Murphy torches Coquitlam for seven points
A two-goal, five-assist effort against the Coquitlam Express is a new career high for Wade Murphy.
The Penticton Vees forward’s previous single-game season high was five as a member of his hometown Victoria Grizzlies last year.
“Everything was going my way. That was one of the best games I’ve played in a Vees uniform that’s for sure,” said Murphy, who sits fifth in British Columbia Hockey League scoring with 20 goals and 57 points in 40 games.
Murphy helped the Vees blow by the Express 11-0. Murphy had two assists in the opening period. In the second period, he took a pass from Louie Nanne, who entered the Express zone then made a drop pass. Murphy skated with the puck briefly then snapped a wrist shot at the top of the slot that deflected off Express goalie Cole Huggins’ shoulder, bounced off the inside post going to the other side of the net.
“That was phenomenal,” said Vees forward Travis Blanleil of Murphy’s goal. “He’s got an NHL shot.”
Murphy, who set up Jedd Soleway for the game-winner 5:11 into the first period, said he got some lucky bounces. Find full story at www.pentictonwesternnews.com.
Five minutes after that goal, he rifled a shot high glove on Huggins, who was pulled after allowing seven goals on 24 shots.
“I have been struggling the last couple weeks,” said Murphy, who is averaging 1.4 points per game.
As for his team’s performance, he reiterated that Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson said it was their best game all year.
“I thought everybody contributed,” said Harbinson. “We talked about having a good start and we did.”
Express coach-GM Jon Calvano was disappointed at what he saw.
“It was just tough emotionally, mentally after last night to recover from that loss (4-3 to Vernon),” said Calvano.
Being short manned of five regulars didn’t help and two of their nine forwards played with the flu.
“One was an affiliate player but I mean no excuse,” he said. “Penticton is a first-class program and obviously they showed it today.”
Calvano said it was just looking at the level of how hard certain guys competed.
“It’s demoralizing when at one point in the game they have more goals than we have shots on net,” he said. “Chalk that up as a learning experience.”
Harbinson was impressed with his players as he didn’t feel as though they cheated in their play.
“It wasn’t like we were out there trying to score goals,” said Harbinson, adding that the RBC Cup-winning team never scored 11 in a game. “We were finishing checks, fighting to get back above the puck and back check and the goals came from that. It wasn’t trying to get points even when we got a big lead.”
Vees notes: Harbinson said Blanleil, who missed five weeks with an injury, played great. “He played with a lot of energy,” said Harbinson. The Vees coach also liked the performance of affiliate player Michael Winnitoy. “He was very calm with the puck. I thought he was really steady. I thought he did an outstanding job.”