PENTICTON, BC –Despite dealing with a short-handed line-up, the Penticton Vees picked up their second straight win, topping the Vernon Vipers 3-1 Wednesday night at the SOEC.
Ryley Risling and Grant Cruikshank scored first period goals and Matt Gosiewski scored his first as a Vee in the second, as the Vees earned their third win against Vernon in four games.
Mat Robson was the team’s backbone, turning aside 28 of 29 shots and took home first star honours, as he picked up his 20th win of the season.
Brett Stapley was the only Vernon player to beat Robson, as the Vipers three-game winning streak was snuffed out.
Penticton’s much maligned power-play got them off to a great start, well sort of. Before the puck was even dropped, the Vipers were handed a delay of game penalty because of a player staying on the ice too long after warm-up. As that opening power-play was expiring, Taylor Ward dished a pass out of the corner to Risling in front, and his quick one-timer beat Darion Hansen at 2:01; Risling scoring one-second after the power-play had expired.
The man-advantage did get another opportunity and this time the Vees didn’t run out of time. Duncan Campbell dropped the puck on the wall for Grant Cruikshank and he moved into the circle, before sneaking a shot through Hansen’s legs at 12:42; his team-leading sixth power-play goal. It was also the Vees’ first power-play goal since November 22nd.
Penticton padded their lead early in the second and it was Mat Gosiewski with a great individual play. Taylor Ward teamed up with Gosiewski to create a turnover near the red-line, and Gosiewski quickly turned it back the other way on a three-on-one rush. “Goose,” as he’s affectionately known, kept the puck as he moved down the right-wing, before snapping a dart to the corner over the goalie’s blocker at 6:51; his first in 13-games putting the Vees up by three.
Vernon had a quick response, as they finally solved Robson and just 39-seconds after the Vees went up 3-0. On a counter-attack, Jimmy Lambert dropped the puck for Brett Stapley and he fired it upstairs over Robson’s glove and through a crowd at 7:30 to mute the crowd momentarily. Penticton’s lead was cut to two heading into the second intermission.
Vernon did press early in the third but Robson was there to answer the bell and on more than one occasion. He made a terrific pad-save early in the frame on Jesse Lansdell and again on Ryan Brushett as Vernon tried to claw their way back. Robson stopped 22 of the final 23 shots he faced over the final 40-minutes.
Final Score: 3-1 Vees
Shots: 29-23 Vernon
Power-Plays: Vees 1-4 Vernon 0-2
Three Stars: 1) Mat Robson 2) Mitch Meek 3) Brett Stapley
Vees Notes: Penticton improved their record to 25-5-0-1 in the win and they’re now 12-2-0-1 against the Interior Division. The Vees also improved to 16-0-0 when leading after two periods. Gabe Bast (IR) James Miller (Injured), Griffin Mendel (WJAC), Jonny Tychonick (WJAC) and Jamie Armstrong (Injured) were scratched.
The Vees are off until Saturday (December 10th), when they host the Cowichan Valley Capitals (15-13-2-2) at the SOEC; puck drop is 6 PM. Underwriters Insurance, Penticton Auto Sales and the Penticton Speedway are raffling off a 2003 Nissan Ultima at the game for just $2. Fans can get their raffle tickets on a first come, first serve basis