(ISN) – TRAIL, BC-The Penticton Vees may have been understaffed but they weren’t outgunned, as they doubled up the Trail Smoke Eaters 6-3 Saturday at Cominco Arena.
The Vees (33-7-2-1), who had just sixteen skaters dressed, improved their record to 7-1-0-0 after a loss and won their fourth game in as many tries against Trail (14-25-0-2) this year.
Connor Chartier paced the attack with two goals and five points and was named the game’s first star. Lewis Zerter-Gossage picked up a goal and three points and Cody DePourcq, Steen Cooper and Cam Amantea also scored in the win.
Dallas Calvin, Charlie Zuccarini and Bryan Basilico scored for Trail, who dropped both games at home this weekend after their 5-4 loss to Nanaimo Friday.
DePourcq opened the scoring less than three-minutes into the first after a nice setup from Chartier. DePourcq took a pass from behind the net and got the puck up to his stick from his skates, before forcing a shot through Brett Clark at 2:48; DePourcq’s first goal in nine games.
Trail tied at 6:22 when Dallas Calvin snapped a shot past Hunter Miska right off a face-off. The puck was centre for Calvin from the corner and he went short-side from the bottom of the right-circle.
Zuccarini put Trail ahead in the open moments of the second period. On a power-play that carried over from the first, Zuccarini found a rebound in front of the Vees net and went five-hole on Miska forty-seven seconds into the middle frame.
Steen Cooper tied the game four-minutes later after he and Dakota Conroy teamed up a on a nice passing play. On a two-on-one rush, Conroy spotted Cooper on the streaking down the left-wing and he smacked the puck into the empty-net at 4:50.
Trail needed just 63 seconds to retake the lead on an odd-man rush of their own. Spencer Martin found Bryan Basilico charging down the middle and he tipped the centering feed underneath Miska at 5:53.
Chartier got in on the scoring midway through the second as he brought the Vees back level, again. Chartier was sprung on a partial breakaway and managed, with one hand on the stick, to muscle the puck through Clark’s legs at 12:47.
Zerter-Gossage put the Vees ahead late in the second and right off a face-off. Chartier had his shot blocked but Zerter-Gossage picked up the rebound and put a backhand deke past Clark at 16:42.
Chartier put the Vees up for good, as he added an insurance marker midway through the third. Chartier, standing on top of the crease, drilled a feed from behind the net through the Trail goaltender at 10:42; his second of the game and fifth on the season.
Cam Amantea iced the game with an empty-net goal with just over a minute left in regulation. Chartier forced the puck to Amantea who came out in front on the wrap around to tuck in his fifth at 18:17.
Final Score: 6-3 Vees
Shots: 46-27 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 0-3 Smokies 1-3
Three Stars: 1) Connor Chartier 2) Lewis Zerter-Gossage 3) Brett Clark
The Vees improved their record against the Interior Division to 18-6-1-0 with the win. They’re now 28-2-1-0 when leading through forty-minutes. Connor Chartier picked up five points Saturday after only picking up one goal in his previous eight games. The Vees remain 10 points up on Vernon for top spot in the Interior Division, as the Vipers won 5-3 Saturday against Coquitlam.
The Vees finish up a three-game Interior road swing on Tuesday, January 20th, in West Kelowna; face-off is 7pm. The Vees know for certain they’ll be without four players, as Gabe Bast, Jarod Hilderman and Lewis Zerter-Gossage will be participating in the CJHL Prospects Game in Ontario. Miles Gendron has to sit one more game, as he finishes serving his two-game suspension.