The Penticton Vees’ 1-0 win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks was like a playoff game for Cody DePourcq.
“It was a fun game to play in and it was a great win for us,” said the Vees’ co-captain after their BCHL-leading 36th win of the season Wednesday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Physicality and tight checking were at the forefront, while Hunter Miska and, especially, Angus Redmond denied shooters when called upon. The Vees outshot the Silverbacks 34-19 and generated most of their chances in the first and third periods.
The Vees prevailed when Tyson Jost ripped the winner by Redmond as he picked the far corner stick side at 16:19 of the first.
“He’s got a great shot. Perfect placement and a beautiful goal,” said DePourcq, adding he is always amazed by what the rookie standout can do. “He’s a very good player.”
There was another chance by the Vees in the first period when Patrick Newell fired a shot off the post on the power play.
In a second period that saw 12 combined shots, the only solid chance came off the stick of Vees defenceman Miles Gendron, who redirected a pass wide. The Vees dominated the offensive zone time, but generated few shots.
“They do a very good job of blocking shots. I thought we had a lot of good zone time,” said Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson. “Their goaltender made some great saves.”
In the third period, the Vees generated more offence, while giving the Silverbacks nothing as they managed to fire just five shots on Miska, who leads the league with five shutouts this season. The tenacious DePourcq had a chance late to distance his team, but was robbed by Redmond.
“I tried to just make a move and go to my forehand. Looking back on it I think backhand was open,” said DePourcq. “Next time I’m going to get him. It was a good play by (Lewis) Zerter-Gossage at the top of the circle. He threw it down to Cooper and Cooper found me in the slot. I had a lot of time and I made a good move but he robbed me.”
DePourcq liked how they never stopped.
“It was a relentless game for us. We needed a full 60 minute game and I thought we played that way,” he said. “To put up a goose egg against a team like that is big.”
Vees defenceman Shayne Gwinner did not play Wednesday as he has the flu.
During the intermissions of the Vees’ last two home games, co-captain Patrick Sexton appeared on the scoreboard sking fans to make donations to help his former teammate Neil Doef of the Smith Falls Bears. Doef sustained a spinal cord injury while representing Team Canada East at the World Junior A Challenge last December.
“I want to do my part. We’re all in the same boat. It could happen to any of us,” said Sexton, adding that he wanted Doef to know the Vees organization is behind him.
Sexton, who played three games with Doef in his final season as a Bear in 2012-13, approached Kevan Scott, community co-ordinator and game night services for the Vees, and Fraser Rodgers, director of broadcasting and media relations, to ask to help Doef by raising money.
“I hope the city of Penticton can rally behind him as much as we have,” said Sexton, adding that Doef is a great guy.
Donations to help him can also be made at Scotiabank branches.