Nanaimo, BC: The Penticton Vees (32-13-1-2) had consistency issues Sunday afternoon against the Nanaimo Clippers (23-24-0-0), dropping a 4-2 game.
Nanaimo opened the scoring in the final minutes of the first as Jonathan Stein skated down the right wing into the Vees zone and fired a shot over Derek Krall’s glove. The Vees had just two shots on goal at the time of the goal.
Massimo Rizzo had an excellent opportunity to tie the game late in the first, getting a clear cut breakaway from centre ice, but Jordan Naylor got the right pad down to deny the Vees captain with just over a minute left in the period.
Jonathan Smart was called for holding as the first period ended, giving the Clippers a power play to start the second. Sammy Steele made his old team pay as he skated into the right circle and fired a shot over Krall’s glove to extend the Clippers lead 1:48 into the second period.
Lukas Sillinger scored his third goal in the past two games a few minutes later, jumping on the rebound of a David Silye goal line drive to cut into Nanaimo’s lead.
The score didn’t stay 2-1 for long as the Clippers got an ugly one. Matthew Mosher pulled the puck out from behind the net and tried a backhander on Krall, but the Vees goalie made the easy save. The rebound popped up in the air, and Mosher knocked it out of mid air, off Krall’s pad and into the net from below the goal line.
The Vees also didn’t get a lot of puck luck in the second period, hitting two crossbars and one post to find themselves down 3-1 after 40 minutes.
Just 40 seconds into the third, Steele scored his second of the game by taking a cross-crease pass and putting it into the open net to extend the Clippers lead.
Penticton didn’t receive a single power play all night, unable to try and take advantage of Nanaimo’s last-ranked penalty kill.
Sillinger scored his second of the game, a squeaker that slid through Naylor’s five hole with just 50 seconds left, but it was too little too late as the Clippers held on for the 4-2 win.
Despite the loss, the Vees are still five points ahead of the Merritt Centennials for first in the Interior Division with 67 points. Penticton has a big weekend coming up, hosting the Wenatchee Wild Friday night before travelling to face the league-leading Chilliwack Chiefs Saturday.