PHOTO: Tami Quan/Tami Quan Photography
WEST KELOWNA, B.C. – The Penticton Vees used a pair of goals from Jackson Niedermayer and a 3rd period tally from Liam Malmquist to help them to their 25th win of the season in a 3-2 victory over the West Kelowna Warriors on Saturday night at Royal LePage Place.
The opening period saw no goals from either side but a few opportunities, including a post for Penticton as they came inches away from opening the scoring. Lukas Sillinger made a move to get around a Warriors defender in the right face-off circle and moved to the right hash mark with a shot that rang the post of the blocker side of Warriors goaltender Johnny Derrick to keep the game at 0-0.
Carl Stankowski was strong in the opening 20 minutes of action in West Kelowna, making saves on all 9 shots he faced in the period including a big shorthanded stop. Brendan Pigeon stole the puck just inside the blue line and made his way through the neutral zone on a shorthanded opportunity, going to his backhand before Stankowski came up with a big right pad save that keep the score even into the 2nd period.
After scoring the opening goal a night before, Jackson Niedermayer found the back of the net just 1:47 into the 2nd period to get the Vees ahead by a 1-0 score. Evan McIntyre had his right point shot stopped by Derrick with the rebound popping loose to Niedermayer in the right face-off circle as he backhanded a shot through the legs of Derrick for his 9th goal of the season and a 1-0 Penticton advantage.
The Warriors were quick to respond and even the score just under two minutes later as John Evans made it a 1-1 hockey game. Tyler Cristall fed a pass from below the goal line to the slot where Evans pushed a shot past the glove side of Vees netminder Carl Stankowski that tied the game at the 3:45 mark.
Penticton began to tilt the ice in their favour, outshooting the Warriors by a 19-4 margin in the middle stanza and regaining their two-goal advantage at the 10:10 mark as Niedermayer tallied his second marker of the game and gave the Vees their second lead of the night.
Lukas Sillinger started the play with a stretch pass from his own zone that hit Danny Weight at the offensive blue line as he came into the zone and dropped a pass for Niedermayer. The Vees forward cut down the right side, holding the puck on his backhand before moving to his forehand and past the blocker side of Derrick for his second goal of the night and a 2-1 Penticton lead.
The Vees continued to keep the puck in the offensive zone, hemming the Warriors in their own end and doubled their advantage with a goal coming at the 4:24 mark. Connor Hutchison threw the puck to the net from the left point that was redirected on goal before a rebound laid loose at the top of the crease where Liam Malmquist fished it out and beat the glove side of Derrick for his 9th tally of the season and a 3-1 Vees lead.
West Kelowna got the game back to within a goal courtesy of a power play in the final five minutes. Tyler Cristall took a John Evans pass in the slot and backhanded a shot past the blocker side of Stankowski at the 15:15 mark to cut the deficit in half at 3-2 in the late stages.
Penticton didn’t give up much in the final moments and secured a 3-2 victory with Carl Stankowski stopping 18 of the 20 shots he faced in his 5th win of the season while Johnny Derrick turned aside 32 of the 35 shots thrown his way in his 10th defeat of the year.
FINAL SCORE: 3-2 Vees
SHOTS ON GOAL: 35-20 Vees
VEES PP: 0/4
VEES PK: 2/3
1) Jackson Niedermayer (2-0-2)
2) Tyler Cristall (1-1-2)
3) Danny Weight (0-2-2)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Nicholas Ardanaz (0-2-2)
The Vees (25-9-0-1) make their first trip of the season to the North Okanagan to kick-off a home-and-home set against the Vernon Vipers (17-12-1-1) on Friday night. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM from Kal Tire Place with the game broadcasted live on EZ Rock AM 800 as well as HockeyTV.com beginning with the pre-game show at 6:40 PM with the Voice of the Vees, Trevor Miller.