The Penticton Vees got four point efforts from Colton Kalezic and Jay O’Brien to help them to their 10th straight win to open the season with a 5-3 victory over the Wenatchee Wild on Saturday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre to conclude the BCHL Showcase Festival, presented by Bauer.
It didn’t take long for the Vees offence to get its legs early on in the game, getting right into the Wenatchee end of the ice and taking the lead just 59 seconds into the game coming courtesy of Colton Kalezic, who extended his point streak to 5 games in the process.
Kalezic sent a pass from the slot to the top of the crease where Jay O’Brien had his shot stopped on the left side of Wenatchee netminder Daniel Chenard before Kalezic found daylight on the blocker side to beat a sliding Chenard for his 4th goal of the season just 59 seconds into the game to jump ahead by a 1-0 score.
Just 20 seconds later, Kalezic doubled the Vees lead with his second goal of the contest coming at the 1:19 mark of the opening frame. O’Brien cut his way to the net as he was stopped on the glove side of Chenard with Kalezic following up on the rebound for his 5th goal of the season and second of the game to give the Vees a 2-0 advantage.
The Wild had a response later in the period coming on the power play as Nick Cafarelli cut the Vees lead in half. After Derek Krall made a right pad save, the puck sat on his blocker side as the Wild dug away and pushed the puck across the goal line with Cafarelli getting the last touch for his 6th goal of the season to make it a 2-1 Vees lead at the 10:56 mark.
Once again, the Vees didn’t take long to find the back of the net in the 2nd period, scoring 1:43 into the middle stanza. Jackson Niedermayer rang a shot off the post from the right face-off circle but got the puck back again in the same spot and made no mistake, beating Chenard on the glove side for his 3rd goal of the season and a 3-1 advantage early in the period.
Wenatchee once again got the game to within a goal as Quinn Emerson cut the Vees advantage to 3-2 at the 2:59 mark of the middle stanza. Nick Cherkowski centered a pass from below the goal line that Emerson took alone in the slot and beat the glove side of Krall to cut the Vees lead to a goal.
The Vees were persistent and once again jumped ahead by a pair of goals as O’Brien tucked a backhand shot over the blocker side of Chenard for his 6th goal of the season after taking a pass from Kalezic in the left face-off circle and Penticton forged ahead by a 4-2 margin.
Matt Dorsey pushed back for the Wild in a back-and-forth 2nd period, scoring the Wild’s second power play goal of the game. Dorsey got into the right face-off circle and roofed a shot over the glove side of Krall cut the lead in half once again and make it a 4-3 score heading into the 3rd period.
The Vees did a good job of controlling the 3rd period, not allowing many high-end scoring opportunities from the Wild and adding insurance courtesy of Lukas Sillinger taking a Danny Weight pass in the slot and beating the blocker side of Chenard for his 3rd goal of the season and a 5-3 lead.
Derek Krall turned aside 26 of the 29 shots he faced in his 5th win of the season as the Vees held on for the 5-3 victory while Daniel Chenard turned aside 28 of the 33 shots he faced in his 4th loss of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 5-3 Vees
The Vees (10-0-0-0) head back out on the road for a pair of games in the Island Division as they face-off against the Powell River Kings (7-5-0-0) on Friday night. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM from the Hap Parker Arena