WEST KELOWNA, BC –Tuesday it was a great start that propelled the Penticton Vees to a win, Wednesday it was a late push that salvaged a 2-2 tie. Grant Cruikshank scored two third periods goals, as the Vees and West Kelowna Warriors skated to a stalemate at Royal LePage Place.
The tie ended the Vees perfect start to the BCHL pre-season but their still undefeated through their first four exhibition games.
Cruikshank scored early and then late in the final frame, as the Vees erased a two-goal deficit through two periods. The future Wisconsin Badger cut the lead in half two-minutes in, on a great individual effort down the middle. After side-stepping the defender, Cruikshank finished the rush by sliding the puck through the goalie’s wickets. Then, during a five-on-three power-play, Cruikshank hammered a one-timer from between the face-off circles that sizzled by the goalie’s glove at 18:07; that’s four goals in three games for the rookie forward.
It took a good chunk of time for the Vees to find their footing, as they only mustered nine shots on net through the first two periods. A pair of miscues by the Vees around their goal resulted in the Warriors taking a two-goal lead into the second intermission.
First, West Kelowna broke the scoreless tie three-minutes into the middle stanza on a rebound out front. Nolan Hildebrand made the first save but no one picked up the trailer and Jon Russell buried to put the home team ahead. Then just past the halfway mark, Hildebrand got crossed up behind his net attempting to play the puck, allowing Quin Foreman to curl around the goal and tuck in on the far-side at 10:24.
In a scoreless first period, the Vees’ best chance came off the stick of Chris Klack. On an odd-man rush, Klack kept the puck but couldn’t stuff it underneath the goalie at the near-post.
Final Score: 2-2
Shots: 20-14 West Kelowna
Power-Plays: Vees 1-7 West Kelowna 0-3
Penticton has a day off Thursday before their pre-season tilt with the Trail Smoke Eaters at the SOEC on September 2nd; puck drop is 7pm. Fans can get their $5 tickets at the Valley First box office (at the SOEC).