September 27, 2013, PENTICTON, BC –The Penticton Vees reunited a familiar trio and it paid off in the third period, as the Vees scored three unanswered goals to pull away from the Merritt Centennials 4-1, in front of over thirty-six hundred fans at the SOEC.
Travis Blanleil, Cam Amantea and Cody DePourcq, known as the “Trench Line,” combined for two goals and four points; all in the third period.
Ben Dalpe got the capacity crowd out of their seats late in the first period on a Vees power-play. After being stymied by Merritt’s goaltender Devin Kero on the Vees first man-advantage, Dalpe took matters into his own hands on their second try, as he wired a Brad McClure centering feed past Kero’s blocker at 15:19; Dalpe’s third of the season and second power-play goal.
The Vees took a 1-0 lead into the intermission, despite outshooting the Cents’ 12-2; Kero doings cartwheels in the Merritt crease.
In the second the tables were turned, as the Cents’ came out flying after a lack-luster first period and ended up outshooting the Vees 14-5 the middle frame. Their pressure paid off in the final minutes, when Tyler Martin ripped a snap-shot from the slot over Hunter Miska’s glove at 16:09; Martin sending the two teams to the break deadlocked at one.
Overall, Friday was a tight-checking affair, as either team didn’t have much room to operate within the offensive zone.
However, Ryan Gropp did find some wiggle room and put the Vees back out ahead near the midway mark of the third. Ben Dalpe made a quick move to get away from his check behind the goal and tried to jam the puck past Devin Kero at the near-post. Dalpe was stopped but Gropp out-muscled his check and strong-armed the rebound over the line for his third at 9:04; his first in four games.
Then the “Trench Line” took over, as Travis Blanleil gave the Vees some breathing room five-minutes later. Blanleil raced down a bouncing puck in the Merritt zone and whacked it past a surprised Kero at 14:16; his first of the year putting the Vees ahead by two. Four minutes later Blanleil was at it again, setting up his line-mate Cam Amantea to put the game out of reach. Blanleil made a nice play to create an odd-man rush in the neutral zone. He moved into the Merritt end on the right-wing and willed a centering pass to Amantea. The pass was slowed by a Merritt stick but it still managed to find Amantea in front, who shoveled it into the back of the net at 18:08; his second in three games.
Final Score: 4-1 Vees
Shots: 29-21 Vees
Power-Play: Vees 1/3 Merritt 0/1
Three Stars: 1) Brad McClure 2) Ben Dalpe 3) Dane Birks (Merritt)
The Vees are now a perfect 5-0 in home openers at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Their home record* improves to 2-0-0, and this is their first win at home against Merritt since December 7th, 2012; that a 7-1 triumph. Eight Vees picked up points in the win and Travis Blanleil, Ben Dalpe and Brad McClure each had two point games. Hunter Miska made 20 saves for his third win in four starts and lowers his goals-against average to a stingy 1.50
*One win was at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack
The Vees continue their home stand tomorrow afternoon, when they host the Cowichan Valley Capitals at the SOEC; puck-drop is slated for 6pm. The Capitals came up a goal short in Trail Friday, losing 3-2 to the Smoke Eaters but still sit second in the Island Division. Tickets are just $5 and are available at the Valley First Box Office at the SOEC or online, at www.valleyfirsttix.com The Vees will have a special ceremonial puck-drop prior to the game to honour the late Kevin “Crusher” Conway; a World Champion with the 1955 Vees.