Trailing 2-0 in their second round seven-game series against the Salmon Arm SilverBacks, Penticton Vees captain Derik Johnson said they “have to get pissed off” and ready to work.
While the SilverBacks were in a good mood (one player was singing) as they left the South Okanagan Events Centre on Wednesday, the mood was silent in the Vees dressing room following the 3-2 loss.
“I felt we played well again. It’s disappointing that two mistakes end up in our net,” said Johnson, who was on the ice for the winning goal.
The Vees looked set to even the series until Bryce Gervais scored on a penalty shot in the third period making a clever move stopping a foot from the crease then rifling a wrist shot high glove past Rumpel. Five minutes later Kevin Mills gave the SilverBacks the lead on the power-play.
“I thought we were playing really well up to that point (short-handed goal),” said an emotional Vees coach Fred Harbinson. “They get a penalty shot and tie the game and get the momentum going. Then they get a break where a guy is coming out of the penalty box when it was four-on-four and get an odd-man rush and score. The difference is that they are getting those breaks and we have hit the post or cross bar four or five times in two games.”
An example was defenceman Joey Laleggia hammering a slap shot from the point that would have made it 3-1 for the Vees. SilverBacks goalie Kris Moore was strong again turning aside 40 shots. The Vees got to him in the second period as Brendan O’Donnell and Logan Johnston tallied power play markers. Harbinson liked what he saw of the power play, which went two-for-six.
“There is no question we are missing Mark MacMillan out there,” said Harbinson as MacMillan collected 57 points on 150 Vees goals during the season and had five assists in two playoff games before getting hurt. “I think we’re getting a lot of good chances on the power play and some guys have stepped up.”
With Games 3 and 4 on Friday and Saturday in Salmon Arm, Harbinson will look at game video to see what adjustments they need to make.
“We out grade-A chanced them. I thought we out hit them,” said Harbinson. “Their goaltender has been the star of the series so far. And we have to find a way to get that to change.”
Should a Game 5 be necessary, it will be at the SOEC on Monday at 7 p.m.