PENTICTON, BC –You can excuse the Cowichan Valley Capitals if they’re tired of seeing the Penticton Vees’ Grant Cruikshank. The Vees’ forward scored a pair of goals Saturday, as the Vees topped the Caps 5-1 at the SOEC.
With his two goals tonight and his three against Cowichan Valley back in September, Cruikshank finished with five goals in just two games against the Capitals, as the Vees swept the two-game season series.
Owen Sillinger also scored twice and finished with three points, and Ryley Risling scored a power-play goal early in the second period, as the Vees won their third straight. Mat Robson wasn’t overly busy but did pick up his 21st win, stopping 20 of 21 shots.
Despite the decisive win, the Vees fell behind early after the Capitals struck on the power-play less than three-minutes into the game. Ayden MacDonald redirected Chris Harpur’s shot from the blue-line and past Robson’s blocker at 2:28, to put the visitors ahead.
The Caps didn’t hold that lead for very long as Penticton tied it up less than two-minutes later. Right off a face-off, Kenny Johnson fired a shot from up top that Sillinger managed to get a piece of in front to get it by Lane Michasiw at 4:08. Sillinger’s line-mate then put the Vees ahead for the first time midway through the opening period.
After Cowichan Valley failed to chip the puck up off the wall, Cruikshank grabbed it and moved into the middle, before wiring a shot over the goalie’s blocker at 12:07; Cruikshank extending his goal streak to three.
Robson arguably made his best save of the game late in the first when the Vees were still nursing a 2-1 lead. Ty Pochipinski thought he had the equalizer from the top of the crease but Robson somehow managed to knock down the rebound attempt with his arm and fall on top of the puck. The save loomed large, as the Vees added to their lead early in the second period.
Penticton had a power-play carry over to the middle frame and they didn’t miss a beat. After a near miss at one side of the net, Matt Gosiewski found the puck and quickly put it back out front to Risling, who popped it in at the side of the goal at 1:33; Risling scoring his 11th and second in as many games.
In the third, the Vees picked up where they left off in the second, scoring twice in the opening three-minutes to put the game out of reach.
Sillinger made it 4-1, when he picked up his second of the game just over a minute in. Cowichan Valley was caught on a bad line change and Sillinger came down the right-wing on a two-on-one rush, cutting to the middle, before slowly curling the puck around the sprawled goaltender at 1:08.
Cruikshank wouldn’t be outdone by his line-mate, as he scored his second of the game moments late, when he followed the puck to the net. Ty Amonte’s wrap-around attempt was stuffed by the goalie’s pad but the rebound jumped right out to Cruikshank, who quickly put it upstairs at the three-minute mark.
Final Score: 5-1 Vees
Shots: 41-21 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 1-4 Cowichan Valley 1-2
Three Stars: 1) Owen Sillinger 2) Grant Cruikshank 3) Joe Leahy
Vees Notes: Saturday marked the fifth time this season the Vees (26-5-0-1) have won three or more games in a row. Cruikshank extended his point streak to four games and he, Sillinger and Amonte combined for four goals and seven points in the win.