The Penticton Vees used strong goaltending from Marek Pocherewny and Cameron Milewski and a late Thomas Stift goal to help to a 2-1 victory over the West Kelowna Warriors in their preseason opener on Wednesday night at Royal LePage Place.
West Kelowna came with pressure early in the game, aided by a power play right at puck drop, but 15-year-old netminder Marek Pocherewny stood tall and helped keep the Warriors off the scoresheet before Penticton struck for the game’s opening goal on a power play of their own.
On the tail end of their first power play of the game, the puck swung to the right point where Joel Barton let a shot go with heavy traffic in front of the net. Logan Gallaher tipped in the shot past the glove side of Warriors goaltender Johnny Derrick for the 1-0 lead at the 6:27 mark of the opening period.
Pocherewny made several more strong stops before he was pulled from the game in the middle of the second period on a goaltending switch, turning aside all 18 shots thrown his way as 17-year-old Cameron Milewski came on to close the game.
The Warriors evened the game with 58 seconds reminding in the middle stanza as a puck came in front for Riley Sharun, who banged it past the glove side of Milewski to even the game and get into the second intermission with a 1-1 score.
The Vees fended off more Warriors chances in the 3rd period, with the help of their goaltender Milewski and were able to jump ahead for the second time in the game with under 5 minutes remaining in regulation.
Off an offensive zone face-off, the Vees pushed the puck to the of Warriors new goaltender Jayden Shull with the loose puck being whacked in by Thomas Stift with 4:37 remaining in regulation to give Penticton a 2-1 lead.
Late in the game, the Warriors pulled their goaltender and tried to tie the game. A rebound came to the left face-off circle where Milewski slid to his right and made an outstanding right shoulder save to keep the Vees lead in the final minute and push Penticton to the win.
Pocherewny turned aside all 18 shots he faced in the game while playing the first half of the contest while Milewski stopped 15 of the 16 shots thrown his way in the second half of the game and earned the victory.
The Vees are back in action on Friday night as they come to the South Okanagan Events Centre for their first home preseason game, hosting the Merritt Centennials for a 7:00 PM face-off.