Friday was a night of firsts but not ones the Penticton Vees will want to cherish. West Kelowna picked up their first home win in nearly two years against the Vees, as the Tribe blanked the visitors 2-0 at Royal LePage Place.
Friday was the Tribe’s first win at home, in the regular season, against Penticton since December 21st, 2013; they had lost their last six before tonight.
Matthew Greenfield, making his first start for the Warriors, turned aside all 41-shots fired his way for his first shutout in the BCHL; the 20-year-old was acquired from the USHL last week.
Jonathan Desbiens scored the game-winner, the “teddy bear toss goal,” late in the third period, and Scott Allan scored an empty-netter, as the Warriors picked up their first win in five tries against the Vees this season.
Zach Driscoll was saddled with the loss, kicking-out 24 of 25 shots, as he lost for the first time in three starts against West Kelowna.
It took nearly 58-minutes for a scoreless deadlocked to be broken. The game-winner came with just 2:05 remaining in regulation, as Desbiens found a rebound in front of the Vees net after a failed two-on-one rush.
Domenic Masellis made a great defensive play to dive across and breakup the centering pass on that odd-man rush, but the puck squirted back at the top of the crease for trailer Desbiens, who buried it into the open net.
Allan sealed the win for the Warriors with his second goal of the season, with sixty-five seconds left, as he fired into an open net from his own blue-line.
The Vees had their chances to crack the goose-egg in regulation. Scott Conway, who had a 31-game point streak going into the game, had a good look from the left-circle in the first period but Greenfield flashed out the glove.
Easton Brodzinski had a couple of opportunities to open the scoring but he was stymied by the goalie and iron. His best chance was early in the third when he grabbed his own blocked shot but his rebound attempt rifled off the outside of the post from the right-circle.
Driscoll was no slouch in the Vees’ crease, as he made quite a few nice stops, including a pair on Warrior power-plays to keep them off the scoreboard for nearly 58-minutes. He made a great right-pad at the post on the Warriors’ Kyle Marino during a West Kelowna power-play in the middle stanza, then, in the third, he got his shoulder to a Garret Forster one-timer from the left-wing on another Warriors’ man-advantage.
Final Score: 2-0 West Kelowna
Shots: 41-26 Vees
Power-Play: Vees 0-5 West Kelowna 0-4
Three Stars: 1) Matthew Greenfield 2) Jonathan Desbiens 3) Zach Driscoll
Conway’s league-best 31-game point streak ended in the shutout loss; the first game since opening night he failed to record at least a single point. Friday was the Vees first shutout loss in 41 regular season games which dates back to last season; their last coming February 8th against Alberni Valley. The last time the Vees lost in West Kelowna, it was also by shutout, as they were blanked 4-0 on December 21st, 2013.
The Vees (30-4-1-0) look for the weekend split Saturday, when they host the Warriors (20-13-0-2) at the SOEC; puck drop is 6 pm. The Vees are 17-0-1-0 at home and a perfect 11-0 at home against the Interior Division.