It was another quick start for the Penticton Vees and another 4-1 win over the Merritt Centennials Saturday night, at the South Okanagan Events Centre (SOEC).
A night after Gabe Bast scored 84-seconds into Game One, Jamie Armstrong scored less than three-minutes into Game Two, as the Vees took a 2-0 series lead in the best-of-seven Interior Division Semi-Final. Duncan Campbell, Taylor Ward and Owen Sillinger also scored for Penticton, and Mat Robson picked up his second win of the series, stopping 20 of 21 shots.
Armstrong also chipped in an assist on the Vees’ third goal, as the line of Armstrong, Ward and Matt Gosiewski finished with a pair of goals and four points.
Stephan Seeger spoiled Robson’s shutout bid late in the third period, as the Cents’ are now winless in five games at the SOEC dating back to the regular season.
Armstrong had the ice-breaker, just 2:44 into the first period, when his shot along the ice went in off the inside of Jacob Berger’s pad from the right-wing; Armstrong picking up his first career playoff goal and the only goal in the first period.
Penticton dominated the second, outshooting the Cents’ 16-6, and finally broke through late. After a stellar defensive play in the neutral zone by James Miller to strip Tyler Ward of the puck, Nicholas Jones carved his way into the Merritt zone, before dropping the puck to Duncan Campbell, who scored his first of the series at 13:56.
President, General Manager and Head Coach Fred Harbinson liked his team’s determined effort in the middle frame, “We really owned the zone in that period and getting that second goal was really critical. Until then, it’s still a one-shot game.”
Penticton added to their lead late in the third, as Ward finished off a three-on-one down low. Armstrong dropped for Gosiewski who tried to deke around the goaltender but lost the puck going to his backhand. Fortunately for the Vees, Ward was right there to swat in the loose puck from the side of the goal at 14:25.
Seeger got the Cents’ on the scoresheet with just under two-minutes left, jumping at the puck off a face-off in the Vees’ end and quickly going cross-bar down on a shot over Robson’s glove. Penticton did manage to get that one back inside the final minute.
Ty Amonte originally fanned on his shot when he was staring down an open net, but quickly recovered to slide it over to Sillinger who made no mistake, scoring his first of the series at 19:07.
Final Score: 4-1 Vees
Shots: 36-21 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 0-1 Merritt 0-0
Three Stars: 1) Jamie Armstrong 2) Mat Robson 3) Jacob Berger
Notes: The series now shifts to Merritt for Game Three on Monday, March 20th, and Game Four on Tuesday, March 21st; both games are 7 pm starts. Fans can listen to the games on EZ Rock AM 800, or they can watch online at www.hockeytv.com.
If there is a Game Five in the series, it will be on Thursday, March 23rd, back in Penticton at the SOEC. Tickets for that game are available at the Valley First box office (at the SOEC), or online at www.valleyfirsttix.com