PHOTO: Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography
PENTICTON, B.C. – The Penticton Vees honoured the 1985/86 Centennial Cup Champion Penticton Knights with a terrific performance to open the 2021/22 regular season with a 4-2 victory over the Vernon Vipers on Friday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
There was plenty of energy in the building as the Vees honoured the 1985/86 Penticton Knights with a pre-game ceremony and the Knights jerseys made for an exciting opening to the night which saw the Vees gain momentum to lead to opening the scoring at the 17:28 mark of the opening period.
The captain Fin Williams got the opening goal of the season with just under 2 and a half minutes remaining in the first period as Luc Wilson walked his way around a defender on the right-wing side and got to the goal line before sending a pass to the slot as Williams knocked it past the blocker shoulder of Vipers goaltender Roan Clarke to give Penticton a 1-0 lead.
Just about a minute and a half after that, Josh Niedermayer made his presence felt in the game with 56 seconds remaining in the opening frame. Williams took a shot from the right face-off circle as the puck bounced off a defender and came to the left face-off circle where Niedermayer smacked home his 1st goal of the season to push the Vees ahead by a 2-0 score heading into the 2nd period.
Penticton were quick to jump ahead by a three-goal margin as Casey McDonald pushed the Vees advantage even further. Anthony Allepot made a nice move at the top of the left face-off circle as he threw a puck on goal that was stopped by Clarke but McDonald buried the rebound past the blocker side for his 1st BC Hockey League goal just 1:38 into the middle stanza for a 3-0 lead.
The Vees outshot the Vipers by a 16-3 margin in the middle stanza and were able to take advantage of the game and pick up a four-goal lead at the 9:08 mark of the 2nd period as Niedermayer buried his second tally of the game.
McDonald made a move at the goal line on the glove side of Clarke as he centered a pass to the slot with Niedermayer firing a shot through the legs of Clarke for his second goal of the night and pushed the Vees to a 4-0 lead into the 3rd period.
Special teams took over the final period of play and the Vipers took advantage with a pair of power play markers beginning at the 11:10 mark as Reagan Millburn took a pass from Logan Lorenz in the left face-off circle and snaps a shot past the glove side of Vees netminder Kaeden Lane to make it a 4-1 game.
Ryan Shostak made it a two-goal game at the 16:51 mark of the final frame, tipping in a pass from Cam MacDonald on the left-wing side as he went to the front of the net to cut the Vees lead to 4-2, which would finish as the final score.
Kaeden Lane turned aside 12 of the 14 shots thrown his way in his 1st win of the season while Roan Clarke made 24 saves on 28 shots in his 1st loss of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 4-2 Vees
SHOTS ON GOAL: 28-14 Vees
VEES PP: 0/6
VEES PK: 7/8
1st Star: Josh Niedermayer (2-0-2)
2nd Star: Casey McDonald (1-1-2)
3rd Star: Fin Williams (1-1-2)
The Vees (1-0-0-0) will be back on home ice as they host the Wenatchee Wild (0-0-0-0) for the first time in almost two years at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Saturday night. Puck drop is slated for 6:00 PM with limited tickets available online at valleyfirsttix.com and at the SOEC Box Office beginning at 10:00 AM. The game will be broadcasted live on Bounce 800 and HockeyTV.com beginning at 5:40 PM with the pre-game show.