The Penticton Vees (18-7-1-2) and Surrey Eagles (7-23-0-1) looked like old division rivals Saturday night. A 4-1 Vees win featured a plethora of penalties and nearly a line brawl at the South Surrey Arena.
David Silye threw the first huge hit of the night, launching Mack Gray over the boards in-between the two benches as Gray was skating through the neutral zone.
Silye then made his mark on the scoreboard. After Massimo Rizzo’s shot was blocked in the slot, Silye found the loose puck in the same spot and fired it past the blocker of Hayden Missler to open the scoring with 5:47 remaining in the period.
The Vees carried a 1-0 lead into the second, but it didn’t last long. After a shot from the left point was blocked by Surrey, the Eagles raced out on a 2-on-0 break. Liam Ryan fed the puck to Brandon Santa Juana who tapped it past Derek Krall to tie the game just 1:33 into the second.
The physicality reached a boiling point with seven minutes to go in the second. Drew Elser hit Cody Schiavon into the boards in the Surrey zone, which drew a penalty. Before either team could touch the puck, both Schiavon and his defence partner Matthew Barnes jumped Elser and began throwing punches.
All five players on either team found a dance partner with players grappling and falling to the ice. After a very lengthy delay to sort out the penalties, Elser was given a two-minute checking from behind call and a game misconduct, while Barnes was also tossed from the game for fighting. Jack Lagerstrom, Carson Kosobud and Ryan for Surrey were all given roughing penalties.
All told, the game resumed 4-on-4 for two minutes before a three-minute Vees power play. At the tail end of that man advantage the Vees regained their lead. Penticton skated in on a 4-on-1 rush and Cassidy Bowes sent the puck across to the right side for Andre Ghantous, before he sent it back to Ryan Sandelin who fired home his 18th of the season with 2:26 to go in the second.
Surrey began the third on the power play, but two minutes after killing it off Penticton extended their lead. James Miller’s shot from the blue line missed the net, but Bowes threw it in front for Silye who ripped it past Missler for his second of the game.
Jack Barnes put the scoring out of reach coming in on a 2-on-1 rush with Cole Shepard, feeding the puck to Shepard before knocking the rebound through the five hole of Missler to make it 4-1.
Schiavon then threw a predatory hit on Eric Linell, forcing his head into the glass in the Surrey end resulting in a five-minute major blow to the head penalty. Linell left the game briefly before returning.
Silye had a chance to compete the hat trick as he was given a penalty shot with 1:28 to go, but he was stopped by the pads of Missler.
The win was the fifth in a row for Penticton as they hold on to top spot in the division despite Merritt’s win over Salmon Arm. Penticton continues their four-game road swing Wednesday night in Wenatchee, the first meeting of the season with the Wild.