Fraser Rodgers, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations
December 15, 2013, VICTORIA, BC (ISN) –A game between the two top teams in the BCHL didn’t disappoint, as the Penticton Vees (24-7-1-3) won their eighth in row, 3-2 over the Victoria Grizzlies (22-9-3-2) at Bear Mountain Arena on Sunday afternoon.
With the win, the Vees swept their weekend schedule and are now seven points up on second place Vernon in the Interior Division.
Brad McClure broke the ice three-minutes into the first, when he hammered a clapper over Nic Renyard’s glove. As a Vees power-play expired, McClure took a pass at the top of the left-circle and rifled his 28th into the top-corner at 3:19.
The Vees then had a run of three straight power-plays, including a five-minute man-advantage, after a major penalty was called on Victoria’s Kevin Massey, when he cross-checked Cam Amantea in the face. Despite the nine-minutes in power-plays, the Vees couldn’t build on their lead.
Victoria drew even on a power-play of their own, as they were given a two-man advantage later in the frame. With two Vees in the penalty-box, Brandon Egli set up Gerry Fitzgerald in the left-circle for a one-timer, which he blew by Olivier Mantha at 15:17.
The Grizzlies grabbed their first and only lead of the game eight-minutes into second period. Gerry Fitzgerald sent the puck back to Chris Albertini at the blue-line, and his blast found its way through traffic and past Mantha’s glove at 8:17.
Moments after the goal, a big hit at center ice seemed to turn the tide in the Vees favour. Patrick Sexton leveled Jesse Schwartz at the Grizzlies bench, with a clean open-ice hit. Albertini went after Sexton and was saddled with an unsportsmanlike penalty; Schwartz did not return.
Then the Grizzlies ran into more penalty trouble late in the period and the Vees took advantage. Steen Cooper, who had scored in his previous two games, jammed the puck past the goal-line at 15:41. Anthony Conti pushed the puck across to Cooper who got it by a sprawled Renyard for his seventh; the game all tied up at two’s. Cooper has now produced 10 points in his seven games with the Vees.
The score remained unchanged up until the midway mark of the third period, when the Vees power-play struck again. The Vees worked the puck around the point until it found its way back to Brett Beauvais, who then picked the top-corner with his snap-shot from the slot; Beauvais bagging his ninth at 9:23.
The Vees suffocated Victoria over much of the remainder of the third period, but handed the Grizzlies a too many men on the ice power-play with three and a half minutes left. The Vees brushed off any comeback attempt with an excellent penalty-kill sequence, and left the Island with six well deserved points through three games.
Final Score: 3-2 Vees
Shots: 25-23 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 2-7 Grizzlies 1-6
Three Stars: 1) Brad McClure 2) Brett Beauvais 3) Steen Cooper
Record: 24-7-1-3 / Road: 11-5-1-1
The Vees improved their record to 9-1-0-1 against the Island Division; 5-0-0-1 on the road. Ben Dalpe had his season-high nine-game point streak come to an end in the win. Brett Beauvais, Steen Cooper and Brad McClure each were credited with three-point games; back-to-back three point games for McClure. McClure is tied on points (55) with Salmon Arm’s Landon Smith for top spot in the BCHL scoring race. Olivier Mantha picked up his twelfth win of the season, as he turned aside 21 shots for his fourth win in a row.
The Vees have a well-earned break ahead, as they’re not back in action until next Friday, December 20th, when the host the West Kelowna Warriors at the SOEC; face-off is 7pm. It’s the Vees final home game of 2013 and it’s the first half of a home-and-home against the Tribe. Fans can purchase their tickets at the Valley First Box Office (at the SOEC), or online at www.valleyfirsttix.com