Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Vees/Smokies + A Chat With An Ex-Leaf

With the Rebels not playing until Thursday, I had the chance to join my Mountain FM colleague Shawn Mullin in the broadcast booth tonight at Cominco Arena, where we watched the #3 ranked Junior A team in Canada, the Penticton Vees, come back from 3-0 and 4-1 deficits to beat the Smoke Eaters 6-5 in double overtime. It was a wildly entertaining game, but I thought the difference came down to execution on special teams. Penticton were able to capitalize on 2 power-plays to erase Trail's lead, and not only were the Smokies unable to score on their own PPs, they gave up a shortie to Penticton's Logan Johnston that tied the game at 5-5 with just over 10 minutes remaining. Still the Smoke Eaters picked up 4 of 6 points against really tough competition in the past 3 games, which shows to me they deserve to be a playoff team this year, and could really be something special in 2010/11 as most of their roster will be back.

I'm sure Shawn will have a recap on his blog, and I'm happy to say I'll be re-joining him on the pay-per-view again this Friday when the Smokies take on Westside.

After the game I had a chance to chat with Nelson product Isaac MacLeod as he got on the Vees' bus. He's in his rookie season on the Vees' blueline (0-22-22 in 50 games played), and was a 16 year-old on the Nelson Leafs team that won the KIJHL championship last year, and seems to be making the adjustment to Junior A really well in his first year in the BCHL (it doesn't hurt that he's playing on a veteran-laden team, which he mentions in our brief interview. He seemed like a really down-to earth kid who first and foremost loves the game, and was all too happy to chat with this reporter after a big game in front of friends and family. All the best to Isaac as the Vees look to capture the Fred Page Cup for the second time in three years, and as he gets set to head to Boston College for the 2010/11 season, as he's committed to the Massachusetts school.

Tough decision ahead as I get set for the final weekend of regular-season KIJHL play. Do I stay home and watch the webcast of the Rebels' game in Grand Forks on Thursday, or make the trip to Fruitvale to scout Saturday's opponent, as the Beaver Valley Nitehawks will welcome Creston Valley. I'm leaning toward the latter...

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