The Valley First Vees trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes, but tied the game in the second period on a beautiful goal scored by an outstretched Zac Dalpe, who was slid through the goalmouth on his chest while tucking the puck around the Merritt goaltender and into the net. Dalpe?s 24th was set up by Brett Hextall and Cory Schneider and stood as the lone Penticton goal, despite the 36 shots directed at Cents? netminder Graeme Gordon.
Merritt went ahead 2-1 early in the third, before icing the game with an empty netter in the dying seconds.
The Valley First Vees? powerplay had just a single opportunity to strike and came up empty handed, while the penalty kill was perfect in four shorthanded situations.
Despite the loss, the (37-13-2-1)
Saturday night?s re-match against Merritt gets underway at at the Memorial Arena.
FRIDAY NIGHT at MERRITT
FINAL SCORE: MERRITT – 3,
Merritt 1 0 2 = 3
Merritt: Jordan Grant – 1 (7), Brian Kang – 1 (12/GWG), Tyler Barr – 1 (6/ENG)
Merritt: Tyler Barr – 2, Michael Naito – 1