The Penticton Vees pushed their win streak to six games with a four-goal 1st period helping them to a 6-2 victory over the Merritt Centennials on Friday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.


The Vees came out firing on all cylinders and opened the scoring 4:08 into the hockey game as Conner Hutchison gave the home side a 1-0 advantage. Hutchison took a drop pass from Tyler Ho and zipped a shot over the blocker side of Centennials goaltender Ryan Winter, knocking the water bottle off the top of the goal for his 5th goal of the season and a 1-0 Vees advantage.


Carl Stankowski was solid in the opening period for the Vees, making saves on each of the 10 shots he faced in the frame and helped get Penticton to a 2-0 lead with Drew Elser finding the back of the net at the 10:30 mark.


Evan McIntyre found the post on the glove side with a right point shot before the puck came back to him as he moved to the mid-point and spotted Elser at the goal line with a pass as the Vees forward tipped a shot between the legs of Winter for his 2nd goal of the season, and his first career goal at the SOEC, to push the Vees ahead 2-0.


Just over two minutes later, the 20th goal of the season from Jay O’Brien gave Penticton a 3-0 lead. Lukas Sillinger cut to the right face-off circle and sent a nice pass across the ice to the left circle where O’Brien cocked and fired a shot over the blocker shoulder of Winter to give Penticton a three-goal advantage at the 12:54 mark of the 2nd period.


The Vees would cap off a four-goal opening period with Danny Weight scoring with just over a minute remaining on the clock. Jackson Niedermayer put a shot on from the slot that Winter was able to stop before O’Brien and Weight banged at the rebound with Weight forcing the puck through Winter for his 21st marker of the season and sent the Vees to the first intermission with a 4-0 lead.


Weight added to the Vees lead in the 2nd period as he tallied his second goal of the hockey game on a nice finish on his backhand. Niedermayer took an O’Brien pass through the neutral zone and slipped a pass across on the left wing with Weight collecting on his forehand before moving to his backhand and finishing over the glove side of Winter to give Penticton a 5-0 advantage at the 6:20 mark.


The Centennials threw 16 shots to the Vees net in the middle stanza and found the back of the net at the 16:31 mark courtesy of a power play. Talon Zakall had his mid-point shot deflected in the slot by Payton Matsui, going through the legs of Stankowski to cut the deficit to 5-1 heading into the 3rd period.


Penticton increased their lead in the 3rd period just as a power play expired as Darwin Lakoduk picked the blocker side corner to push the Vees lead to 6-1. Lakoduk collected the puck in the left face-off circle as he sniped a shot over the right shoulder of Winter for his 10th goal of the season and restored the Vees five-goal advantage.


The Centennials would close out the scoring with a shorthanded marker as Matsui earned his second goal of the game, getting behind the Vees defense for a shorthanded break before sliding the puck through the legs of Stankowski at the 14:57 mark of the final frame to conclude the scoring in favour of the Vees at 6-2.


Carl Stankowski was excellent in the Vees crease, turning aside 30 of the 32 shots he faced in his 11th win of the season while Ryan Winter stopped 27 of the 33 shots thrown his way in his 14th defeat of the season.