VERNON, BC –The Penticton Vees might start calling Kal-Tire Place their home away from home. Ty Amonte and Taylor Ward scored five-minutes apart in the second, as the Vees scored a 3-1 win in Vernon, to earn a weekend split with the Vipers.
After going down 1-0 midway through the first, Gran Cruikshank scored late in the opening frame to knot things up at ones before the break, setting the table for a second period surge. Mat Robson earned his 15th win of the season, stopping 25 of 26 shots, bouncing back from Friday’s setback at home.
Saturday’s win was the Vees eighth straight regular season victory in Vernon, which dates back all the way to 2013-14 season.
It was a bit of a bumpy ride early, as Carter Stephenson got the Vipers out into the lead midway through the first on a power-play marker. The Vipers’ rookie defenceman took a cross-ice pass and fired a one-timer into an open net from the left-wing at 9:28. However, the Vees quickly found their footing and responded late.
After some great puck work between Owen Sillinger and Nicholas Jones in the corner, Sillinger fired a pass out front to an open Cruikshank. The Vees’ forward put a shot through the five-hole of Ty Taylor at 18:59 to draw the visitors level; Cruikshank’s team-leading 17th goal.
The Vees were able to tie the game after a key penalty-kill late in the frame. Sillinger was called for a tripping penalty with only three and a half minutes left in the frame but the Vees kept the Vipers from notching a second power-play goal, which loomed large.
Penticton broke through in the middle stanza, as they benefited from some fortuitous bounces. First, Amonte snapped a 1-1 tie seven and a half minutes into the second. Duncan Campbell had his shot hit a defenders stick from the slot, but it knuckled over to Amonte at the opposite side of the net. Amonte quickly spun off his mark and fired into an open net for his first in seven games at 7:27.
Five-minutes after that it was nearly an identical goal for Ward to put the Vees up by two. Jonny Tychonick kept the puck in at the blue-line before firing a wrist-shot towards the net. Tychonick’s shot hit the shaft of a stick in front of the goal, before bouncing to Ward at the edge of the crease. He, like Amonte, was first to the puck, and from his knees, he banged in his sixth of the season; his third goal already against Vernon.
Penticton didn’t entertain any thoughts of a Vernon comeback attempt in the third, as they limited the home side to just five shots over the final 20-minutes.
Final Score: 3-1 Vees
Shots: 27-26 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 0-1 Vernon 1-3
Three Stars (Radio): 1) Taylor Ward 2) Ty Amonte 3) Owen Sillinger
The Vees improved their record to 18-4-0-0 with the win and they’ve still yet to lose back-to-back games this season; they’re now 4-0-0-0 after a loss. They improved their road record to an impressive 12-0-0-0 in the win and they’re now 9-1-0-0 against the Interior Division.
Penticton is off until Friday, November 18th, when they make a quick trip down to the Lower Mainland to face the Coquitlam Express. The Vees beat the Express 5-2 earlier this week back at the SOEC. Penticton is back at home the following night, November 19th, when they entertain the Merritt Centennials at 6 PM.