October 11, 2013, PENTICTON, BC (ISN) – Olivier Mantha is getting acquainted nicely new his new home. The Vees goaltender made twenty-three saves, including ten in the third period, helping back-stop the Vees to a 2-0 win over the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings Friday.
The victory is Mantha’s second in as many starts at the SOEC and his second shutout in as many starts at home. Mantha blanked the Cowichan Valley Capitals 5-0 in his only other home game back on September 29th; he’s stopped all 41 shots faced at the SOEC this season.
The Vees Captain didn’t waste any time giving Mantha a lead to work with, as Brad McClure opened the scoring just sixty-six seconds into the game. Ben Dalpe made a nice play to spring Riley Alferd down the right-wing, who then exchanged passes with McClure, before the Captain put a back-hand up and over Spruce Kings goaltender Jesse Jenks. Alferd centered for McClure, who got in behind the Spruce Kings defense and went fore-hand, back-hand for his sixth.
Prince George had a tough go trying to generate offense against a stingy Vees team, as the home-side held the visitors to just five shots in the opening period. Both teams played it tight, as Penticton and Prince George combined for just eleven first period shots.
The chess match continued into the second period, as the two teams held each other in-check. The Vees did run into penalty trouble late in the frame, when they were still just up one goal. However their penalty-kill, which was excellent all game, came up with a big play.
Inside the final five-minutes of the frame, during a second consecutive Prince George power-play, Travis Blanleil created a turnover at the blue-line. Cody DePourcq broke down the left-wing, and from the top of the circle, ripped a wrist-shot past Jenks at 14:22. DePourcq’s fourth of the season and for the Vees their second short-handed goal this season. DePourcq also picking up his third goal in his last four games.
In the third, down by two, the Spruce Kings started to press the Vees, as they were trying to cut into the deficit. Despite the presser, Olivier Mantha was up to the task, keeping the PG attack at bay, even though he had to contend with plenty of traffic in his crease. The Spruce Kings best chance came off the stick of Christian Weidauer when he hammered a point-shot of the cross during a late power-play.
Final Score: 2-0 Vees
Shots: 23-22 Prince George
Power-Play: Vees 0/4 Prince George 0/5 (short-handed goal against)
Three Stars: 1) Olivier Mantha 2) Brad McClure 3) Cody DePourcq
The Vees officially improve their home record to 5-0; 4-0 at the SOEC this season. The two teams split the two-game season series after Prince George took the opener 4-3 back on September 20th. With the win, the Vees improve their record to 8-3-0-0 and remain three points back of first in the Interior Division but do have a game in hand. Through four games at the SOEC, the Vees have surrendered just three goals.
The Vees continue their five-game home stand tomorrow night, when they host the Island Division leading Powell River Kings, in a showdown of two top teams in the BCHL; puck drop is 6pm. Powell River won their seventh in a row Friday with a 6-4 win over Surrey. Tickets for the game are available at the Valley First Box Office at the SOEC, or online at www.valleyfirsttix.com