PORT ALBERNI, BC –The Penticton Vees ran out of time Saturday. A third period comeback attempt came up short, in their 2-1 loss to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs at Weyerhaeuser Arena, in Port Alberni.
The loss was the first for the Vees in their young season and they’ve now split their first two games of their three-game Island Division road trip, with the finale set for Sunday afternoon in Cowichan Valley.
Down 2-0 late in the third, Captain Nic Jones scored his first of the season on power-play with just over three-minutes left, but the push for the tying-goal came up short in the end, as time ran out on the Vees.
It was a sluggish start in contrast to Friday’s win in Powell River, as the Vees Mat Robson was tested early and he was up for the challenge. The goaltender was terrific in the early going, stopping a flurry of chances in the opening five-minutes, and was a major reason why the game was scoreless after 20-minutes.
The Vees’ best chance in the first came off the stick of Owen Sillinger but his attempt from between the face-off circles was punched out by Carson Schamerhorn’s blocker.
The Bulldogs broke through early in the second, as Kraus snapped the deadlock five-minutes in. The Alberni Valley forward won a race to the puck in the Vees end, cut down the left-wing and snapped a shot over Robson’s blocker at 4:56.
Alberni Valley stretched their lead midway through the middle frame on their first power-play of the night. Jake Witkowski got the puck in the slot and picked the corner over Robson’s shoulder to put the ‘Dogs up two at 11:34.
The Bulldogs two-goal lead held up until the final four-minutes of the third period. After Griffin Mendel drew a tripping penalty, the Vees power-play went to work and finally found some success.
Jones wheeled the puck to the top of the circles from the wall, before ripping a slap-shot that found its way over the goalie’s glove-side at 16:19.
Jones’ goal set up a dramatic final three and a half minute push, but despite pulling the goalie for the extra skater, the Vees failed to manufacture an equalizer.
FINAL SCORE: 2-1 Bulldogs
Shots: 31-26 Bulldogs
Power-Plays: Vees 1-2 Bulldogs 1-2
Three Stars: 1) Carson Schamerhorn 2) Cayden Kraus 3) Jake Witkowski
Ty Amonte’s brilliant run to start the season ended in the loss. He was held off the scoresheet after recording six points in his first two games. Saturday was also the Vees’ first loss to Alberni Valley since February of 2015, and the first time this season they trailed at any point.
The Vees wrap-up their three-game road trip tomorrow against the Cowichan Valley Capitals at the Island Savings Centre in Duncan; puck drop is 2 pm. The Caps are coming off a 2-1 win in Victoria against the first place Grizzlies Saturday.