PENTICTON, BC –A second period surge was the difference for the Penticton Vees in their 3-0 win over the visiting Surrey Eagles, Wednesday at the SOEC in front of near capacity crowd.
Ty Barnstable and Joe Leahy scored five and a half minutes apart in the back-half of the second period to break a scoreless deadlock, and Grant Cruikshank added an insurance marker in the third period, as the Vees won their third straight game.
Mat Robson wasn’t overly busy, kicking-19 shots, for his second shutout of the season and picked up his 11th win in the process.
The Vees power-play also snapped a three-game goalless skid, with a second period goal, and the penalty-kill kept the league’s best power-play off the scoresheet.
After nearly 31-minutes of scoreless hockey, Barnstable broke the tie, scoring from in tight on the goal-line on a Vees’ man-advantage. Barnstable walked out of the corner and then roofed it short-side on Surrey goaltender Michael Botiz at 10:47; his second goal of the season. Barnstable’s goal ending a 0 for 13 run on the power-play dating back to October 14th. Barnstable’s line-mate got in on the scoring a short while later.
Turner Ripplinger showed great poise on the Vees’ second goal, just over five-minutes later. Off the rush, Ripplinger pulled up in the left-circle, opening a passing lane to a pinching Joe Leahy at the far-post at 16:18; Leahy also picking up his second of the season.
Penticton led by two after 40-minutes but they could have had a bigger lead if it wasn’t for a great pad save by Botiz on Brar. The Vees’ forward streaked down the right-wing and made a move to the net, but the Surrey goalie darted out his pad to keep the chance out.
The two goals seemed to be more than enough in a tight-checking, fast-paced game. The Vees only surrendered 12 shots through two periods, holding the Eagles to single-shot totals in all three periods.
Cruikshank provided the insurance marker late in the third on a partial breakaway down the right-wing. Owen Sillinger made a great rink-wide pass to Cruikshank, who quickly spun back to his forehand at the blue-line. Cruikshank pulled away from the defenceman and snapped a shot through the goalies wickets at 17:04.
Before Cruikshank’s goal, Sillinger had a chance of his own to score, short-handed, but was betrayed by the post. The 19-year-old cut in down the left-wing before moving across the front of the goal, only to have his backhand attempt ring off the post over a sprawled goalie in the crease.
Final Score: 3-0 Vees
Shots: 29-19 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 1-4 Surrey 0-4
Three Stars: 1) Joe Leahy 2) Ty Barnstable 3) Mat Robson
The shutout was the Vees second this year, as they blanked Prince George 4-0 back on September 10th. Penticton improves to 5-1-0-0 at home and 6-0-0-0 against the Mainland Division with the win Wednesday.
The Vees (14-2-0-0) hit the road Friday, as they travel up the Okanagan to face the Vernon Vipers (8-6-0-2) at Kal-Tire Place. Fans can listen to the game on EZ Rock AM 800, or they can watch online at www.hockeytv.com