WEST KELOWNA, BC-The Penticton Vees spoiled the party on Tuesday night, beating the West Kelowna Warriors 5-1, in what was the Warriors final regular season home game.
The Vees’ special teams hand its finger prints all over this game, scoring three power-play goals and a short-handed marker, as they swept the seven game season series over their South Okanagan rivals.
Grant Cruikshank and Ty Amonte each had a goal and an assist and Jamie Armstrong, Chris Klack and Nicholas Jones all scored power-play goals; Gabe Bast chipped in with two assists on the power-play.
Mat Robson, fresh of being given an Honourable Mention for the BCHL Player of the Week award, stopped 32 of 33 shots for his league-best 34th win.
Quin Foreman scored in the first period for the Warriors, who missed an opportunity to grab sole possession of third place in the Interior over the Trail Smoke Eaters; both teams are still tied with 56 points.
Despite a pretty good first 10 -minutes, the Vees found themselves down a goal midway through the first period. Quin Foreman picked up his own rebound at the side of the net and tucked it inside the post past Robson at 13:15; his second goal against Penticton this season.
Compounding matters was the fact Jones had a great chance before that goal to open the scoring in the first, but his deke attempt near the top of the crease was stopped by Gabriel Morency.
Penticton righted the ship in the second and got back on even terms with an early power-play goal. Just 14-seconds into the man-advantage, Armstrong strong armed a rebound just over the goal line from inside the crease at 2:04 for his third. That goal seemed to trigger the Vees, as they went on to score three more goals in a four goal second period.
The power-play tied but it was the penalty-kill that gave them the lead, as Cruikshank scored his team-leading 31st six and half minutes in. Short-handed, Cruikshank skated down the right-wing, cut the middle and snuck a shot underneath the goalie’s arm at 6:31. That goal was the Vees’ eighth short-handed goal this season and remarkably their sixth against West Kelowna.
Amonte put the Vees up 3-1 with five and a half minutes to go in the middle frame as he showed great patience out front. Owen Sillinger stole the puck away from a defenceman near the goal-line, and slid the puck across to Amonte, who outwaited the goaltender, moving to his right before going upstairs for his 17th at 14:17.
The power-play flexed its muscles late, as the Warriors frustrations got them in trouble. In the final half-minute of the second, West Kelowna took back-to-back penalties 19-seconds apart, handing the Vees a five-on-three and they didn’t squander the opportunity.
Off the ensuing face-off Gabe Bast had his blast from the point stopped but the rebound kicked across to Jones, who quickly hammered the rebound into the net from a knee with only nine-seconds left on the clock; Jones picking up his 23rd.
Klack put the finishing touches on the win with another power-play goal midway through the third. Klack made a great move to cut into the slot from the left-wing and waited long enough for the goalie to bite, before scoring on the far-side at 11:53; Klack picking up his 13th.