Finding another level could change Vees’ fortunes

Is bad luck on the Penticton Vees side?

Is bad luck on the Penticton Vees side?

Here are some reasons why it might be.

In Game 1, Mark Hall wasn’t able to hit an open gap that Salmon Arm SilverBacks goalie Kris Moore left for him in the opening minutes. Then after taking a nice feed along the left side, Joey Holka cut to the net and nailed the post. Brendan O’Donnell followed that by scoring a goal low shortside on Moore only to have the goal judge not see it, therefore not turning the red light and the official waiving it off because he didn’t see it. With 6:23 remaining in the first period, the BCHL’s top sniper Mike Hammond enters an opening and is able to beat Vees goalie Joel Rumpel. The Vees had some decent chances in the second period but couldn’t finish. In the third period, Hammond makes no mistake on an odd-man rush giving the SilverBacks a 2-0 lead. However, Vees defenceman Troy Stecher scores a nice goal on a wrap around as SilverBacks defenceman Jayson Reardon was unable to contain him. That’s as close as the Vees came as Hammond scored an empty-net goal for the hat trick.

In Game 2, former Vee Brad Reid broke in on Rumpel and beat him five-hole. In the second period the Vees find another level as Logan Johnston and O’Donnell become a handful and make magic trading power play goals, each assisting on the others’ goal. Garrett Milan, pointless in the series, had a chance near the corner of the net but couldn’t get his stick on the puck as he created problems with Joey Benik. Defenceman Joey Laleggia, pointless in both games, wired a slaphot near the blueline only to watch it hit the crossbar.

Five minutes into the third period, the momentum shifts into the SilverBacks favour as Milan does everything in his power to stop Bryce Gervais on a shorthanded breakaway and the referee awards him a penalty shot. The SilverBacks rookie makes no mistake as he cruises in on Rumpel, puts on the brakes and fires a wrist shot upstairs glove hand. Five minutes later, Kevin Mills scores a power play goal.

During the final seven minutes, the Vees pressure the SilverBacks keeping them hemmed in their zone only able to get some easy shots on Moore, who turned aside 40 on the night. On one play, Moore was at his mercy with chaos crowding his crease and O’Donnell patient with the puck, as usual, outwaited Moore only to be denied while trying to fire the puck upstairs.

Need a breather after all that? Go ahead, grab a coffee, beer or whatever you are craving and return.

For this series to be tied at one, a lot of ifs would have to happen.

Perhaps the good news for Vees fans is knowing the players aren’t shrugging this off as if nothing is wrong. Happy with what they have done for the most part, they hope fortunes turn in their favour.

While the Vees were physical on Wednesday, they might consider giving Moore a big body to deal with more often. During Thursdays Coach’s Corner segment, Vees coach Fred Harbinson joked that they would run Moore, but why not make his life miserable? The Vees need to find a way to be more effective in taking away what the Calgary, Alta native sees and exposing his weaknesses.

What will also go a long way in changing their fortunes is getting goals from Holka, Myles McCauley and Milan. It’s not that these guys aren’t trying, but they have to make their own luck. This time of year is about getting gritty goals, even ugly ones.

Johnson said confidence hasn’t slipped away.

“We kicked the crap out of them up and down the ice for six periods so far and we plan on doing it for three more on Friday night,” said Johnson.

With the way things have gone, I’m sure they will take a bouncer off a rear end to get it past Moore, who has looked like Boston Bruin goalie Tim Thomas at times. With Mark MacMillan not available in this series and likely the rest of the playoffs, players must take it upon themselves to fill the void.

A junior hockey player once told me that you have to be good to be lucky and lucky to be good.

Are the Vees good enough to turn their bad luck into good luck?