The Penticton Vees gave their best come-from-behind effort, falling just short of an equalizer as they fell for the first time in Okanagan Cup action with a 4-2 loss to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Saturday night at the Shaw Centre.
The Silverbacks opened the game with a quick scoring chance and, just 43 seconds into the game, took a 1-0 lead. Drew Bennett was able to collect the puck at the top of the crease on a rebound and move to his backhand to slide the puck past the blocker side of Vees goaltender Yaniv Perets as Salmon Arm took a quick 1-0 advantage.
Salmon Arm would extend their lead to a pair of goals at the 9:44 mark of the opening period with Carter Loney pushing the lead to double. Logan Shaw sent a shot to the net from the high slot where Perets was able to make the stop before Loney fired in the rebound from the left face-off circle to make it a 2-0 Salmon Arm game.
Three straight goals to begin the game was completed at the 15:12 mark of the 1st period with Bennett tallying his second goal of the contest. On a missed attempt to hold the puck inside the offensive zone, Bennett settled a bouncing puck and came in online on a breakaway, moving from his forehand to his backhand and past the blocker side on Perets at the 15:12 mark of the opening period to give Salmon Arm a 3-1 lead.
The Vees got some late life in the 1st period and, with just 11 seconds remaining, Luc Wilson made a nice move in tight on the goal to get Penticton on the board. Stefano Bottini centered a pass from the right-wing corner as he sent a puck to the middle of the ice where Wilson accepted the pass on his forehand before moving to his backhand and beating ‘Backs netminder Riley Kohonick on the blocker side for his 4th goal of the Okanagan Cup to get the Vees within in two goals at 3-1.
Kaeden Lane came on in the 2nd period for the Vees, replacing Yaniv Perets in the Penticton crease, as Lane made 10 saves on 10 shots in the middle stanza and was helped out with Ryan Upson cutting the deficit to one goal with his 4th marker of the tournament.
Frank Djurasevic chipped the puck from his own zone into the offensive end where Ryan Upson skated onto the loose puck and made a quick move from his forehand to his backhand in the right face-off circle before lifting a shot over the glove side of Kohonick at the 10:32 mark of the middle frame as Penticton got back within a goal.
The Vees began the 3rd period with another strong press, applying pressure and hitting two goal posts searching for the tying marker. Matteo Costantini was the first to hit iron, walking down the left wing and firing a shot by the blocker side of Kohonick but ringing the post with just over three and a half minutes gone in the period.
Quinn Hutson was next to get within inches of tying the game, set up on the power play over the midway point of the period on a feed from below the goal line by Jacob Quillan. Hutson got the pass in the slot and ripped a one-timer off the glove side post to keep the game at a 3-2 Silverback lead, which was increased with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
Joaquim Lemay found room through traffic on a power play with a shot from the left point that had eyes for the back of the net for the insurance marker in the game, scoring with 5:02 remaining in regulation as Salmon Arm took a 4-2 lead, an advantage they would not relinquish.
Yaniv Perets started the game for the Vees, making 5 saves on 8 shots in the opening period and suffered his first loss of the Okanagan Cup before Kaeden Lane came on and turned aside 16 of the 17 shots he faced. Riley Kohonick made 30 saves on 32 shots in the Silverbacks net in picking up his 2nd victory of the tournament.
FINAL SCORE: 4-2 Silverbacks
SHOTS ON GOAL: 32-25 Vees
1) Drew Bennett (2-0-2)
2) Riley Kohonick (30 saves on 32 shots)
3) Kieran Ruscheinski (0-1-1)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Logan Shaw (0-0-0)
The Vees (9-1-0-0) will take a week off from games and return to the ice for their final weekend of Okanagan Cup action before the semifinals as they face-off against the Vernon Vipers (2-4-1-1) on November 6th at Kal Tire Place. Puck drop is slated for 6:00 PM with the game available with a FREE audio stream at mixlr.com/pentictonvees as well as on pay-per-view at HockeyTV.com.