PHOTO: Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography
PENTICTON, B.C. – The Penticton Vees used a three-point effort from Jacob Quillan to help them to their seventh consecutive victory in a 5-1 triumph over the Cranbrook Bucks on Monday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
In an opening period unlike any other in the season series between the Vees and Bucks, offense was the name of the game in a four-goal 1st period with three coming from the visiting Vees including the game’s opening tally coming 8:43 into the hockey game.
Frank Djurasevic led a pass ahead on the right-wing side as Jacob Quillan banked a pass off the right boards and spun to get free of a defender into the offensive end as he fed a pass across to the middle of the zone where Tristan Amonte gathered and snapped a shot past the glove hand of Bucks goaltender Nathan Airey for his 4th goal of the season to give the Vees a 1-0 advantage just under halfway into the opening frame.
Special teams for the Vees played a big factor in Monday night’s matchup as they were able to convert on their first power play of the game with Grayson Arnott finding the back of the goal. The Vees defender took a pass from the slot off the stick of Devlin O’Brien as Arnott slid the puck past the glove side of Airey at the 12:27 mark of the 1st period for his 4th tally of the season and to double the Vees advantage.
Just 24 seconds after that, however, Noah Leibl pushed back for the Bucks and got Cranbrook to within a goal with his 4th goal of the campaign at the 12:51 mark of the opening stanza. A turnover in tight of the Vees net saw Leibl jam home a loose puck, just squeaking through the legs of netminder Kaleb McEachern that got Cranbrook back in the hockey game and made it a one-goal game once more.
Finishing off the first period of scoring was Liam Malmquist, who collected his 7th goal of the season at the 15:01 point of the period that gave the Vees their two-goal advantage back. Amonte bunted a turned over puck in the slot to the left face-off circle as Malmquist spun and fired a shot over the blocker shoulder of Airey to extend the Vees lead to 3-1 heading into the 2nd period.
The middle stanza of the game played more like what we have come accustomed to between the two teams in the first period which saw tight, defensive hockey and just eleven total shots on goal with the Vees mustering their first shot on target with just over 6 minutes remaining in the period but they made it one that counted as Quillan scored Penticton’s second power play marker of the game.
A terrific passing play saw Malmquist sent a left circle feed across to the right side where Luc Wilson played the puck back to the middle in the slot as Quillan shot it past the blocker side of Airey for his 11th goal of the season and has now scored in four straight games to give the Vees a 4-1 lead into the 3rd period.
Tom Richter put the icing on the cake in the 3rd period as Penticton surrendered just two shots against in the frame and Richter collected his third goal of the season at the 9:21 mark of the final period to forge the Vees ahead by a four-goal margin, their largest lead of the game.
Djurasevic earned his second assist of the contest as he walked down the right-wing side from the blue line and passed through the slot to the left face-off circle where Richter scooped a shot over the blocker side of Airey to increase the Vees lead to 5-1.
Kaleb McEachern turned aside 12 of the 13 shots thrown his way in his 3rd win of the season in the Vees net while Nathan Airey made 22 saves on 27 attempts at his goal to suffer his 9th loss of the campaign.
FINAL SCORE: 5-1 Vees
SHOTS ON GOAL: 27-13 Vees
VEES PP: 2/3
VEES PK: 3/3
1) Jacob Quillan (1-2-3)
2) Liam Malmquist (1-1-2)
3) Frank Djurasevic (0-2-2)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Rhys Bentham (0-0-0)
The Vees (16-1-0-1) will have the majority of the week off before getting back into action in the final weekend of the season beginning on Saturday night against the Trail Smoke Eaters (8-8-0-0) at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Puck drop is slated for 6:00 PM with the game broadcasted live on EZ Rock AM 800 as well as on HockeyTV.com and Shaw Spotlight beginning with the pre-game show at 5:40 PM with the Voice of the Vees, Trevor Miller.