Penticton, BC: Jack LaFontaine made 23 saves to record his first BCHL shutout as the Penticton Vees (4-3-0) blanked the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (2-6-0) 2-0 in the Vees home opener at the South Okanagan Events Centre Saturday night.
The Vees jumped out to a quick start as they peppered Bulldogs goalie John Hawthorne with eight shots in the opening four minutes. The final shots in the first period would read 12-4 in favour of the Vees.
Penticton thought they had opened the scoring in the first after David Silye let a one timer go from the left circle. The shot was originally called a goal, but upon video review it was clear the puck hit the crossbar and stayed out of the net.
Andre Ghantous scored for the second time in as many games as a member of the Vees four minutes into the second. A scramble in front of the Bulldogs net led to Ghantous finding a loose puck and beating Hawthorne to get the SOEC crowd on their feet.
The game remained close through 40 minutes as the Vees held a slim 1-0 lead. Both teams had numerous chances on the power play, but neither could capitalize as they would finish a combined 0-for-9 on the power play.
In the third period, Lukas Sillinger blocked three consecutive one timers while short-handed to help keep his team up 1-0.
Silye would find the back of the net with just 2:29 remaining as he flew into the Bulldogs zone following a turnover. While in the right circle, with seemingly nothing to shoot at, Silye fired a perfect wrist shot into the top corner over Hawthorne’s shoulder to give the Vees the insurance marker they needed.
Alberni pulled Hawthorne for the extra attacker following the goal, and had sustained pressure in the Vees zone, but they wouldn’t solve LaFontaine who posted the 23-save shutout.
The Vees now get set to renew their long-storied rivalry with the Vernon Vipers next Friday at the SOEC.
The announced attendance for Saturday’s game was 3,410.