The Penticton Vees used a four-goal third period and two from Tristan Amonte to help them to back-to-back wins to begin the season in a 6-3 win over the Cranbrook Bucks on Saturday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
It was a bit of a feeling out process between two teams that had not faced each other in their histories but the game opened up as both goaltenders were the story in the opening period. Kaeden Lane remained solid in the Vees crease, turning aside each of the 12 shots he faced in the opening period. Bucks goaltender Nathan Airey was equally as good in the Cranbrook net, turning aside each of the 11 shots thrown his way.
The Bucks were first on the scoresheet as they tallied their first goal in franchise history with Cam Reid being the recipient of a drop pass from Walker Gelbard to give Cranbrook a 1-0 lead and their first goal in franchise history. Reid took a pass in the high slot and beat Lane over the glove shoulder at the 12:56 mark of the 2nd period.
Penticton had an answer just under two minutes later and came in the way of Luc Wilson, after an earlier attempt had been disallowed. Fin Williams fed Wilson with a pass in the slot as the forward buried a shot underneath of the glove of Airey for his 1st goal as a Vee at the 15:13 mark of the middle stanza to even the game at 1-1.
Ryan Upson pushed the Vees to their first lead of the hockey game at the 17:58 mark of the middle period as his line with Wilson and Williams played a strong game. Williams slot shot bounced off the pads of Airey and jetted to the left face-off circle where Upson pounded the rebound past the blocker side of the Bucks netminder for his first Vees goal and a 2-1 advantage heading into the 3rd period.
The Bucks would not go away, however, and tied the game at the 3:30 mark of the final frame with AJ Vasko benefitting on a slick play from Zeth Kindrachuk, who stole the puck from a Vee on the goal line and fed a pass backdoor. Vasko scooped a shot over the blocker shoulder of Lane to even the score at 2-2.
A nice passing play saw Ben Wozney give the Vees their lead back, for good in the game, just over a minute later at the 4:37 mark of the 3rd period. Tristan Amonte spotted Wozney in the left face-off circle as he one-timed a shot over the glove shoulder of Airey for his 1st goal in a Vees sweater to give Penticton a 3-2 advantage.
Amonte added to the Vees lead shortly after, at the 9:26 mark of the period, taking a pass from Jacob Quillan at the bottom of the left face-off circle. Amonte hit the post on his first attempt but buried the rebound for his first goal of the game and extended the Vees lead to 4-2.
On their fourth power play of the night, Philippe Chapleau found the back of the net for his first goal of the season and his first as a Vee. Grayson Arnott spotted Chapleau at the left point as he moved into the left side of the ice and snapped a shot over the shoulder of Airey to give Penticton a 5-2 lead at the 13:57 mark.
Tyson Dyck got the Bucks within a pair of goals at the 16:49 mark before Amonte iced the game with an empty net tally, his second goal of the game with 36 seconds remaining in the period to finish the game off and give the Vees a 6-3 victory.