PENTICTON, BC –Nicholas Jones scored not once but twice short-handed, helping the Penticton Vees to a 4-2 win over the West Kelowna Warriors Wednesday night at the SOEC.
Special teams headlined the Vees’ win, as they scored a season-high three short-handed goals to snap a two-game losing skid. Owen Sillinger also scored a short-handed marker and Jamie Armstrong scored a power-play goal in the second period, as the Vees continued their dominance of the Warriors this season.
Mat Robson had a stellar, bounce-back performance, stopping 35 of 37 shots and was named the game’s third star.
Chase Stevenson and Connor Sodergren scored third period goals for West Kelowna who clawed back from 3-0 deficit to get within a goal from tying it. Cole Demers suffered his first loss with the Warriors in his third start, stopping 37 of 40 shots.
Chris Klack had the best chance to break scoreless tie late in the first period but his rebound attempt out front was fought-off by Demers glove with less than 15-seconds left on the clock.
The Vees’ penalty-kill was the unlikely source of offense in the second, as Jones broke the scoreless deadlock just before the four-minute mark. The Captain followed Duncan Campbell to the goal and buried a rebound off the goalie’s pad and into an open net at 3:54; his first goal since December 16th.
Jones’ goal was the Vees’ first lead since the midway mark of the third period against Trail one week ago.
The special teams were at it again but this time it was the power-play that doubled Penticton’s lead. With less than three-minutes left in the middle stanza, Taylor Ward’s blast from the point caught a piece of Jamie Armstrong’s stick and squeezed by Demers at 17:12; the goal coming with just three-seconds left on the man-advantage.
Still in the second period, Penticton was called for another penalty but manufactured another goal while a man down. On a penalty-kill, Nicholas Jones raced down the wing on a two-on-one rush and fired short-side past the goalie’s glove at 18:39; Jones picking up his second short-handed goal just 27-seconds into a penalty-kill.
The Vees took a 3-0 lead into the third period but the Warriors pushed back and chiseled away at the deficit. Rookie forward Chase Stevenson got the visitors on the board at just past the six-minute mark. Stevenson banged a rebound through Robson’s legs from the top of the crease.
Then Connor Sodergren put a scare into some Vees’ fans when he scored to make it 3-2 with nine and a half minutes left. Chas Dubois’ shot from the wall hit Sodergren’s skate and he quickly turned and fired the rebound over Robson’s pad.
West Kelowna had a golden chance to tie the game when Penticton was called for two penalties 28-seconds apart inside the final two-minutes. The Warriors then pulled the goalie for a six-on-three advantage, but despite being outnumbered, the Vees still managed to find the back of the net again, whilst short-handed.
Owen Sillinger blocked a shot from just inside his blue-line, and then won a race for the puck in the West Kelowna end, sliding it into the open net with just 25-seconds left.
Final Score: 4-2 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 1-5 Warriors 0-7
Three Shots: 1) Nicholas Jones 2) Jamie Armstrong 3) Mat Robson
Attendance: 2, 777
Vees Notes: The three short-handed goals is a season-high for the Vees. Jones is now is tied for the most short-handed goals in the BCHL (4) with Victoria’s Keyvan Mokhtari. After Wednesday’s game, Jones now has seven goals in four games against the Warriors. Penticton is now 5-0 against West Kelowna this season.
Penticton (30-8-0-1) hits the road Friday, when they visit the Merritt Centennials (14-17-2-7) at 7 pm. The Vees return home the next night, Saturday, January 14th, when they host the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (13-19-2-5) at 6 pm.