by Fraser Rodgers
January 25, 2014, VERNON, BC (ISN) – After scoring just nine goals in their previous five games, the Penticton Vees exploded for six Friday, as they thumped the Vernon Vipers 6-1 at Kal-Tire Place, snapping their three-game losing streak.
With the win, the Vees remain four points up on second place West Kelowna, who won 5-4 in double-overtime in Victoria.
Erik Benoit broke a scoreless tie fifteen minutes into the first period, as he cashed-in on a loose puck in the Vernon crease. On the Vees first power-play, Benoit pounced on a rebound in the blue paint and slid the puck through Austin Smith’s legs at 14:45.
It may have taken fifteen minutes to break a scoreless tie but it only took eight seconds for the Vees to double their lead, as Cody DePourcq scored right off the ensuing face-off. Ben Dalpe knocked down a clearing attempt and Jack Ramsey fired a pass from the right-wing to DePourcq in the slot, who then fired a wrist-shot underneath Smith’s arm at 14:53.
Jarod Hilderman notched his first career BCHL goal early in the second period, pushing the Vees lead to three. Hilderman side-stepped a check along the boards and had his centering pass bank-in off the goalie at the near-post at 3:27
Logan Mick cut into the Vees lead six minutes later, when he crashed the net-literally. Demico Hannoun walked out from the corner and had his bid ring of the post but the puck laid free for Mick, who put it and himself in the Vees net at 9:36.
The Vees pushed back four minutes later, as it was first for another Vee. Newcomer Shane McColgan buried a one-timer from the slot, after Benoit found him out front n from behind the net. McColgan blasted a shot over the shoulder of Smith for his first at 13:18.
DePourcq stomped out any Vernon comeback aspirations late in frame when he bagged his second of the night, the Vees fifth goal on another power-play. DePourcq scored his sixteenth after putting the finishing touches on a nice passing play down low. Ben Dalpe threaded the needle as he threw a cross-crease pass to DePourcq at the back-post at 18:17.
Josh Blanchard marked his return to the line-up by scoring the Vees sixth and final goal in the third period. Nic Pierog was stopped from the left-circle but Blanchard grabbed the rebound and out waited the goaltender, tucking the puck inside the far-post at 12:10; his third and first since October 4th.
Final Score: 6-1 Vees
Shots: 32-23 Vipers
Power-Plays: Vees 2-3 Viper 0-3
Three Stars: 1) Cody DePourcq 2) Erik Benoit 3) Ben Dalpe
The Vees finished 2-3 on the power-play after going 1-19 in their previous five games. The line of Erik Benoit, Shane McColgan and Steen Cooper combined for two goals and five points. Olivier Mantha stopped 31 of 32 shots and has stopped 61 of the last 64 shots he’s faced. Five Vees finished with two points and 11 picked up at least a single point.
The Vees are back in action tomorrow, when they host the Trail Smoke Eaters at the SOEC; puck drop is 6pm. The Vees have won each of the first four meetings with the Smoke Eaters but the last two have been decided by just one goal. Tickets are available at the Valley First box office at the SOEC, or online at www.valleyfirsttix.com