by Fraser Rodgers
January 15, 2014, PENTICTON, BC (ISN) – It was a night of firsts for two West Kelowna Warriors, in their 2-1 win over the Penticton Vees at the SOEC on Wednesday night. Taki Pantziris scored his first goal as a Warrior and Adam Plant scored his first of the season, in the Tribe’s third straight win over Penticton.
The loss snaps the Vees three-game winning streak and is their first defeat of 2014. The Warriors leap-frog Vernon for second in the Interior and shave down the Vees lead to seven atop of the division.
After a fairly tight-checking first ten minutes, the Warriors had a pair chances to break the ice in the first period. David Pope was stopped on a partial breakaway by Hunter Miska, who swung his blocker out to get a piece of a wrist-shot from the slot. Later Pantziris looked to have broken the scoreless tie when he let go a drive from the blue-line, but the goal was immediately waved-off, as the Warriors were slapped with a bench minor, after having too many men on the ice.
Pantziris wasn’t denied on his second opportunity, as he forced a shot from the slot through the legs of Miska late in the frame to put the visitors up a goal. Liam Blackburn spotted the trailing Pantziris and dropped the puck between the circles for Pantziris at 16:47.
It was quite the swing, as the Vees seconds earlier had a chance to open the scoring down at the Warriors end. The puck found its way to the top of the slot but the defenseman’s shot hit two fallen Vees in front of the net. The Tribe took the puck up ice and Pantziris did the rest.
The Vees had their moments in the second, as their best chances were in-close but they couldn’t get the puck past Andy Desautels. Cody DePourcq had a great chance to tie it, when he fired a shot from the goal-line but it went right through the crease and out the other side.
Soon after, it was the Warriors manufacturing a late goal but this time with the power-play. After a frantic scramble in the Vees crease, Adam Plant pitch-forked the puck underneath a sprawled Paul Stoykewych and just across the goal-line at 15:01. Miska made two desperations saves off of Tyson Dallman and Jason Cotton before the puck scooted over to Plant, who jammed it past Stoykewych. The power-play marker was Plant’s first since March of last season.
Brad McClure had a chance to cut into the deficit in the third, when he broke in on a breakaway. McClure moved side-stepped the defenseman and cut in from the right-wing, but his between the legs attempt was kicked-out by Desautels’ left pad.
McClure got a measure of revenge late in the period, when he managed to get a piece of a Stoykewych point-shot. Stoykewych hammered the puck from the point and McClure just got enough of the shot to deflect it over Desautels’ shoulder at 13:57; his team-leading 33rd.
The Vees applied pressure late with the extra-skater, including a six-on-four and then a six-on-three opportunity in the dying moments, but nothing materialized.
Final Score: 2-1 Warriors
Shots: 25-24 Warriors
Power-Plays: Vees 0-6 Warriors 1-2
Three Stars: 1) Andy Desautels 2) Taki Pantziris 3) Brad McClure
Record: 27-10-2-3 / Home: 14-4-0-2
After winning their first three meetings against the Warriors, the Vees have now dropped the last three encounters; two at the SOEC; the two wrap-up their seven-game season series on February 18th in West Kelowna. The Vees record drops to 14-6-1-1 against their division and are 6-2-0-1 at home against the Interior after tonight.
The Vees are back on the ice Friday, when they make another trip to the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena in Merritt, for a showdown with the Centennials; puck drop is 7:30. The Vees are 3-0-1-1 against the Cents’ this season and 1-0-1-0 in Merritt.
Penticton is back at home on Saturday, January 18th, when they host the Salmon Arm Silverbacks; face-off is 6pm. It’s the Vees annual School Spirit Challenge Night, as adult and senior tickets are just $10 and student and child tickets are just $2. Fans can purchase their tickets at the Valley First Box Office (at the SOEC).