PENTICTON, BC- It turned out to be quite the memorable 24 hours for the Penticton Vees. One night after clinching their sixth consecutive Interior Division pennant, the Vees shutout the BCHL’s top team, the Wenatchee Wild 2-0 Saturday at the SOEC.
Duncan Campbell and Nicholas Jones provided the offense and Matt Robson led the charge in shutting down the BCHL’s highest scoring ream, stopping all 33 shots he faced, as the Vees won their third straight and in front of over 4,100 fans.
The Vees penalty-kill was clutch too, keeping the Wild’s top ranked power-play off the scoresheet on five opportunities.
It was a scoreless but not uneventful first period, as Robson and the Vees’ penalty-kill was put to the test. Late in the opening frame, the Vees ran into penalty trouble, as the Wild were handed a 60-second five-on-three advantage. But the Vees’ second ranked home penalty-kill dug in their heels and kept the high flying Wild off the scoresheet.
Robson stopped all 11 shots he faced in the first period and got some help from the pipe, as AJ Vanderbeck rifled a shot off the cross-bar from the bottom of the right-wing circle.
The Vees’ best chance in the first went to Campbell but he had the puck hop over his stick right in front of the Wild net on a drop pass from Jones.
Robson was called into action early in the second after the Vees bobbled the puck behind their net. Seconds in the frame, Colin Burston took the puck away behind the goal but his wrap-around attempt was alertly kicked-out by the Vees’ puck-stopper. That save loomed large as the Vees broke through a few minutes later
Penticton broke the scoreless tie three-minutes into the second and on their second power-play. As the seconds were ticking down on the man-advantage, Jonny Tychonick fired the puck down to Jones on the goal-line, who quickly zipped it across to Campbell for the tap-in; Campbell scoring his ninth with just four-seconds left in the Wild penalty.
Robson again made another highlight reel save on another Vees’ penalty-kill. During the Wild’s third power-play of the night, Robson somehow managed to slide across to his right and fired his leg up, knocking down a shot at the side of the net; Robson preserving the 1-0 lead.
Ty Amonte had a chance to double Penticton’s lead in the second but his partial breakaway down the right-wing was stopped by Anthony Yamnitsky. The Wild goalie darted out his glove to snatch Amonte’s shot out the air, which was labeled for the top corner.
Despite being outshot 27-8 through 40-minutes, the Vees took a 1-0 lead into the third period.
Jones saved his best for last, as he doubled the Vees’ lead in the final frame, and seconds after avoiding what could have been a massive collision. Wenatchee’s Jimmy O’Brien had Jones lined up at centre ice but the Vees’ Captain managed to side step just enough of the hit, and was spun to the ice. James Miller came to his Captain’s defense, as he dropped the gloves with O’Brien right after the hit in the neutral zone; the bout seemed to energize both Jones and the Vees.
On his very next shift, Jones forced a turnover at his own blue-line, charged down the middle, fighting off two Wild defenders, and busted down the middle on a breakaway, finishing off the play by putting a backhand deke around Yamnitsky’s pad at 7:55; Jones sending a capacity crowd into a frenzy.
Penticton did a terrific job in snuffing out the Wild’s potent offense in the third, limiting the visitors to just six shots over the final 20-minutes.
Final Score: 2-0 Vees
Shots: 33-15 Wenatchee
Power-Plays: Vees 1-4 Wenatchee 0-5
Three Stars: 1) Mat Robson 2) Nicholas Jones 3) Duncan Campbell
Vees Notes: Saturday was the first time this season the Wild has been shut out by the opposition. The Vees improve their record against the Mainland Division to 11-1-0-0 and are now 20-4-1-1 at the SOEC this season. Robson’s shutout was his fourth this season, which moves him into second in the BCHL.
The Vees (37-12-1-2) carry their three-game win streak into next week, when they host the West Kelowna Warriors at the SOEC next Friday, February 17th; face-off is 7 pm.