MERRITT, B.C. – The Penticton Vees used four different goal scorers and 52 shots on goal to help them to a 4-1 victory over the Merritt Centennials on Friday night at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.
An abundance of chances came in the opening period that led to a 19-10 shot advantage for the Vees after the opening 20 minutes, kicked off by a breakaway on the left wing by the captain David Silye. Silye got to the net, attempting to lift the puck over the right side of Centennials netminder Ryan Winter but the goaltender made a strong save to keep the game 0-0.
Winter was on full display in the opening 20 minutes, making a good stop on a give-and-go between Darwin Lakoduk and Jack Barnes. Lakoduk got a pass below the goal line from Barnes on a rush before sending a feed back to the slot where Barnes shot on goal but Winter pushed his left shoulder up and made a big stop.
Yaniv Perets was not to be outdone, making saves on each of the 10 shots he faced in the opening period including a highlight reel stop on Rylan Van Unen in front of the net. A rebound jumped to the stick of Van Unen at the blocker side as he had an open net in front of him before Perets slid from his glove side across and dove for an outstanding save.
Penticton used a power play to break the deadlock and open the scoring at the 15:52 mark of the 1st period. Evan McIntyre passed a puck to the right side as Conner Hutchison had his right point shot redirected in front off of a pair of bodies and laid loose at the side of the net as the Vees defender came down and pushed the puck past the glove side of Winter for his 3rd goal of the season and a 1-0 Vees advantage.
The 2nd period was no different in the way of pucks to the net as Penticton forced 18 shots on goal with Winter once again being the difference, coming up big in the period. Merritt was able to knot the game at 1-1 just 2:18 into the middle stanza as Ben Ward worked his way to the right face-off circle and beating Perets over the glove side to even the score at 1-1.
The Vees had a quick response as Tyler Ho wasted no time to get the visitors ahead for the second time in the game. Ho took a shot from the right wing that was blocked off a stick and bounced off the end boards as the Vees forward collected in the right face-off circle and beat Winter to the glove side for his 6th goal of the season and a 2-1 advantage.
Winter made a pair of great saves shorthanded on Lukas Sillinger as he was fed with passes from left to right as Winter came across to make two big stops, while shorthanded, to keep the game at 2-1 in favour of Penticton heading into the 3rd period.
The Vees held Merritt to just 5 shots in the final frame and pushed their lead to a pair of goals for the first time in the game at the 3:28 mark of the 3rd period. Colton Kalezic collected a puck on the blocker side after a rebound came out to the side of the goal and scooped the puck over the blocker shoulder of Winter for his 9th goal of the season and a 3-1 Vees lead.
Another power play goal added insurance for the Vees, who jumped ahead by a 4-1 score courtesy of Danny Weight’s 15th goal of the season. Weight got the puck in the left face-off circle after the Vees sustained some pressure inside the offensive zone and shot past the blocker side of Winter to extend the lead to three goals and take a 4-1 advantage, which held up as the final score.
Yaniv Perets had another solid night in Merritt, turning away 25 of the 26 shots thrown his way in his 13th victory of the season while Ryan Winter held the Centennials in the game, stopping 48 of the 52 shots he faced in his 9th loss of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 4-1 Vees
SHOTS ON GOAL: 52-26 Vees
VEES PP: 2/6
VEES PK: 5/5
1) Tyler Ho (1-1-2)
2) Ryan Winter (48 saves on 52 shots)
3) Yaniv Perets (25 saves on 26 shots)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Ben Ward (1-0-1)
The Vees (22-8-1-0) head home for the back half of their home-and-home weekend set with the Merritt Centennials (8-17-1-0) for Anti-Bullying Night. Puck drop is slated for 6:00 PM from the South Okanagan Events Centre with fans encouraged to wear pink in support of Anti-Bullying. A limited number of tickets remain and can be purchased at the Valley First Box Office as well as online at ValleyFirstTix.com.
The Vees annual Teddy Bear Toss will take place on Friday, December 6th against the West Kelowna Warriors at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Fans are encouraged to bring a new or gently-used stuff animal, a pair of socks, pajamas or diapers to throw onto the ice after Penticton’s first goal of the game. Tickets can be purchased at the Valley First Box Office as well as online at ValleyFirstTix.com.