Port Alberni, BC: The Penticton Vees (20-5-1-2) weathered an early storm from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (8-14-2-4) and rattled off three unanswered goals to win 5-2, extending their winning streak to 10 games.
The Bulldogs put the pressure on the Vees in the opening minutes, jumping out to a 5-1 shot lead. The first goal of the game came off the stick of Pearce Messer as he scored on a 2-on-1 rush with five minutes left in the period.
Before the period was up the Vees would tie the game. Kenny Johnson let a slap shot go from the right point that Grant Cruikshank deflected past John Hawthorne with 1:38 remaining in the frame.
Early in the second the Vees came out with some jump as they held the Bulldogs in their own zone. The pressure paid off when Dakota Boutin slid a wraparound past Hawthorne nearly eight minutes into the second to give the Vees the lead.
Not long after the Bulldogs tied the game when James Orban’s shot from the right-wing wall beat a screened Hildebrand to tie things up.
Just over a minute later Lukas Sillinger found a loose puck behind Hawthorne and poked in his fifth of the year to restore the Vees lead.
Hildebrand made his biggest save of the game on the penalty kill as a cross-ice feed deflected back to his glove side and he had to stab out his left leg to make the save and keep the Vees in the lead.
Penticton added another goal late in the period as Massimo Rizzo found another loose puck near the goal line and jammed it past Hawthorne for his fifth of the season to make it 4-2 Vees through 40 minutes of play.
Owen Sillinger rounded out the scoring in the third with a shorthanded goal coming down the left wing. His backhand shot went off the stick of Mitch Oliver and into the net for Sillinger’s 13th of the season.
After 13 shots in the first, Alberni threw just 12 on Hildebrand through the final 40 minutes as he finished with 23 saves to improve to 8-1 on the season.
The Vees now return to the South Okanagan Events Centre Wednesday night where they will host the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (12-15-3-0) for the third meeting of the season.