PHOTO: Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography
PENTICTON, B.C. – The Penticton Vees used a goal and an assist from Devlin O’Brien to help them to a sixth straight win in a 3-1 victory over the Trail Smoke Eaters on Sunday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
The Vees doubled up the Smoke Eaters in shots in the opening period and had plenty of chances to gain the game’s first goal before eventually finding the back of the net at the 10:07 mark of the opening period as Devlin O’Brien put the Vees ahead by a marker.
Grayson Arnott flipped a shot through the neutral zone that O’Brien was able to race down in the offensive end and beat a pair of Smoke Eaters to get to the loose puck. O’Brien settled the puck to his forehand and lifted a shot over the blocker side of Smoke Eaters goaltender Cayden Hamming for his 4th goal of the season just over halfway through the opening frame for a 1-0 advantage in favour of the Vees.
That lead held into the 2nd period as Kaeden Lane remained strong in the Vees goal and Penticton had to be good on the penalty kill as the Vees were assessed a five-minute match penalty later in the frame and the PK was tasked with a large assignment to try and kill off.
The Vees have not allowed a goal against to the Smoke Eaters on the penalty kill and they continued that hot stretch in the game on Sunday as they were able to keep Trail at bay and actually have the best chance offensively on the kill as Tyler Ho sent a pass from the left face-off circle to the right side where Ryan McGuire had his shot glance off the post and stay out.
Moments after the big penalty kill, and before the 2nd period came to a close, Ben Wozney helped the Vees to a 2-0 lead going into the final frame. Liam Malmquist set up Wozney with a pass from the right wing and the Vees defender took the pass and buried a shot through the legs of Hamming from the left face-off circle for his 4th goal of the campaign with just 15 seconds remaining in the period to thrust the Vees ahead by a pair of goals.
Trail got the game back within one at the 9:33 mark of the final period as Hunter Floris earned his first career BC Hockey League goal with a seeing eye shot from the left point. Floris turned and fired from the left wall and has his shot go through a maze of bodies in front and past the glove side of Lane to cut the deficit to just one and see the Vees lead shrink to 2-1.
Each team had chances to either extend the lead or tie the game, including Tristan Amonte hitting a post and a cross bar in the 3rd period, before Trail emptied their net in an effort to even the score and the Vees found the insurance marker with just eight seconds remaining.
Malmquist raced down a loose puck inside the Trail zone and beat an icing call as he got to the puck below the goal line and played a pass to the right point where Arnott fed the puck to the right face-off circle as Jacob Quillan scored into the empty goal for his 10th marker of the season and settled the score at 3-1 in favour of the Vees.
Kaeden Lane was once again solid in the Vees crease, turning aside 23 of the 24 shots he faced for his 8th win in a row and his 13th victory of the season while Cayden Hamming stopped 33 of the 35 shots thrown his way in his 5th loss of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 3-1 Vees
SHOTS ON GOAL: 35-24 Vees
VEES PP: 0/2
VEES PK: 2/2
1) Devlin O’Brien (1-1-2)
2) Cayden Hamming (33 saves on 35 shots)
3) Kaeden Lane (23 saves on 24 shots)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Hunter Floris (1-0-1)
The Vees (15-1-0-1) will play for their seventh straight win as they face-off against the Cranbrook Bucks (2-12-0-1) on Monday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM with the game broadcasted live on EZ Rock AM 800 as well as on HockeyTV.com beginning with the pre-game show at 6:40 PM with the Voice of the Vees, Trevor Miller.