FORT McMURRAY, Alta. - They say first impressions are everything and the Vees made a lasting one in their Western Canada Cup opener, as they throttled the Spruce Grove Saints 11-3 Saturday afternoon at the Casman Centre in Fort McMurray.
Tyson Jost picked up a hat-trick, April 25, Riley Alferd scored twice and the Vees got singles from Gabe Bast, Connor Chartier, Steen Cooper, Dakota Conroy and Matt Serratore.
The Vees scored twice inside the first minute of the game and buried five in the first period, four more in the second and added a pair in the third.
Alferd scored just 19-seconds into the game, after he tipped Gabe Bast’s point-shot past Saints starter Matt Murray. Before the goal could be announced in the rink, the Vees scored again, as Connor Chartier made it 2-0 31-seconds later.
Demico Hannoun, playing in his second Western Canada Cup, capitalized on a three-on-one rush, as he went upstairs on Murray at 5:46 to push the lead to 3-0. That goal chased Murray from the net, as he was replaced by Brett Zarowny.
Zarowny was greeted with another Vees goal on the first shot he faced, as Steen Cooper redirected a shot past the Saints puck-stopper at 7:12.
Tyson Jost capped off the outburst with his first of three with just over five-minutes left. Jost forced a turnover in deep and snapped a shot short-side on Zarowny at 14:42.
In the second, the Vees picked up where they left off in the first, as Dakota Conroy pushed the lead to 6-0 three and a half minutes into the middle stanza. Miles Gendron fired a dart across the zone to Conroy for the tap in at 3:36.
Jost picked up his second on the power-play after he ripped a one-timer from the right-wing at 16:46, putting the Vees up by a touchdown. Gabe Bast hit the scoresheet when he too scored on another man-advantage and less than two-minutes after Jost.
Bast teed up a one-timer from the blue-line the rocketed to the corner past Zarowny at 18:36.
Matt Serratore got some luck on the Vees ninth goal, as a pass from behind the Spruce Grove net went off his skate and underneath Zarowny 12-seconds after Bast’s goal.
Alferd put the Vees into double-digits and again he didn’t waste time doing it. Alferd followed the puck to the net and buried a rebound off the goalie’s pad just 17-seconds into the third period.
Spruce Grove made some noise midway through the third, as they scored three times in 10-minutes to cut into the sizable deficit. Lukas Biensch broke up the shutout bid at 8:34, and Austin Hunter and Carson Samoridny scored roughly four-minutes apart to make it 10-3.
Jost made sure the game ended on a positive note for the Vees, as he picked up his hat-trick goal with just over a minute left, after he got a piece of his stick on a Miles Gendron point-shot at 18:42.
Final Score: 11-3
Shots: 32-28 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 2-4 Spruce Grove 1-3
Player of the Game: Vees-Tyson Jost Spruce Grove-Carson Samoridny
Eight Vees finished with two or more points in the win and Bast finished with a game-high five points. The Vees 11 goals were one less than the BCHL representative scored in total in the 2014 Western Canada Cup. The Coquitlam Express scored 12 goals in four games last year in Dauphin, Man.
The Vees look to stay undefeated at the tournament Sunday night, April 26, when they face the host Fort McMurray Oil Barons, at 7:30 p.m. Fans can listen to the game on EZ Rock AM 800, or they can watch online at www.fasthockey.com.