Fraser Rodgers, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations
December 14, 2013, DUNCAN, BC (ISN) – Steen Cooper didn’t disappoint in his much anticipated return to Duncan, as the former Capital scored once and finished with two points, in the Penticton Vees (23-7-1-3) 5-1 win over the Cowichan Valley Capitals (13-22-0-1) Saturday.
The win is the Vees seventh in a row and moves them five points clear of second place Vernon in the Interior Division, who lost 4-2 in Salmon Arm Saturday.
Ben Dalpe, who was riding an eight-game point streak heading into Saturday’s game, opened the scoring on the power-play in the first period. Capitals netminder Robin Gusse stopped the point-shot, but the rebound lay free in the crease and Dalpe was there to clean-up the garbage for his 13th at 9:33.
Max Coatta doubled the Vees lead a mere 67 seconds later, when he too cleaned-up a rebound at the side of the Capitals net. Cowichan’s Rylan Bechtel blew a tire in his left-circle creating a turnover. Jack Ramsey pounced on the giveaway but had his shot stopped by Gusse. However, the rebound squirted behind the Capitals goaltender and right to Coatta, who tucked-in his 14th and second in as many games.
Capitals Myles Powell cut into the Vees lead four and a half minutes into the second period. Powell took a cross-zone pass and drove to the bottom of the right-circle. Just before he was going to go around the goal, he threw the puck back out front, which banked in off of Hunter Miska’s stick.
Cooper announced his return to his hometown 10 minutes later when he buried on a Vees three-on-two rush. Brad McClure applied the brakes as he moved down the left-wing, and then spotted the trailer Cooper in the slot. Cooper went five-hole on Gusse for his sixth of the season at 14:20.
McClure was at it again four minutes later, and it was the Vees power-play flexing its muscle once more. Late in the second and with a Capital in the penalty-box, McClure to a pass in the left-circle and zipped a wrist-shot over the glove of Gusse at 18:32; McClure’s 27th sending the water bottle flying.
Cam Amantea marked his return to the line-up with the only goal of the third period. Chris Rygus let go a wrist-shot from the blue-line that was tipped out front by Amantea and through Gusse at 11:37; Amantea’s ninth of the season.
Final Score: 5-1 Vees
Shots: 32-24 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 2-3 Capitals 0-4
Three Stars: 1) Brad McClure 2) Steen Cooper 3) Ben Dalpe
Record: 23-7-1-3 / Road: 10-5-1-1
The Vees win, coupled with the Powell River Kings loss in Langley Saturday, moves Penticton into top spot in the BCHL with 50 points; the first team to the 50 point plateau. Ben Dalpe now has six goals and 14 points in his nine game point streak; two goals and five points in his last two games. The Vees pushed their power-play percentage to over 26 percent in the win; a BCHL best. Brad McClure finished with a game-high three points and is just two goals and two points back of Salmon Arm’s Landon Smith for top spot in the BCHL scoring race. The Vees improve their record to 8-1-0-1 against the Island Division in the win; 4-0-0-1 on the road.
The Vees wrap-up their three-game weekend road trip with a matinee in Victoria on Sunday against the Grizzlies; puck drop is 2pm. The Grizzlies won 3-2 in overtime on Saturday in Alberni Valley, and in the process overtook Powell River for first place in the Island Division. Fans can listen to the game on EZ Rock AM 800, starting with the pre-game show at 1:40pm, or they can watch online at www.fasthockey.com