PHOTO: Tami Quan/Tami Quan Photography
WEST KELOWNA, B.C. – The Penticton Vees used a five-goal 2nd period to help them to their seventh straight Okanagan Cup win in a 7-3 victory over the West Kelowna Warriors on Friday night at Royal LePage Place.
Just as they did a pair of weekends ago, the Vees and Warriors played with plenty of pace to open up the game and saw the opening 10 minutes of play go without many stoppages. Penticton registered their first good chance on a partial breakaway by Quinn Hutson, who got behind the Warriors defense but fanned on an attempt at net before Matteo Costantini followed up behind him with a shot that Warriors netminder Johnny Derrick pushed aside.
The Warriors were first to find the back of the net on this night as Carter Wilkie batted a puck down on a rebound to give West Kelowna a 1-0 lead. John Evans took the shot from the right face-off circle that Vees netminder Kaeden Lane fought off with a blocker stop before Wilkie bunted the puck by at the top of the crease at the 14:27 mark of the opening period to give the Warriors a 1-0 advantage after the opening 20 minutes.
Late in the period, the Warriors were forced to make a goaltending change as Johnny Derrick left the game with 1:26 remaining in the 1st period off what look to be a routine dump play into the Warriors zone as Zach Bennett was pressed into action and did not face a shot heading into the 2nd period.
The Vees offense erupted in the 2nd period, scoring a season-high five goals in the middle stanza to take control of the game. It began 2 minutes into the middle stanza as defender Jason Marsella tallied his first Okanagan Cup goal, wristing a shot from the top of the left face-off circle that beat Bennett over his pad and under his glove to even the score at 1-1.
Just 1:14 later on a power play, Jackson Niedermayer made his return to lineup felt after missing the last four games. A shot from the right face-off circle by Liam Malmquist was stopped before Niedermayer was camped in front of the goal to bang in the rebound for his 3rd Okanagan Cup goal and the power play marker pushed the Vees ahead for the first time on the night with a 2-1 advantage at the 3:16 mark of the middle stanza.
Niedermayer made his presence felt in front of the net once again later in the period in front of the net on another power play opportunity. The puck was thrown to the front of the net from the slot as Niedermayer jammed the puck through Bennett and past the goal line for his second goal of the game and a 3-1 Vees lead at the 6:44 mark of the 2nd period.
The Vees extended their lead to 4-1 with their fourth goa of the 2nd period coming courtesy of a strong passing play from Jacob Quillan and Ryan Upson. Quillan gathered the puck in the left corner and centered a pass to the slot as Upson one-timed a shot past the glove side of Bennett for his 2nd Okanagan Cup goal and a 4-1 Vees lead.
Owen Murray concluded the 2nd period scoring with his 1st goal of the Okanagan Cup tournament on another power play marker for Penticton. Murray got his shot through traffic from the midpoint and beat Bennett through his legs with 59 seconds remaining in the frame to push the Vees ahead by a 5-1 margin.
Tyler Ho added a shorthanded goal in the 3rd period, his 1st of the Okanagan Cup, collecting his own shot off the end boards and burying the puck past the glove side at the 2:27 mark to push the Vees ahead by a 6-1 score. West Kelowna would get a marker from Matthew Stienburg on the power play to cut the Vees lead to 6-2.
Quillan added a tally of his own later in the period at the 8:07 mark of the 3rd period on a give-and-go with Upson through the neutral zone with Quillan receiving the pass down the right wing and snapping a shot past the blocker side of Bennett for his 1st Okanagan Cup tally that pushed the Vees ahead by a 7-2 score. A late West Kelowna tally, the second of the game from Stienburg, concluded the scoring in the game as the Vees went on to a 7-3 win.
Kaeden Lane shined in goal for the Vees, turning aside 38 of the 41 shots he faced in between the pipes for his 3rd Okanagan Cup win while Johnny Derrick stopped each of the 11 shots thrown his way before exiting in the 1st period as Zach Bennett came on in relief, making 14 saves on 21 shots in his 3rd Okanagan Cup loss.
FINAL SCORE: 7-3 Vees
SHOTS ON GOAL: 41-32 Warriors
1) Kaeden Lane (38 saves on 41 shots)
2) Jackson Niedermayer (2-1-3)
3) Jacob Quillan (1-1-2)
VEES PP: 3/5
VEES PK: 4/5
The Vees (7-0-0-0) conclude their weekend set against the West Kelowna Warriors (3-3-0-1) on Saturday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Puck drop is slated for 6:00 PM with the game available with a FREE audio stream at mixlr.com/pentictonvees as well as pay-per-view at HockeyTV.com.