January 26, 2013, Penticton, BC (ISN) – The Penticton Vees returned to the SOEC in style Friday, picking up a 3-1 win over the visiting Vernon Vipers, in front of their largest crowd this season. Three different Vees found the score-sheet, and the struggling power-play came to life with a pair of goals in the win.
The victory is the Vees fifth in a row and sixth in their last seven games, as they increased their lead to 11 points atop of the Interior Division over idle Merritt and West Kelowna. Friday’s win was the first game at the SOEC for the Vees since January 5th; playing their last five games on the road.
For the third straight game Cody DePourcq opened the scoring for the Vees and late in the first period. DePourcq broke down the left-wing and on a two-on-one rush, snapped his 8th past the blocker of Austin Smith on the short-side at 17:34. DePourcq exacting some revenge, as minutes earlier he missed high and wide on an identical odd-man rush.
The Vees carried the lead early into the second period, until a former Viper doubled the Vees lead on the power-play. Soleway tracked down a loose puck in the slot and snapped a shot through the legs of Smith for his 11th at 5:25; the Vipers dogged by failed clearing attempts leading up to the goal.
The reigning BCHL Player of the Week brought the Vipers within one just over three minutes later. After the Vees just failed to go up by three, Liam Board took the puck the other way and feathered a pass over to newcomer Mason Blacklock. The former Surrey Eagle banged-in a back-door pass over the outstretched arm of Chad Katunar at 8:49.
Cody DePourcq seconds before the goal redirected a Sean Flanagan shot inches wide of the post, and the Vipers caught the Vees with four players up ice and made no mistake.
Like in the second, the Vees went up by two again in the third period on an early power-play. At the tail-end of the Vees fourth man-advantage, Wade Murphy made a nice toe-drag deke around a defender in the circle and wired a shot over the shoulder of Smith at 4:21; Murphy’s 18th and second in as many games.
The goal came at a price, as Ryan Gropp was hurt on the play that led to the Viper penalty. Gropp was tripped up and fell hard and awkwardly into the left-corner boards behind the Vipers net; the 16 year-old did not return.
The Vees played sound defensive hockey the rest of the way, holding the Vipers to just three shots in the period and killed-off a second Vipers power-play late in the frame.
FINAL SCORE: 3-1 Vees
Shots: 31-27 Vees
Power-Play: Vees 2-4 Vipers 0-2
Three Stars: 1) Jedd Soleway 2) John Siemer 3) Wade Murphy
Chad Katunar was sharp, as he picked up his 21st win, stopping 26 of 27 Vipers shots. Jedd Soleway scored his first goal since January 11th in Surre; a run of four games. With his two points, Wade Murphy now has four goals and eight points against the Vipers this season. Sam Mellor also did not finish the game as he only played two periods, before being sidelined with an illness.
The Vees look for their sixth straight win tomorrow, when the host another divisional rival in the West Kelowna Warriors; puck drop is 5pm. The game is the seventh and final regular season meeting between the two teams. Fans are encouraged to bring old clothes and unwanted household items for donation, as part of the Canadian Diabetes Association “Ugly Sweater” Night. Tickets are available at the Valley First box office at the SOEC, or online at www.valleyfirsttix.com