VERNON, BC-The Penticton Vees rang in 2016 in style Friday night, as the trounced the Vernon Vipers 6-0 on New Year’s Day at Kal-Tire Place in Vernon.
Penticton didn’t show any signs of a hangover, as Scott Conway paced the attack with his first hat-trick, in a five-point night. Dante Fabbro added a pair of power-play markers and Tyson Jost also rippled the mesh for the visitors.
Zach Driscoll picked up his third shutout of the season, his second against Vernon, steering aside all 26-shots fired his way.
Fabbro and Jost made an immediate impact in their return to the Vees line-up. Both finished with three points respectively and collaborated on the game’s first goal. Fresh off winning a gold medal at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Ontario last month, the two hooked up on the Vees opening power-play. Eight seconds into the game Vernon was dinged for a penalty and the Vees made quick work of their first opportunity on the man-advantage. Fabbro hammered a one-timer from the slot for his first of two on the night at 1:46; Jost picking up an assist on the power-play blast.
Penticton blew the game open in the second, scoring four goals, two on the power-play, to build up a comfortable five-goal lead through two periods.
The Vees’ Captain doubled the visitors lead nine-minutes into the middle frame, after a nice dish from Owen Sillinger. Jost was charging down the right-wing and Sillinger threw a perfect saucer pass on his tape for the tap-in at 8:57; Jost bagging his 25th on the year.
Conway then got in on the scoring, as the Vees power-play flexed its muscles once more. Right off a face-off, Conway spun and fired a dart into the top corner from the left-wing at 11:41 to push the lead to 3-0.
The Vees then got two more inside the final minute of the second period. First, Conway picked up his second of the game on a nice redirect out front with sixty-seconds left. Mendel took the point shot and Conway tipped-in his 33rd of the year over the goalie’s glove.
Thirty-five seconds later Fabbro and the power-play were at it again. The puck came back to Fabbro who, from the middle of the blue-line, fired a wrist-shot that found its way through a crowd and into the back of the net; the rear-guard collecting his ninth of the campaign.
Conway salted away the game in the third, getting his hat-trick goal eleven-minutes into the final frame. After a nice play out front by Sillinger to drop it back, Conway managed to throw a backhand attempt towards the goal that went off a couple of Vipers sticks before trickling in over the goal-line at 11:05; the 20-year-old picking up goal number 34.
Final Score: 6-0 Vees
Shots: 37-26 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 3-5 Vipers 0-3
Three Stars: 1) Scott Conway 2) Dante Fabbro 3) Domenic Masellis
Conway’s five-point night now gives his 16-points in five games against Vernon this season; he’s three points off the BCHL scoring lead. Tyson Jost extended his point streak to 19-games with his three-point effort. Zach Driscoll is now 2-0 against Vernon this season, both shutout performances, and the Vees improved their record to 19-3 against the Interior Division with the victory. Friday marked the return of both Dixon Bowen and Seamus Donohue to the line-up, after they were sidelined since November with upper-body injuries.
Penticton (32-4-1-0) plays their first home game of 2016 tomorrow night, Saturday, January 2nd, when they host the second-place Salmon Arm Silverbacks (22-9-2-2) at the SOEC; puck drop is 6 pm. The Vees last beat the ‘Backs 4-3 in double-overtime on December 12th, which was also at the SOEC.