The Penticton Vees 11th win in a row came in convincing fashion.
The Vees pounded the Surrey Eagles 10-0 on Wicked Wednesday in front of 2,267 fans in the South Okanagan Events Centre.
“Those are tough games. You don’t really want to be involved in those games either way,” said Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson, adding that his team played great. “Now we have to play them again on Friday. They had some tough goals go in on them. The game just kind of got away on them.”
Former Eagle Demico Hannoun put the home team up 1-0 46 seconds into the first period. Eleven minutes later, Gabe Bast put the Vees up 2-0 after taking a feed from Mitch Newsome on the right wing and ripped a shot top shelf between Daniel Davidson and the post. The goal was Bast’s first career junior A tally.
The Vees began distancing themselves from the Eagles in the second period with a six-goal outburst, starting when Riley Alferd beat Davidson 49 seconds into the middle stanza. Hannoun scored his second of the game and 10th of the season on the power play, which the Vees were three-for-three on, as Patrick Newell fed the puck through the crease and Hannoun buried it after taking it off his skate. Cody DePourcq made it 5-0 when he was sprung on a breakaway by Newsome and burned Davidson top shelf on his glove hand. Matthew Serratore, Jack Ramsey and Lewis Zerter-Gossage completed the scoring spree.
In the final frame, Serratore buried his second and Miles Gendron got credit for the final goal put in by a Surrey defender.
“I think a lot of it was because our transition,” said Harbinson. “We played hard and we played four lines. I thought our guys played extremely hard right to the end. They didn’t take short cuts.”
Harbinson also credited Hunter Miska’s play in net saying the goalie made saves when needed. Miska turned aside 25 shots to earn his third shutout of the season with help from his teammates.
“The defence were playing unbelievable getting the guys away from me and letting me see the first shot,” said Miska, who faced 22 shots in the second and third periods combined.
There were a few moments where it looked like the Eagles would get on board, including a play in which Miska sat in his crease while the Vees defence protected the crease.
“I was pretty confident. I knew I was going to keep that puck out of the net,” said Miska, who was also challenged by loose pucks near his feet.
Miska said the Eagles had a few grade A scoring chances.
“Those kind of nights are one of the most tough nights you’re going to see. Not taking a ton of shots, a lot of their opportunities are grade A,” said Miska, who faced three shots in the first period. “I felt like I played really well tonight.”
“He’s been amazing all year. He’s been so consistent,” said DePourcq, the Vees co-captain.
DePourcq said coming out in the first period, they wanted to make a good statement and felt they did.
“We really brought our speed to the game,” he said. “We also hit.”
Heading to Surrey for a Friday rematch, DePourcq expects the Eagles to come out hard.
“We expect them to come out with a lot of tenacity,” he said. “They will have some fire in them. You have to expect their best.”
On Tuesday, the Vees completed a trade sending Liam Finlay to the Vernon Vipers for the BCHL-CHL list rights of 20-year-old forward Dakota Conroy and future considerations. Conroy has played 212 games in the Western Hockey League for the Brandon Wheat Kings, Victoria Royals and Prince Albert Raiders collecting 137 points. In 10 games this season, the Edmonton, Alta., native had a goal and an assist and has been suspended for leaving the Raiders. In 10 games with the Vees this season, Finlay had a goal and four assists. Harbinson said he moved Finlay because he wasn’t play.
“We’re about development. I thought give him a chance to play somewhere,” said Harbinson. “At the end of the day we’re going to be looking for an older, veteran forward. He’s a school kid and I just didn’t want something to drag out. “He’s (Conroy) just on our CHL list. He is suspended by Prince Albert right now. It’s a 30-day suspension. We will see what happens after that.”
Vees notes: Bryce Gervais, who help the Vees win the RBC Cup in 2012, took the offensive player of the week award after posting game-winning goals on back-to-back nights as part of a three-goal weekend for the Minnesota State Univeristy Mavericks. Gervais, also a former Silverback, helped the Mavs to a sweep of Alabama-Huntsville and now has four goals and two helpers on the season.