December 7, 2012, PENTICTON, BC – The Penticton Vees rode the strong goaltending of Chad Katunar, and a big second period, as they cruised to a 7-1 victory over the Merritt Centennials Friday.
The win moves the Vees one point ahead of the idle Chilliwack Chiefs for top spot in the BCHL. It was the third home game the Vees reached seven goals; the first two both coming against the Trail Smoke Eaters.
Four different Vees scored, and 11 different players found the score-sheet. The offensive outburst spearheaded by Louie Nanne, Cody DePourcq and Troy Stecher. Nanne picked up his second hat-trick of the season, Stecher led all scorers with four assists and DePourcq scored a pair of goals; DePourcq bucking a 21 game scoreless slump.
The Vees opened up the scoring near the midway mark of the first period. Sam Mellor picked up his eighth goal of the season at 9:42. Mellor drove the net and snuck a short-side backhand past a surprised Tyler Steel; the only goal from the first 20 minutes.
The Vees led after the first despite being outshot 10-5, and had the lead thanks to the goaltending of Chad Katunar, who was razor-sharp in the opening period.
In the second the Vees broke the game wide open, as they scored four unanswered goals and never looked back. Cody DePourcq doubled the Vees lead just before the five-minute mark. DePourcq wrestled the puck loose from behind the net and snuck a wrap-around past the near-post of Tyler Steel at 4:53; DePourcq’s first goal in nearly 11 weeks.
It didn’t take as long for DePourcq to score again, only four and a half minutes in fact. Tyler Steel kicked-out a Troy Stecher point-shot, but DePourcq was Johnny-on-the-spot and put home the rebound for his third of the season at 9:20.
Another Vee broke a scoring slump of his own late in the middle frame. Brock Balson put a wrist-shot past the short-side of Tyler Steel at 16:38 to put the Vees up by four; Balson’s first goal as a Vee and first since October 13th.
Louie Nanne picked up his first of three in the dying moments of the second. On the Vees second power-play, Nanne raced down an outlet pass and chipped the puck over a poke-checking Tyler Steel at 19:11; the Vees up by five after two periods. Nanne would do all the Vees scoring in the third period.
The speedy winger put the Vees up 6-0 on another power-play goal, this time in the opening minutes of the final frame. Nanne zipped a wrist-shot off the arm of Russell Sanderson and in at 1:46; Sanderson replaced Tyler Steel to start the third.
Kevin Lohan spoiled Chad Katunar’s shutout bid late in the third period on Merritt’s seventh power-play. Lohan’s point-shot tipped off a Vees defender’s stick and past Katunar at 15:16.
Nanne restored the Vees six-goal lead just over a minute later, picking up his third goal and 11th of the season at 16:33. Nanne took the puck away from a Merritt player in the circle, spun-around and fired a shot past a surprised Sanderson.
FINAL SCORE: 7-1 VEES
Shots: 36-21 Centennials
Power-Plays: Vees 2-5 Centennials 1-8
Three Stars: 1) Troy Stecher 2) Chad Katunar 3) Louie Nanne
The win pushes the Vees record to 19-7-0-3, for 41 points, 10 up on second place West Kelowna. Friday’s win also moves the Vees home record to 10-3-0-1, and now are 15-3-0-1 versus their own division.
The Vees are right back at it tomorrow night when they host the Langley Rivermen at 5pm; Langley’s only regular season trip to the SOEC this season. Tickets are available at the Valley First box office at the SOEC, or online at www.valleyfirsttix.com