The Penticton Vees used a three-goal 3rd period to help them to their 8th straight victory to begin the season in a 7-3 win over the West Kelowna Warriors on Saturday night at Royal LePage Place.
The Vees couldn’t have asked for a better start than the one they received as just nine seconds into the game, Jay O’Brien put the visitors ahead by a 1-0 score. Colton Kalezic got a pass in the slot of the opening face-off and zipped a shot off the crossbar on the blocker side of Warriors goaltender Johnny Derrick with the rebound being pushed in by O’Brien for his 5th goal of the season and a 1-0 Vees advantage early in the game.
Penticton went on the game’s first power play but it would be the Warriors who would take advantage of that and tie the game while shorthanded. Max Bulawka worked his way out of a check on the right half boards and passed to the slot where Lucas Cullen gathered a shot over the glove side of Vees netminder Derek Krall to even the score at the 6:59 mark.
The Vees would jump back in the lead at the 13:14 mark on the power play. Conner Hutchison got a pass at the midpoint and let a shot go that got past heavy traffic in front of the net and through Derrick for his 2nd goal of the season and a 2-1 Vees lead heading into the 2nd period of play.
Penticton came out with plenty of jump in the early part of the middle stanza as Vincent Nardone came out of the penalty box and gathered the puck at center ice, skating with a man on his back to the goal as he pushed the puck through the legs of Derrick for his 3rd goal of the season and giving the Vees a 3-1 lead at the 4:41 mark of the middle stanza.
The goal knocked Derrick out of the net as Brock Baier came on in relief and the Vees tested him early and got ahead by 4-1 score courtesy of Tristan Amonte. Lukas Sillinger swatted at a bouncing puck in the left face-off circle and batted the puck toward the net that was knocked in by Amonte standing in front of the goal, over the blocker shoulder of Baier for his 6th goal of the season and a three-goal advantage at the 6:14 mark.
The Warriors started to push back and get some pressure in the offensive zone, getting the game to within a pair of goals at the 10:06 mark on the power play as Trevor Adams cut the deficit in half. Lucas Cullen spotted Adams on the glove side with a backdoor pass from the left wing as the Warriors converted on the power play and shortened the Vees lead to 4-2.
West Kelowna got the game to within a goal before the 2nd period was out as Drew Vieten sent a slap shot past the glove side of Krall to make it a 4-3 Vees game at the 16:54 mark of the middle frame.
The Vees outshot the Warriors 15-7 in the final period and didn’t surrender much in the way of chances while the offence put the game away. Colton Kalezic snapped a shot past the blocker side of Baier from the right face-off circle for his 3rd goal of the season at the 8:27 mark to get ahead by a 5-3 score.
Another power play goal from Hutchison extended the Vees lead to 6-3 at the 10:04 mark as he received the puck at the midpoint and shot past Baier with David Silye providing a screen in front for his second goal of the game.
Penticton capped off the scoring, and a three-goal third period, with Lukas Sillinger racing down the right wing and sending a backhand shot over the glove side of Baier for his 2nd goal of the season at the 18:43 mark of the period to conclude the scoring and give the Vees a 7-3 victory.
Derek Krall turned aside 23 of the 26 shots he faced in his 4th win of the season while Johnny Derrick stopped 6 of his 9 shots faced before Brock Baier came on and made 20 saves on 24 shots in his 7th loss of the season.