Vees Win Wild Game Four, Even Series at Two

April 14_Blog

2nd Period Highlights

  • The old 8-5 game eh? I bet everyone had that down for a prediction for game four between the Vees and Clippers, especially after these two teams played back-to-back 2-1 overtime games. Remember, the Vees were the top defensive team in the BCHL in the regular season and the Clippers were inside the top five in goals-against average. Tuesday was a shootout and you got that feeling as soon as the second period rolled around.
  • Difference from winning and losing game four? Game management. The Vees won because they were able to manage their mistakes better than Nanaimo. Both teams had their share of gaffes and some of those led to goals but the Vees managed to mitigate the damage. After a tight-checking game three, Tuesday night was more open and frantic. Both teams had more room to make plays in open ice and there was more back-and-forth transition hockey compared to Monday’s contest. It made it entertaining for fans but it was giving the coaches grey hairs.
  • Another big key? Composure. The Vees didn’t let themselves come unraveled, especially in the first period where they saw their early lead quickly evaporate. Remember, Steen Cooper had the Vees ahead 1-0 just shy of the two-minute mark but Nanaimo then scored twice in three-minutes to make it 2-1 midway through the first. The Vees could have easily said to themselves “here we go again,” and packed it in. They didn’t and rebounded and in a big way in the second.
  • Staying with the composure theme, the Clippers took four penalties in the second period and the Vees scored twice on the power-play. Guillaume Decelles took two of those Clippers penalties and the Vees scored on a five-on-three after Nanaimo was assessed a bench minor. That five-on-three was critical, as the Vees were up just 3-2 at the time and the game was still up for grabs. Demico Hannoun scores from a tight angle and its 4-2 and you could see the slow boil coming from Nanaimo. The real kick in the gut for Nanaimo was the Cooper goal 41-seconds after Hannoun’s. Decelles was getting a penalty for contacting Cam Amantea at the side of the net and whilst he was protesting, Connor Chartier fired a dart across to an open Cooper at the side of the net. In 41-seconds the Vees went from having a one-goal advantage to a 5-2 lead.
  • Was the officiating perfect? No, it wasn’t. I understand why Nanaimo and their fans were up in arms but it’s hard to argue the two penalties the Nanaimo goaltender took and the bench minor is what it is. Remember, the Clippers did catch a break when Ryan Forbes chopped Tyson Jost’s stick in half, which resulted in a turnover and led to the Clippers going the other way and Spencer Hewson scoring to make it 5-3 late in the second. There definitely were some borderline calls and some missed calls in game four but I think both teams were grouped in the category. Hey, I think the Clips’ had a legitimate beef on a couple of plays but so too did Penticton. Unfortunate that special teams had to dominate the storyline.
  • Obviously the second period was a big turning point for the Vees, as they scored four unanswered to take a 5-3 lead into the intermission. Big because Nanaimo had outscored the Vees 4-2 in the second period, in games one through three but that was largely in part of the four-spot they hung on the Vees in game one; Penticton turned the tables in game four. Before game four, the Clippers were outscoring the Vees 7-4 in the first two periods. After game four the two teams have each scored eight goals in the first forty-minutes.
  • Looking at individual performances, great to see Dakota Conroy pick up four assists, as he finally got rewarded for his strong play of late. He had a great outing in game three, picking up an assist on the Vees game-tying goal and now has five assists in the last two games. He was so crafty with the puck in game four and seemed to have eyes in the back of his head at times, the way he was timing drop passes and firing tape-to-tape passes off the rush. Conroy had four points and his line with Chartier and AP Jordy Bellerive finished with seven points. That second line acted like a shot in the arm for the Vees.
  • Mike Lee finally got his first career BCHL playoff game. He thought he had it in game one but it was confusingly called back. On Tuesday, he makes good, blasting a slap-shot over Decelles’ shoulder on the power-play. The Vees have been working on that play, with Lee in the slot, he was close in game two but finally it clicked in game four; the water bottled popped too. Speaking of firsts, Bellerive scored his first career BCHL playoff goal in just his third playoff game. Great poise shown by the 15-year-old, rushing down the right-wing and with authority, he snaps the puck through the wickets of the Clippers’ goaltender. Bellerive now has two goals, as he scored his first ever BCHL in the regular season at the SOEC in a game against Trail. Not bad for a ’99 birth year. Bellerive playing in place of the injured DePourcq and that’s how to make a great impression.
  • Specials teams have been a factor in all four games and the Vees again scored on the man-advantage. They have power-play goals in all four games of this series and are now 5-21 on the power-play in the series, which works out to be 23.81 %. That’s over a 10-percent jump on their playoff average going into game four (13.75 %). Don’t forget about the penalty-kill, which is 11-12 in the series, as the Clippers scored their first power-play goal of the series in the first period of game four. Special teams can take you a long way in the post-season and the Vees need more of the same heading into game five Thursday.
  • It’s now a best-of-three, with games five and if necessary, game seven at home. Yes, the Vees dropped their first two home games of the series but you can bet they’re going to be hell bent on not letting that happen in game five. This is why the Vees pushed to get home-ice advantage in the playoffs, so they can try to capitalize in situations like the one we are now in. They’re 7-1-3 at home in the playoffs but were 24-3-1-0 at the SOEC this season. It’s now the first to two wins. Let the race begin.
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FPC GM 4 Preview: Vees Looking to Tie Series

April 14_Pre Game

Venue: Frank Crane Arena

Face-Off: 7pm

Season Series: Nov 8th 3-2 (OT) Nanaimo, Feb 13th 4-2 Penticton

Round-Robin Series: March 25th 4-1 Penticton, April 2nd 2-0 Nanaimo

 

Fred Page Cup Schedule:

GM 1: 5-2 Nanaimo

GM 2: 2-1 (OT) Nanaimo

GM 3: 2-1 (OT) Penticton

GM 4: April 14th, Frank Crane Arena 7pm

GM 5: April 16th, SOEC 7pm*

GM 6: April 17th, Frank Crane Arena 7pm*

GM 7: April 19th, SOEC 6pm*

*If necessary

Fred Page Cup History:

2008: 4-0 Penticton

1980: 4-3 Penticton

1978: 2-1 Nanaimo (forfeit)

1977: 4-2 Nanaimo

1976: 11-3 Nanaimo (10-point series)

Playoff Tracker:

Penticton– Beat West Kelowna Warriors (4-1). Beat Vernon Vipers (4-3). Finished first in BCHL Round-Robin (3-1).

Nanaimo– Beat Alberni Valley (4-3). Beat Powell River (4-3). Finished second in the BCHL Round-Robin (2-1).

vees-logo-21

 

Vees Playoff Leaders:

Goals: Connor Chartier (9)

Assists: Demico Hannoun (12)

Points: Connor Chartier & Demico Hannoun (18)

PPG: Steen Cooper, Demico Hannoun & Jack Ramsey (2)

SHG: Matt Serratore (1)

PIMS: Demico Hannoun (28)

175px-Nanaimo_Clippers_logo.svg

 

 

Clippers Playoff Leaders:

Goals: Jake Jackson (8)

Assists: Nicolas Gushue, Brett Roulston & Brendan Taylor (9)

Points: Brett Roulston (15)

PPG: Brett Roulston (3)

SHG: Austin Dick & Spencer Hewson (1)

PIMS: Cole Maier & Brett Roulston (24)

 

The Fred Page Cup Final hasn’t been kind to the home team, as the Penticton Vees scored a 2-1 overtime road win Monday, in game three of the BCHL championship at Frank Crane Arena. Tyson Jost scored 57-seconds into overtime, as the Vees won their first game of the series and now have a chance to even the series at two, with a win in game four Tuesday.

The home team is 0-3 through three games and Monday was just the second home loss in the post-season for Nanaimo; they’re now 9-2.

First the first time in the series the Vees didn’t score first and it served them well in the end. Nicolas Carrier opened the scoring midway through the first on a jam play at the side of the Vees net. Brett Roulston centered and Carrier was able to stuff the rebound in at the post to put the Clips ahead.

That score held up until late in the second period, when the Vees power-play scored a timely goal. Steen Cooper forced a rebound across the goal-line from inside the Nanaimo crease for his fourth of the playoffs at 16:46; the Vees third power-play goal of the series.

Nothing was decided in the third so for the second consecutive game overtime was needed to produce a winner. Inside the first minute Pat Newell found the puck behind the Clippers net and centered for an open Jost in the slot. The 17-year-old made no mistake, bagging his eighth underneath Guillaume Decelles’ pad 57-seconds in; the Vees are now 5-3 in OT.

Tonight is another pivotal swing game, as the series can take on two completely different looks depending on the outcome. A Vees win and the series is tied 2-2 and becomes a best-of-three, with two of those at the SOEC. If Nanaimo wins, they’re up 3-1 and have a chance to win the Fred Page Cup Thursday in Penticton; they’re looking for their first title since 2008.

Monday’s win was the Vees first in Nanaimo since November of 2011, as they were 0-2-0-2 in the last four visits (regular season and playoffs combined). Interesting to note the Clippers have twice had 2-0 series leads in the playoffs and on both occasions their opposition has come back to tie it 2-2. Can the Vees make it three in a row?

It will be the same line-up for the Vees tonight in game four, as once again 15-year-old Jordy Bellerive will play in place of the injured Cody DePourcq. Hunter Miska will be back between the pipes and looking to help his team sweep the two games in Nanaimo. Miska is 12-3-3 in the playoffs with a 2.13 goals-against average and a .928 save-percentage.

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FPC Post-Game GM 3: Jost OT Heroics Puts Vees Back in Series

April 13_Blog

GAME RECAP 

BOXSCORE 

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS 

Game Three Audio Highlights

  • We have ourselves a series. Tyson Jost wrote the final chapter on the comeback that was authored by Hunter Miska and the Vees special teams. Jost scored just 57-seconds into overtime, as the Vees cut the series deficit in half ahead of a pivotal game four Tuesday.
  • Great vision by Pat Newell to spot Jost lurking in the slot. From behind the net, just below the left goal-line, Newell slid a backhand pass out to Jost, who went to a knee and beat Guillaume Decelles low under the right-leg. Sound familiar? That goal was nearly identical to the one Demico Hannoun scored in OT in the Round-Robin against Chilliwack. Like Monday, Newell was the setup man and from behind the net. Against Chilliwack, he fed a pass out front to Hannoun, who went to a knee, before beating David Jacobson. Fast-forward to Monday and it’s Newell, again, spotting a teammate out front for the one-timer in OT.
  • Probably can’t heap enough credit on Hunter Miska for the game three win. Two massive saves early in the first period kept the Vees from finding themselves in a 0-2 hole. First, on an unfortunate bounce, he robbed Devin Brosseau with the right-pad on a cross-crease pass; the puck bouncing off the stanchion and right to a Nanaimo player. Then, he darts out the pad on Spencer Hewson front point-blank range. Miska was “on” in game three and those stops early settled down his team. He also had a great stop on a Nanaimo two-on-one rush in the second when he slid across and made the glove save on Nicolas Carrier. In the third, his best save was a point-shot from Austin Dick that was tipped down in front. Miska was sliding to his blocker-side but had to come back across with his left-leg.
  • The team that has scored first in this series is now 0-3.
  • So the Vees are now 56-6-1-1 when Tyson Jost, Demico Hannoun or Pat Newell score a goal. No surprise the Vees do well when they’re top players are playing well. But that’s a phenomenal (regular season + playoffs). Those guys can really set the tone.
  • The Vees specials teams came up huge in the win. They score their only goal in regulation on the power-play and that was late in the second; the timing of that goal can’t be overstated. The penalty-kill was a perfect five-for-five and now is  nine-for-nine in the series. The Vees killed-off three of the five penalties when they were still down 1-0 and they also killed-off a penalty in the third. A Nanaimo power-play goal either to make it 2-0 or 2-1 in the third, likely would have been the nail in the coffin.
  • Steen Cooper was deserving of the tying goal, as he was one of the Vees best forwards throughout the game. He worked his butt off shift, after shift and really energized the Vees upfront. He willed that puck across the goal-line in the second on the power-play. That goal was all about determination, getting to the tough area, he took some abuse but forced it in; a real momentum boost. Who knows what that goal will mean in the next game or two?
  • Dante Fabbro, Gabe Bast and Mike Lee had very strong games on the blue-line. Fabbro and Bast ate up a lot of ice-time over the last two periods and took their lumps in front of their own net. Fabbro had this marathon shift in the third, probably around two and half-minutes or more, but he gutted it out and didn’t let the Clippers score. I thought he and Lee were going to need some oxygen tanks on the Vees bench. The D-core was taxed with some hard minutes in game three but didn’t crumble. Impressive.
  • Game Four: Wash, rinse, repeat.

 

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FPC GM 3 Preview: Vees Looking for Crucial Road Win

April 13_Pre Game

Venue: Frank Crane Arena

Face-Off: 7pm

Season Series: Nov 8th 3-2 (OT) Nanaimo, Feb 13th 4-2 Penticton

Round-Robin Series: March 25th 4-1 Penticton, April 2nd 2-0 Nanaimo

 

Fred Page Cup Schedule:

GM 1: 5-2 Nanaimo

GM 2: 2-1 (OT) Nanaimo

GM 3: April 13th, Frank Crane Arena 7pm

GM 4: April 14th, Frank Crane Arena 7pm

GM 5: April 16th, SOEC 7pm*

GM 6: April 17th, Frank Crane Arena 7pm*

GM 7: April 19th, SOEC 6pm*

*If necessary

Fred Page Cup History:

2008: 4-0 Penticton

1980: 4-3 Penticton

1978: 2-1 Nanaimo (forfeit)

1977: 4-2 Nanaimo

1976: 11-3 Nanaimo (10-point series)

 

Playoff Tracker:

Penticton– Beat West Kelowna Warriors (4-1). Beat Vernon Vipers (4-3). Finished first in BCHL Round-Robin (3-1).

Nanaimo– Beat Alberni Valley (4-3). Beat Powell River (4-3). Finished second in the BCHL Round-Robin (2-1).

vees-logo-21

 

 

Vees Playoff Leaders:

Goals: Connor Chartier (9)

Assists: Demico Hannoun (12)

Points: Connor Chartier & Demico Hannoun (18)

PPG: Demico Hannoun & Jack Ramsey (2)

SHG: Matt Serratore (1)

PIMS: Demico Hannoun (28)

175px-Nanaimo_Clippers_logo.svg

 

 

 

Clippers Playoff Leaders:

Goals: Jake Jackson (8)

Assists: Nicolas Gushue & Brendan Taylor (9)

Points: Nicolas Gushue, Jake Jackson & Brett Roulston (14)

PPG: Brett Roulston (3)

SHG: Austin Dick & Spencer Hewson (1)

PIMS: Cole Maier (24)

 

The Fred Page Cup Final shifts to Nanaimo, as the Vees and Clippers get set to play game three of the BCHL championship at Frank Crane Arena.

The Clippers lead the best-of-seven series 2-0 after winning both games in Penticton over the weekend. Nanaimo took a commanding lead in the series after a 2-1 overtime win Saturday at the SOEC. Brett Roulston scored just 20-seconds into the extra frame.

The Vees were dealt another blow, as Co-Captain Cody DePourcq sustained a broken jaw early in the third period of game two. DePourcq was struck by the puck after an errant point-shot, which broke his jaw in two places. The Penticton native underwent surgery Sunday at Penticton Regional Hospital and is out indefinitely.

With that, the Vees will insert an AP into the line-up, as they do have 15-year-old Jordy Bellerive and 16-year-old Taylor Ward traveling with the team; a game-time decision on who draws in. Bellerive and Ward won the Canadian Sports School Hockey League Prep Division Championship with the Okanagan Hockey Academy.

The Vees are looking to do what both Alberni Valley and Powell River did against Nanaimo, and that’s erase two-nothing series deficits. Alberni Valley came back from 3-0 down to force a game seven, and Powell River did even their series at two’s before eventually losing in seven as well.

Nanaimo has been very good at Frank Crane Arena this season, as they’re 9-1 in the playoffs and were 21-5-0-3 in the regular season. The Vees are 4-3 on the road in the post-season but did own the league’s best road record in the regular season, posting a 19-6-2-2 mark.

The Vees haven’t had a lot of success at the “Crane” in recent years, as their last win came in November of 2011 and are 0-1-0-2 since. But Nanaimo was just 1-6 at the SOEC all-time before last weekend; no reason why the Vees can’t buck the trend.

The Vees will need to find a way to get more pucks past Nanaimo goaltender Guillaume Decelles, who sports a .961 save-percentage through two games; he’s stopped 73 of 76 shots. The Vees did have some success against the 20-year-old, as the put up a four-spot in their 4-1 win over the Clips’ in the BCHL Round-Robin.

If the Vees are going to pick up a win tonight, they’re going to need contributions from their top players. If you include the regular season and playoffs, the Vees are a combined 55-6-1-1, when Demico Hannoun, Tyson Jost and Pat Newell score a goal. They’re 30-3-2-0 when Connor Chartier and or Dakota Conroy score at least once; need the top-six to produce tonight.

The Vees have outshot Nanaimo 76-47 in the first two games but have been outscored 7-3. They’ll need to find a way to finish the chances they’re getting.

Also the Vees will have to keep tabs on Nanaimo’s Sheldon Rempal. The second-year forward has a four-game point streak, scoring four goals and six points; he’s scored in back-to-back games. There’s a three-way tie atop of the Nanaimo scoring race, as Jake Jackson, Brett Roulston and Nic Gushue are all tied with 14 points.

 

Connor Chartier has taken over the Vees scoring lead after picking up an assist on Saturday. Chartier now has nine goals and 18 points in as many games. Hannoun sits tied for first with six goals and 18 points; Chartier owning the tie-breaker with more goals.

 

Outside of the injury to DePourcq, the Vees line-up won’t change going into game three. Hunter Miska will get the call between the pipes, and is 11-6 in the playoffs with a 2.19 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.

 

Fans can tune into tonight’s game on EZ Rock AM 800, starting with the pre-game show at 6:40pm. Fans can also watch a pay-per-view webcast on www.fasthockey.com

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FPC GM 2: Vees Stunned in OT; Down 2-0

image

GAME RECAP
BOXSCORE
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

-Can’t blame the Vees for feeling a bit frustrated when they woke up Sunday morning. You can argue they’ve had the Lions share of chances and out played Nanaimo in the first two games but find themselves in an 0-2 hole in the series. The one thing that is troubling this team right now is the lack of finish in scoring areas. Granted the biggest culprit for that is Nanaimo Clippers goaltender Guillaume Decelles.
-The 6 ‘3 Quebec product has been the story early, as he’s now stopped 73 of 76 Vees shots through two games; a pedestrian .961 save-percentage. Decelles is big and uses that to his full advantage as he keeps getting a part of his body in front of the puck. He covers a lot of the net down low and seems to always find a way to make a save.
-So how do the Vees get pucks past Decelles? Got to take his eyes away and get a ton of bodies to the net. Decelles covers the bottom of the net so well, spreading out the pads, so the Vees are going to have to get the puck up and get the goalie moving.
-Let’s make this very clear: The Vees aren’t losing because of a lack of effort and or compete level. They worked their butt off last night and in game one. They fired 20 shots on net in 1st last night and 18 over the last two periods. That 18 more impressive considering how tight the checking it was over the final 40 minutes. Tons of puck possession and zone time. Still knocking on the door. Time to knock it down in game three.
-Panic? Not from this group. They’ve been in this spot before and came up with back-to-back wins. Remember they were down 3-2 to Vernon and staved off elimination not once but twice. Game six they strolled into a sold-out Kal-Tire Place in Vernon and posted a 5-1 win. 24 hours later they gutted out a 2-0 win in game seven at home. Yes, there’s a sense of urgency now but this group seems to thrive when they’re under the gun.
-By no means is this a for gone conclusion. Nanaimo certainly doesn’t think that and they’ve been up 2-0 in each of their first two series, only to see those go the distance. Heck, they were up 3-0 on Alberni Valley before the dogs forced a game seven.
-Have to again credit Nanaimo for being a plucky bunch. They’ve been pushed back on their heels twice now but found a way to withstand the Vees pressure and pull out two wins, in arguably the toughest building for road teams. Before this series started the Clippers were just 1-6 away from Frank Crane Arena. As a franchise they only had one win at the SOEC since it opened in September of 2008. Pretty big weekend for them. They’re 9-1 at home in the post-season so they’ll be feeling pretty good about themselves after this weekend.
-That “second goal” has been pretty elusive for the Vees. Maybe the reason why they’re not tied 1-1 or even up 2-0. In both game one and two the Vees scored first in the first but couldn’t get the next one. That ultimately allowed Nanaimo to linger around and eventually tie both games. 35 shots for the Vees in the first period of games one and two but just two goals. Both nights they opened the scoring but Nanaimo tied it late. Going into game three, it’s not just about getting a lead but building on it. The Vees need to give themselves some breathing room.
– A lot of people are asking about the health of Cody DePourcq but all I can say he won’t be making the trip to Nanaimo for games three and four. Head Coach Fred Harbinson told the Penticton Herald after the game the Co-Captain would “be out for awhile” but there’s no official diagnosis on his injury. He took a shot, pretty much point-blank, right in the mouth / jaw area. It was scary looking. Awful luck for the 19 -year-old and Penticton native who’s in his final season of junior hockey. Wishing for the best.

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FPC GM 2 Preview: Vees Looking for the Split

 

April 11_Pre Game

Venue: SOEC

Face-Off: 6pm

Season Series: Nov 8th 3-2 (OT) Nanaimo, Feb 13th 4-2 Penticton

Round-Robin Series: March 25th 4-1 Penticton, April 2nd 2-0 Nanaimo

 

Fred Page Cup Schedule:

GM 1: 5-2 Nanaimo

GM 2: April 11th, SOEC 6pm

GM 3: April 13th, Frank Crane Arena 7pm

GM 4: April 14th, Frank Crane Arena 7pm

GM 5: April 16th, SOEC 7pm*

GM 6: April 17th, Frank Crane Arena 7pm*

GM 7: April 19th, SOEC 6pm*

*If necessary

Fred Page Cup History:

2008: 4-0 Penticton

1980: 4-3 Penticton

1978: 2-1 Nanaimo (forfeit)

1977: 4-2 Nanaimo

1976: 11-3 Nanaimo (10-point series)

Playoff Tracker:

Penticton– Beat West Kelowna Warriors (4-1). Beat Vernon Vipers (4-3). Finished first in BCHL Round-Robin (3-1).

Nanaimo– Beat Alberni Valley (4-3). Beat Powell River (4-3). Finished second in the BCHL Round-Robin (2-1).

 

Vees Playoff Leaders:

Goals: Connor Chartier (9)

Assists: Demico Hannoun (12)

Points: Demico Hannoun (17)

PPG: Demico Hannoun & Jack Ramsey (2)

SHG: Matt Serratore (1)

PIMS: Demico Hannoun (26)

 

Clippers Playoff Leaders:

Goals: Jake Jackson (8)

Assists: Brendan Taylor (9)

Points: Jake Jackson (14)

PPG: Brett Roulston (3)

SHG: Austin Dick & Spencer Hewson (1)

PIMS: Cole Maier & Brett Roulston (22)

The Penticton Vees are looking to even their series against Nanaimo in game two of the Fred Page Cup Final tonight. The Clippers spoiled the opener at the SOEC for the home side after scoring four times in the second period, en route to a 5-2 win game one.

After a 1-1 tie through one, Yanni Kaldis put the orange clad visitors ahead five-minutes into the second on an odd-man rush. Then the Clips scored three more in a four-minute span to quickly build a four-goal lead. The Clippers also got two goals from Anthony Rinaldi and singles from Ryan Forbes and Sheldon Rempal.

Demico Hannoun scored the game’s first goal five-minutes into the first and Jack Ramsey scored a late power-play goal for the Vees in the second. Hunter Miska was tagged with the loss after allowing five goals on 20 shots in 36-minutes of work; he was hung out to dry on a few occasions.

Guillaume Decelles was sharp in the Nanaimo cage, as he stopped 36 of 38 shots and took home first star honours.

The win was the Clippers first road win in the playoffs in seven games, as they snapped a six-game road losing streak dating back to round one against Alberni Valley. Friday’s victory was just the Clippers second at the SOEC since the building opened in the fall of 2008; they’re now 2-6 at the rink.

Friday was just the Vees third home playoff loss in 10 games but just their first in regulation.

The Vees can draw on previous experience in the playoffs to help them pull through in game two. Back in round one against West Kelowna, the Vees dropped the opener before rattling off four straight, to knock-off the Warriors in five games.

The Vees had a knack for bouncing back in the regular season, as they’re 9-2-0 in the regular season coming off a loss; outscored the opposition 41-24 in those 11 games. They’re 2-2-0-1 in the playoffs when losing the game prior.

Nanaimo will be looking to take a 2-0 series lead back home where they’ve been nearly unbeatable, posting a 9-1 record at Frank Crane Arena; the Vees are 0-1-0-1 in Nanaimo this season.

There doesn’t appear to be any line-up changes for the Vees ahead of game two, as Hunter Miska will be looking to lead a bounce-back effort. Lewis Zerter-Gossage is still out nursing a long-term upper-body injury.

No word on the health status of Clippers defenseman Yanni Kaldis, who left Friday’s game with a suspected upper-body injury. Kaldis was hit in the corner late in the second period and left immediately and did not return. If he can’t go, look for Jordan Low to take his spot on the blue-line.

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Nanaimo Clips Vees in Fred Page Cup Opener

Post Game Blog_GM 1

GAME RECAP 

BOXSCORE 

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS 

  • Four-minutes in the second period the Vees will point to as their undoing of game one of the Fred Page Cup Final. Pretty good first 25-minutes turned in from the home side but Nanaimo scored five-minutes into the second and then three more in a four-minute span, to quickly turn a 1-1 tie, into a 5-1 lead. The Vees actually had a great start to the second, as right from puck drop they pressed, spent a lot of time in the Nanaimo end but couldn’t find a break through. After another Vees foray, the Clippers quickly turned it the other way and boom, it’s 2-1 and then it’s the snowball effect.
  • That Yanni Kaldis goal stung, as they Vees were in the Nanaimo end but they tried to force a play at the blue-line and that resulted in the Clippers odd-man rush. The puck was fired into shin pads, then it bounces out of the zone. Spencer Hewson breaks in and throws a saucer pass out front to Kaldis for the go-ahead goal. Five-minutes of pressure, zone time and chances but nothing for the Vees. The Clippers come down, get their second real look on goal and score. Frustrating for the home team.
  • Speaking of frustration, the Vees and their fans were a bit miffed as to why that Mike Lee goal was waved-off in the first. The Vees had numbers coming down into the Nanaimo end and Lee took the drop pass and scored on the short-side. However, the trailing referee blew his whistle, calling a bench minor to the Clippers. No Clipper touched the puck but the explanation was, as soon as the referee heard the “magic word” from the Nanaimo bench, he blew his whistle. Tough break, as it would have been 2-1 late in the first and that would have bee Lee’s first career playoff goal. I don’t think the Vees got over that and it’s hard to blame them. The game would have had a completely different look if that goal would have stood.
  • Like I said on Twitter after the game, there was still lots to like from the Vees despite the 5-2 scoreline. They had a fantastic first 10-minutes, scoring the first goal and out shot Nanaimo 8-2 going into the media timeout. Nanaimo did push back somewhat, tying it late on Anthony Rinaldi’s first of two. Even though it was 1-1, I thought the Clippers were left off the hook after the first. Guillaume Decelles was a big reason why the game was tied going into the first intermission. Dynamite start from the Vees and they had a handful of chances to go up two but Decelles hung in there. He was as advertised, as the veteran goalie came up with timely saves and when his team needed it the most; no fluke he was named a BCHL All-Star. One of the best chances for the Vees to make it 2-0 was a redirect by Steen Cooper in close but Decelles dropped down and did the splits and just got enough on the tip.
  • Yeah, it was four goals in 11-minutes but the real undoing was goals three through five the Clippers scored in four-minutes. The killer was Anthony Rinaldi’s second, as he pushed a tipped pass through Miska’s arm to put the visitors up 3-1. Stings because the Vees were buzzing down at the other end moments before and Jack Ramsey had his feet taken out from under him but the zebra’s arms stayed down. After Ramsey goes down, the Vees lost the puck and it’s Jake Jackson setting up Rinaldi and just like that it’s a two-goal lead for Nanaimo.
  • Hey, Nanaimo played the perfect road game, as they got some great goaltending and punished the Vees for every mistake they made. It was like watching a batter go 4-4 at the plate in baseball. Every mistake the Vees had in the second ended up in the back of the net; like a pitcher missing bad on a fastball-homerun. When you’re playing well, you can hide a mistake and not get burned. Well, tonight the Vees made some noticeable errors during that four-minute stretch, and Nanaimo turned a 2-1 lead into a 5-1 lead. They showed a lot of finish in the second.
  • Hunter Miska being pulled was more of a break for the besieged goaltender, rather than a reflection on his play. I honestly can’t fault him on any of the five pucks that got past him tonight. An unfortunate bounce in the first on the first Clippers goal. Then it’s two odd-man rushes. Sheldon Rempal then has all sorts of time on a deke and the fifth was off the post and right to a Clipper in the crease. Just one of those nights. What makes Miska great is his mental makeup. Has this ability to shake off games like tonight and not let it linger. Chatted with him after the game and he wasn’t wearing the loss on his face; already was on to game two. No pouting. He seldomly gets rattled and that will serve him well heading into tomorrow.
  • Talked about depth being a focal point in this series with two teams that boast a lot of it. Well, Nanaimo gets goals from three different lines and one from a defenseman. This is how the series will likely play out, as there’s going to be  different guys stepping up on any given night for both teams.
  • The Vees did have a lot of zone time, cycled at will at times and won a lot of battles along the wall but Nanaimo did collapse well in front of their net; like a zone defense in basketball. I think the Vees will need to make a more conscious effort to not only establish zone time but then attack the net. They were doing their thing a lot tonight but will need to consistently penetrate that area right out front of the Clippers crease. The Clips’ scored all five goals from the front porch.
  • I wonder what the status of Yanni Kaldis will be for game two. The gifted defenseman took a heavy hit from Dante Fabbro in the second period after he was chasing a puck in the Vees corner. Fabbro got him against the boards and Kaldis immediately doubled-over after the hit and skated off the ice; he didn’t return. He suffered upper-body injury back in February after he took a nasty hit in a game in Vernon in February and that kept him out of the line-up for some time. I hope he’s OK, as you don’t want to see a player of his caliber miss any time. He was just named a Second Team BCHL All-Star on Thursday. I wish him all the best and hopefully we can see him again in the series.

 

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