The Penticton Vees saw their five-game win streak come to an end on Wednesday night as they fell to the Trail Smoke Eaters by a 4-1 score at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Trail struck first in the game and took a 1-0 lead with a power play marker from the BCHL’s leading scorer, Kent Johnson. A pass from Tyler Ghirardosi from the right-wing face-off circle went across to the left side as Johnson found the back of the net from the bottom of the left circle with an open goal after a scramble took Vees goaltender Yaniv Perets out of position as Johnson made it a 1-0 Trail lead at the 15:04 mark of the opening period.
An entertaining opening period of play in Penticton saw both teams have some good chances to score after the Trail tally, including a 2-on-1 rush for the Vees as Jackson Niedermayer held the puck on the left wing and snapped a shot that was turned away by Smoke Eaters netminder Logan Terness before he stopped the rebound as well on Niedermayer.
Perets came out large at the tail end of the 1st period and kept the deficit at one goal with an outstanding blocker side save on a Trail 2-on-0. Johnson passed across for Michael Colella on the right wing as he snapped a quick shot before Perets slid across and made a big stop with 35 seconds remaining in the period to keep the Smoke Eaters lead at 1-0 into the 2nd period.
The Smoke Eaters opened up the second frame with a 2-0 lead as an odd-man rush doubled the visitors advantage. Philippe Lapointe passed across for Owen Ozar after getting behind the Vees defence as Ozar went back for Lapointe, who hit the top of the right pad of Perets on the blocker side and bounced into the top of the net at the 2:49 mark of the middle stanza to push Trail ahead by a 2-0 score.
Perets had to remain sharp in the period as the Smoke Eaters threw 16 shots at the Vees goal in the middle frame with the Penticton netminder turning aside 15 of those. Meanwhile, at the other end of the ice, Logan Terness stopped all 12 shots thrown his direction before the Vees started to mount the pressure in the final period.
Penticton came out of the gate roaring in the 3rd period, killing off a penalty that had carried over from the 2nd period and were all over the Smoke Eaters net, eventually ending in a goal at the 3:06 mark of the frame coming from Lukas Sillinger.
The Vees moved the puck inside of the Smoke Eaters zone effectively and worked it up at the top of the point as Jay O’Brien slide a pass from the slot for Steve Holtz at the right point, who fired a shot toward that net that deflected off a Smoke Eaters stick as well as Sillinger’s for his 9th goal of the season and a 2-1 game early in the 3rd period.
More chances were created by the Vees as the period went along, including Liam Malmquist having two cracks at the puck in front of the goal before Niedermayer ripped a shot from the slot that Terness snared with the goal. The game was tight until the late stages where a questionable too many men penalty against the Vees gave Trail a power play opportunity.
The Smoke Eaters converted on the man advantage with Johnson tallying his second of the game, walking in from the left side and snapping a shot through traffic to give Trail a 3-1 lead at the 15:44 mark before an empty net goal from Lapointe at 18:45 concluded the scoring in a 4-1 Smoke Eaters win.
Yaniv Perets made many big saves on the night for the Vees, turning aside 25 of the 28 shots he faced in his 3rd loss of the season while Logan Terness stopped 41 of the 42 shots thrown his way in his 11th win of the year.
FINAL SCORE: 4-1 Smoke Eaters
SHOTS ON GOAL: 42-29 Vees
VEES PP: 0/5
VEES PK: 4/6
1) Logan Terness (41 saves on 42 shots)
2) Kent Johnson (2-0-2)
3) Yaniv Perets (25 saves on 28 shots)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: David Silye (0-0-0)
The Vees (16-3-1-0) head back out on the road for a pair of games south of the border as they face off against the Wenatchee Wild (11-8-1-1) beginning on Friday night. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 PM from the Town Toyota Center