PENTICTON, BC –Nicholas Jones continued his mastery of the West Kelowna Warriors Saturday night. The Penticton Vees’ Captain scored and finished with two points, in the Vees’ 4-2 win over the Warriors at the SOEC.
Jones’ second period goal was his 18th and his eighth against the Warriors in just five games this season; he has 13 points against West Kelowna. Owen Sillinger, Grant Cruikshank and Chris Klack also scored, as the Vees won their fifth straight against their South Okanagan rivals. Mat Robson picked up his 27th win, making 26 saves on 28 shots.
Connor Sodergren and Chase Stevenson scored for West Kelowna, who lost their second in a row and seventh straight at the SOEC, dating back to November, 2014. Newcomer Gabriel Morency was the losing goaltender, stopping 30 of 34 shots.
After a scoreless first period, it was West Kelowna who opened the scoring in the early moments of the second period. Just as their power-play expired, Sodergren potted a rebound into an open net at 1:43. Robson made the initial save on the point-shot but the rebound skipped right to Sodergren for the easy tap-in.
Penticton responded well, tying the game just before the nine-minute mark, and of course it was Jones bring the home team back level. The Vees Captain quickly brought the puck back into the zone after a turnover and roofed a shot over the goalie’s glove from the circle at 8:56.
The Vees then grabbed their first lead of the game on the power-play late in the middle stanza. Ryley Risling threaded the needle to Owen Sillinger with a perfect cross-ice pass, and Sillinger fired the one-timer over Morency’s pad from the left-wing at 16:01; Sillinger picking up his 15th.
West Kelowna pushed back early in the third and found an equalizer off the stick of Stevenson. Quin Foreman grabbed the puck behind the net and centered for Stevenson who went upstairs over Robson’s shoulder from in-close at 1:12.
The Vees regrouped and quickly, scoring two goals in just over a minute and a half to grab their largest lead of the game. Grant Cruikshank put the Vees back ahead just after the four-minute mark when he won a race to the puck in the Warriors’ zone. Cruikshank got past the last defender, before wheeling in and sliding the puck through the goalie’s legs for his 26th.
The power-play manufactured another goal soon after Cruikshank made it 3-2. Chris Klack hammered home a one-timer from the slot, after a give-and-go with Jones at 5:51; Klack’s first goal since December 17th.
It was a feisty affair, as four Vees and four Warriors were handed misconducts in the third and didn’t finish the game.
Emotions boiled over midway through the frame after Risling was handed a five-minute major penalty after a hit on the Warriors’ Peter Tomaras. Nick Rutigliano wrestled with Risling, with the Vees forward scoring a quick takedown. Then, Kenny Johnson and Scott Allen dropped the gloves, with Johnson earning the decision and pin.
After the dust settled, Risling, Johnson, Allan and Rutigliano all were given an early exit. Penticton did kill-off the ensuing West Kelowna power-play.
Tempers spiked again with just over a minute left, when Jones and Sodergren got tangled up at the Warriors blue-line, which also featured Taylor Sanheim and Braiden Epp getting in the mix. Jones picked up a slashing penalty and Sanheim, Sodergren and Epp all were hit with misconducts; Epp threw his helmet at the feet of Jones before skating off.
The gamed ended on a sour note, as Jonny Tychonick was hit into the boards from behind by the Warriors’ Stevenson as the clock ran down; Stevenson was handed a five-minute blow to the head major penalty.
Final Score: 4-2 Vees
Shots: 34-28 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 2-4 Warriors 0-4
Three Stars: 1) Nicholas Jones 2) Mat Robson 3) Chris Klack
Vees Notes: Penticton improved their record to 32-9-0-1 in the win and are 5-0-0 against the Warriors this season; 17-6-0-1 against the Interior Division. The Vees are now 27-2-0-0 when Jones picks up at least a point. Saturday also marked the 100th career regular season game for both Owen Sillinger and Taylor Ward. The win also puts the Vees back into second place in the BCHL overall standings.
The Vees have a quick turnaround, as they hit the road for a matinee contest against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks tomorrow afternoon; puck drop is 3 pm. Fans can listen to the game on EZ Rock AM 800, or they can watch on www.hockeyTV.com