PENTICTON, B.C. – The Penticton Vees got four points from their Captain Fin Williams as well as a hat-trick off the stick of Devlin O’Brien to help them to their fourth consecutive victory in a 7-2 win over the Trail Smoke Eaters on Thursday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
A bit of a sloppy opening period was busy on the scoresheet as the Vees and Smoke Eaters went back-and-forth with three total goals in the first 20 minutes of play beginning with the first BC Hockey League goal from Devlin O’Brien to push Penticton ahead by a 1-0 margin.
Off a set face-off play, Ryan McGuire won the draw to the middle of the ice where O’Brien took the puck on his forehand and moved to his backhand as he lifted a shot over the glove of Smoke Eaters netminder Cayden Hamming for his first of the season and a 1-0 Vees lead at the 3:33 mark of the opening period.
Just after the first media timeout of the game, Kalen Szeto continued his strong stretch of play, scoring in back-to-back games to get the Smoke Eaters on the board. Garrett Valk’s point shot was redirected by the Trail forward past the blocker side of Kaeden Lane in the Vees net at the 10:54 mark of the 1st period to tie the game at 1-1.
Before the period was out, at the 16:11 mark of 1st period, Luc Wilson got the Vees back on top with his team-leading 13th goal of the season to push Penticton ahead by a 2-1 score. Ryan Upson spotted Wilson at the bottom of the right face-off circle with a pass from behind the net as Wilson took the puck and snuck it through the glove side post and past Hamming for the one-goal lead.
It was a period for O’Brien and the Vees as the rookie tallied his 2nd goal of the game in the middle stanza to push Penticton ahead by two goals. Fin Williams forced a puck to the top of the crease as Jacob Quillan sent a pass in front for O’Brien, who batted in his rebound effort for his 2nd of the night on the power play at the 8:39 mark of the middle frame to double the Vees advantage.
O’Brien completed the hat-trick with a goal just over three minutes later at the 11:56 mark of the 2nd period. Tyler Ho sent a shot off the right pad of Hamming on a partial odd-man rush with the rebound kicking out to the slot as O’Brien filled the middle and filled the back of the net for his hat-trick marker to push the Vees lead to 4-1.
Grayson Arnott added to the Penticton advantage with the first of three goals in the final frame on a tic-tac-toe passing play. Ho played a pass from the slot to the bottom of the right face-off circle where Williams spotted Arnott on the backdoor as he tapped it in during 4-on-4 play for his 3rd of the season at the 5:32 mark of the 3rd period for a 5-1 lead.
Szeto potted his 2nd goal of the game at the 6:54 mark of the period on a partial breakaway to make the game 5-2 before Quillan added his 8th of the campaign at the 10:56 mark to give Penticton a 6-2 edge. Tristan Amonte had his mid-slot shot deflected in by Quillan for the four-goal lead.
The four-point night of Fin Williams capped the scoring in the game as the Vees captain chipped in his 5th goal of the season for a 7-2 lead. Wilson passed across to the right side where Williams forced it in past the glove side of Hamming at the 12:51 mark of the final period for a five-goal lead.
Kaeden Lane turned aside 28 of the 30 shots he faced in his league-leading 11th win of the season while Cayden Hamming stopped 37 of the 44 shots thrown at his net in his 4th loss of the campaign.
FINAL SCORE: 7-2 Vees
SHOTS ON GOAL: 44-30 Vees
VEES PP: 1/4
VEES PK: 3/3
1) Devlin O’Brien (3-0-3)
2) Fin Williams (1-3-4)
3) Tyler Ho (0-2-2)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Tristan Amonte (0-1-1)
The Vees (13-1-0-1) will play the second of a back-to-back as they face-off against the Cranbrook Bucks (2-10-0-1) on Friday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM with the game broadcasted live on EZ Rock AM 800 as well as on HockeyTV.com beginning with the pre-game show at 6:40 PM with the Voice of the Vees, Trevor Miller.