The Penticton Vees earned their 30th win of the regular season with four-point efforts from Jackson Niedermayer and Tristan Amonte helping them to an 8-4 victory over the Victoria Grizzlies on Saturday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
A delay of game penalty at the beginning of the game gave the Vees a power play right off the hop and the home side couldn’t have asked for a better start, converted just 33 seconds into the contest and taking an early 1-0 lead.
David Silye started the play with a pass from the high slot to the left face-off circle where Danny Weight spotted Jackson Niedermayer in front of the goal with a pass as the Vees forward had his first shot stopped by Grizzlies netminder Liam Souliere but collected the rebound and slid the puck through his legs as Niedermayer registered his 14th goal of the season and gave the Vees a 1-0 advantage.
Victoria answered back at the 4:43 mark to even the score on a pass from the right-wing corner off the stick of Vincent Nardone. The Grizzlies forward played a puck to the slot where Marty Westhaver made a deke to his backhand and beat Vees goaltender Yaniv Perets on his blocker side to tie the game 1-1.
Penticton barraged the Victoria net with shots moments after the goal, outshooting the Grizzlies by a 10-2 count at one point in the game but Souliere and the visitors stood tall and kept the game on even terms before generating their first lead of the game coming late in the opening frame.
James Davenport sent a pass to the right face-off circle where Alex DiPaolo fanned on a one-time shot with the puck knuckling off of the body of Henri Schreifels at the top of the crease and past the glove side of Perets as the fortunate bounce gave the Grizzlies a 2-1 lead with 34 seconds remaining in the 1st frame.
Cue a crazy, six-goal 2nd period as Victoria pushed their lead to two goals with the second of the game from Westhaver. The Grizzlies captain gathered the puck in the slot and zipped a shot past the blocker side of Perets to give the Grizzlies a 3-1 advantage 1:40 into the 2nd period.
The Vees had a quick response, scoring just 43 seconds later with Niedermayer earning his second of the game. The Vees forward had his initial shot from the right face-off circle stopped before he collected the rebound and pushed the puck through the legs of Souliere for his 15th goal of the season and cut the deficit to 3-2 at the 2:23 mark.
Tyler Ho got the game back to even terms 1:22 after getting within a marker with Tristan Amonte letting a shot go from the slot as Souliere made the save with Colton Kalezic and Ho banging for the loose puck and Ho getting the last touch, jamming a shot past the blocker side for his 9th goal of the season and tying the game at 3-3 at the 3:45 mark of the 2nd period.
The Grizzlies regained the lead at the 6:59 mark as Connor Eddy spun and slid a backhander past the glove side of Perets while the Vees, once again, had another response moments later, 56 seconds later to be exact, that got the game tied up at 4-4. Amonte received a Conner Hutchison pass and flung a shot over the shoulders of Souliere for his 11th goal of the season to even the score at the 7:55 mark.
A four-goal 2nd frame was capped off for the Vees with the hat-trick goal from Niedermayer, racing down the right wing to beat a defender and get to the net before snapping a shot off the crossbar that bounced off of the back of Souliere and across the goal line for his 16th marker of the year and a 5-4 Vees lead at the 14:05 mark of the middle stanza.
Penticton didn’t surrender much in the 3rd period, giving up just four shots in the final frame and doubled their lead at the 7:37 mark as David Silye redirected a Hutchison shot from the right point through the legs of Souliere for his 15th tally of the season and a 6-4 Vees lead.
Amonte tallied his second goal of the game at the 9:00 mark of the 3rd period with a shorthanded marker, gathering the puck at the top of the left face-off circle and beating Souliere over the blocker side for his 12th goal of the season and a 7-4 lead.
Steve Holtz concluded the scoring at the 17:41 mark of the final frame after receiving a pass from Amonte on a 2-on-1 as he fed the puck from the left wing to the right side where Holtz beat Souliere on the glove side for his 5th goal of the season and cementing an 8-4 final score.
Yaniv Perets started the game for the Vees in net, turning aside 10 of the 14 shots he faced in his 27:55 played before Carl Stankowski came on in relief, stopping all 6 shots thrown his way in his 7th win of the season while Liam Souliere made his first start of the season, allowing 8 goals on 39 shots in his first loss of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 8-4 Vees
SHOTS ON GOAL: 39-20 Vees
VEES PP: 1/2
VEES PK: 4/6
1) Jackson Niedermayer (3-1-4)
2) Tristan Amonte (2-2-4)
3) David Silye (1-2-3)