on-five overtime in the BCHL. Also unlike the BCHL, teams at the RBC Cup are allowed to dress up to nine (9) 20-year-olds. In the BCHL the league rule is six. Finally the points structure is different as well, as teams get rewarded three (3) points for a regulation win, two (2) points for an overtime / shootout win and one (1) point for an overtime / shootout loss. Keep that in mind when you’re looking at the standings page on the Hockey Canada website; after two games the Vees are 1-1-0-0. Those are most of the more noticeable differences  from the BCHL to the RBC Cup.





The Vees challenging RBC Cup schedule continues on Tuesday afternoon, as they face the two-time East representatives (Fred Page Cup champion) Carleton Place Canadians. This after the Vees opened against the host Portage Terriers Saturday, then in a back-to-back situation, the Vees faced a rested Melfort team on Sunday; so far he Vees are responding well.

With no disrespect to the other three teams, today’s match up against CPC might just be the most challenging yet for the Vees at this tournament, given what the Canadians have done through two games. The Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) champs, have strung together back-to-back shutouts over the Soo and Portage and have still managed to score seven goals. Heck, they’re only surrendering 19 and a half shots per game so far in this RBC Cup.

The Vees may have one advantage over Carleton Place and that is maybe being better adjusted to the early afternoon start time. Remember, all four of the Vees round-robin games are 2 pm local start times, where as the Canadians are playing their first afternoon game after back-to-back night caps to start the tournament. Hockey players are creatures of habit and married to routines. Will the Vees be better prepared for the start?

With Melfort beating the Soo Thunderbirds 5-3 on Monday night, there’s a bit of a logjam at the top of the standings. The Vees, along with Melfort and Portage all have 1-1-0-0 records but the Vees have the superior goal differential over the other two teams, hence why they are sitting in second. A Vees regulation win (that’s important) would mean they and CPC would both be 3-1-0-0 and first place would depend on the score of the game. Right now the Vees are solely focused on winning but if they can get a lead, they’ll need to keep their foot on the gas pedal right to the end. Remember, whoever finishes first in the round-robin, gets to pick which time slot they want in the semi-finals. Cart before the horse, I know.

One thing that has been really good for the Vees so far in this tournament is their starts. They’ve scored first in both games and both times scoring inside the first six-minutes. So far they’ve outscored the opposition 3-1 in the first period and have doubled them in shots (31-15). Another strong start might be key, given that Carleton Place is playing their first afternoon game of the tournament; can the Vees take advantage?

With the healthy returns of Cam Amantea and Cody DePourcq, the Vees, for the first time in quite some time, have some line-up decisions to make, as they have 13 healthy regular forwards now at their disposal. Lewis Zerter-Gossage came out on Sunday, as Amantea and DePourcq played with Mitch Newsome. Does Zerter-Gossage draw back into the line-up? His size and abilities might come in handy against the Canadians who have a big and mobile defense. Other than that decision up front, the Vees line-up will look pretty much like it did on Sunday against Melfort.

Vees Projected Line-Up

11 Pat Newell 71 Tyson Jost 21 Demico Hannoun

17 Steen Cooper 48 Connor Chariter 67 Dakota Conroy

12 Matt Serratore 91 Riley Alferd 15 Jack Ramsey

74 Cam Amantea 19 Cody DePourcq 28 Mitch Newsome / 77 Lewis Zerter-Gossage

53 Patrick Sexton 2 Dante Fabbro

10 Miles Gendron 4 Gabe Bast

3 Mike Lee 27 Jarod Hilderman

35 Hunter Miska

1 Brendan Barry

Carelton Place Canadians



So far, so good for Jason Clarke’s Carleton Place Canadians, as they’re perfect halfway through their RBC Cup round-robin schedule. The Canadians haven’t allowed a goal in 120-minutes of hockey in Portage la Prairie, and have scored seven goals in their first two games to sit along atop of the leader board.

I guess you could label this season as a “redemption tour” for the East Region reps. The Canadians are the two-time Fred Page Cup Champions, yes there’s TWO Fred Page Cups; there’s is the East Region trophy. Not many teams have made it to back-to-back RBC Cups but that’s what Carleton Place did this year, after losing a heart-breaker in the RBC Cup Final against Yorkton in Vernon last May. In that Championship game, the Canadians were leading 3-1 with under five-minutes left before the Yorkton Terriers scored twice to force overtime. Derek Fallon broke the Canadians’ hearts in OT, scoring the RBC Cup-winning goal for Terriers.

Nine players are back from that squad, including 2014 CJHL National Player of the Year Andy Sturtz and starting goaltender Guillaume Therien. The other seven that played in the 2014 RBC Cup are Owen and Tyson Stewart, Devin Campbell, Adam Lloyd, Vinny Post, Craig Pefley and Stephen Baylis.

Those nine were the nucleus that helped the Canadians to a 49-10-2-1 regular season record and first place overall in the CCHL standings. They then went 12-2-0-1 in the CCHL playoffs, sweeping Nepean in the first round, knocking-off Cornwall in six-games in round two, before brushing aside Pembroke in five-games in the league final. The Canadians then went on to the Fred Page Cup Tournament in Cornwall, where they won two of their three round-robin games, before beating the Dieppe Commandos in the Final, punching their ticket back to the big dance.

Andy Sturtz led the Canadians in scoring both in the regular season and CCHL playoffs. In the regular season, Sturtz had 30 goals and 72 points and only missed four regular season games. In the 15 CCHL playoffs, Sturtz had nine goals and 22 points. Right behind him was CCHL MVP Stephen Baylis. Baylis had 69 points in 62 regular season games and seven goals and 22 points in the CCHL playoffs. Baylis and Sturtz are two-thirds of the Canadians’ “Players to Watch” list put out by International Scouting Services for the tournament.

If you look at their line-up on paper, five of their top-six forwards and six of their top-nine played in the 2014 RBC Cup; you can’t buy that kind of experience. Other players to keep tabs on are Vinny Post, Adam Lloyd, Jordan Larson and Wesley Baker; to name a few. The Canadians have nine players committed to an NCAA Division l school; second only to Penticton’s 16.

One of their biggest strengths is there play away from the puck, as the Canadians, like the Vees, were the top defensive team in the CCHL. CPC allowed the fewest goals-against in the regular season, just 131 in 62 games; an average of just 2.12 per game. They also had the second-best goals-against average in the playoffs (2.40 per game). A big reason why is the man between the pipes.

Guillaume Therien is back from last year and that RBC Cup Final loss seemed to have sparked him. He had the third-most wins in the CCHL regular season (29), the second-best goals-against average (2.27) and the best save-percentage (.927). In the playoffs he kept his play up, owning the most wins (11), second-best goals-against average (2.27) and sixth-best save-percentage (.906).  Therien was named the Top Goaltender in the CCHL and was great in the Fred Page Cup Regional, going 3-0 with a 1.92 goals-against average and owned a sparkling .933 save-percentage. International Scouting Services describes him as ” a quick, athletic goaltender with good size and good anticipation; very good post to post.”

This, like the other four teams here at the tournament is built for a run at the RBC Cup and like the Vees, the Canadians boast a lot of depth in all three major areas of their line-up.

Canadians Projected Line-Up:

9 Tyson Stewart 21 Jordan Larson 16 Andy Sturtz

26 Stephen Baylis 22 Craig Pefley 18 Vinny Post

10 Wesley Baker 12 Adam Lloyd 19 Bryce Van Horn

17 Connor Merkley 20 Andrew Dodson 25 Maxime St. Pierre

7 Devin Campbell 23 Owen Stewart

4 Willie Brooks 11 Alex Robinson

3 David Eccles 27 Ryker Killins

1 Guillaume Therien

35 Adrian Clark

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An Off-Day at the RBC Cup

(The Vees visiting Fort la Reine Elementary in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba)

The Penticton Vees visited For La Reine school today in Portage la Prairie on their day off Monday. The Vees visited with the Grade 5 class in the school library as the students organized a Q & A and autograph session.  Then it was off to the gym for a shootout competition against the PE Teacher, who is a former Portage Terrier himself

As you can see above the Vees had their struggles in the shootout, going 0-3 in this video and overall, it was advantage goalie. We would like to Principal Lawrence McKenzie and his staff for allowing us to come by for a visit. I’m told the Grade 5 class will be at the Vees game tomorrow afternoon against Carleton Place.

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RBC Cup Post-Game 2: Vees in the Win Column

Post Game_RBC GM 2

(Photos: Andy Devlin, Hockey Canada Images)



Audio Highlights

  • The Vees had a knack of bouncing back all season and they showed it again today at the RBC Cup. After a 3-2 loss to Portage Saturday, the Vees bounced back with a solid 60-minute effort, shutting out the Melfort Mustangs 4-0. We’ve seen it against West Kelowna, Vernon, Nanaimo and now here in Portage la Prairie.
  • Vees scored first again but unlike Saturday, they were able to build upon their lead. What they were missing Saturday against Portage was the ability to score then add to it. That’s why Jack Ramsey’s goal was huge at the end of the first period. Not only did he score late but he makes it 2-0 with less than four-minutes left in the period. 2-0 after one feels a whole lot better than just leading by a goal. Remember, the Vees limited Melfort to just four first-period shots and I think they might have been frustrated if they were just up 1-0 at the break. That 2-0 goal was some vindication for the hard-work they put into that period.
  • Cody DePourcq. Kid plays his first game in three weeks and almost, ALMOSSSSTTTTT, scores on his first shift. Got the puck in front, had the goalie down but skied his shot over the net. Hey, even the goal judge flicked on the light for a second. Quick back story, as I half-jokingly said DePourcq was going to score the Vees first goal today-Video Coach Matt Miller can verify that. Regardless, DePourcq AND Cam Amantea provided a noticeable boost to the line-up and they played very well to boot. Such a difference when you have a couple of veterans added to your line-up. That line of DePourcq, Amantea and Mitch Newsome provided a lot of energy and quality minutes.
  • How good have the Vees first periods been? Through two games they’ve outscored their opponents 3-1 and out shot them 31-16. Starts clearly aren’t an issue with this team but are a big key to their success. If you include the BCHL playoffs, the Western Canada Cup and now the RBC Cup, the Vees are 10-0-0 when leading after one; 3-4-0-1 when trailing. Again, that’s why the two first period goals were key, not only to get ahead but stay ahead heading into the intermission.
  • Have you seen a team his more posts in just two games? Five, through two games now. The Vees cranked two posts today, Gabe Bast in the first and Connor Chartier in the second. If my counting is correct, I have the Vees hitting four posts whilst on the power-play. Just think if the shot was an inch to the left, right or down, the Vees power-play could be 4-10 and not just 1-10; some perspective. Hey, they finally got a PP goal in the second when Chartier poked in a rebound in the crease. Funny, that the goal that breaks the goose-egg on the power-play comes inside the crease and on effort and not skill; how she goes sometimes.  On the flip side, the penalty-kill has been excellent early on in this tournament. The Vees are 8-9 through two games, including going 4-4 this afternoon.
  • Goes without saying when you get a shutout, especially at this stage of the game, it was a strong defensive performance. Hey, that’s a league champion the Vees shutout; no easy feat. The defense stood up the Melfort forwards, as they didn’t allow them to penetrate the middle and the forwards back tracked well, as they Vees held their shape nicely in their own end. Not a lot of threatening looks in front of Miska but when there was a chance, he was there making a save. Melfort did have some pressure late, especially when they finished the game on the power-play but Miska made some nice saves through traffic and off scrambles. He had a nice shoulder stop on a point-blank chance by Dexter Bricker too.
  • A follow to last night’s comments on my broadcasting issues and that’s a big thank you to the engineering staff at the rink and Hockey Canada staff for being all over the issues and finding a solution. We didn’t have a phone line for our broadcast yesterday but today there was an engineer at the rink first this morning when I got there working on a solution. Sure enough, everything was good to go well before puck drop. Like I said before, it’s been a great group of people to deal with here at the RBC Cup so far.
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Post-Game Recap: Vees Corral Mustangs 4-0

Photos: Andy Devlin, Hockey Canada Images 

(Stay tuned for some game audio and post-game thoughts)

Four moms got the perfect gift from their sons, as the Penticton Vees scored a 4-0 win over the Melfort Mustangs on Mother’s Day Sunday at the 2015 RBC Cup in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.


Matt Serratore, Jack Ramsey, Connor Chartier and Tyson Jost made their moms happy, as they all found the back of the net. Hunter Miska turned aside each of the 17 shots steered away, for his fourth post-season shutout.


The Vees are now 1-1 at the National Junior ‘A’ Tournament and sit in second place before the nightcap between Portage and Carleton Place.


Serratore had the ice-breaker, scoring just shy of the four-minute mark of the first. Serratore got a piece of Patrick Sexton’s knuckler from the point; Serratore’s first coming at 3:56.


Ramsey then doubled the Vees lead late in the opening frame as he cleaned up after a scramble in the Melfort crease. Ramsey was stopped on a partial break by Richard Palmer but he found the puck in the ensuing scramble in the crease and shoveled it in at 16:54.


Connor Chartier bumped up the Vees lead to three early in the second, as the Penticton power-play finally clicked. Palmer stopped the original shot but Chartier dove at the rebound and pushed it underneath the Melfort goaltender at 4:54.


The Vees padded their lead early in third after they capitalized on a Melfort turnover just outside of their zone. Tyson Jost and Demico Hannoun played give-and-go, before Jost got the puck back and tucked it into an open net at 5:57.


Miska, despite the lighter workload was sharp, especially late when Melfort was pressing. One of his best saves was on Dexter Bricker late, as he got a shoulder on his rebound attempt at the top of the crease.



Final Score: 4-0 Vees

Shots: 30-17 Vees

Power-Plays: Vees 1-6 Melfort 0-4


The Vees head into an off-day on Monday, before they return to action on Tuesday afternoon against the Carleton Place Canadians. Carleton Place faces Portage Sunday night, in a battle of two 1-0 teams.  The Vees and Canadians square-off at 12pm PST / 2pm CT Tuesday on Day 4 of the RBC Cup. Fans can listen to Tuesday’s game on EZ Rock AM 800, or they can watch online at www.fasthockey.com


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