The Penticton Vees surrendered five power play goals against and seven total goals in a 7-1 loss to the Prince George Spruce Kings at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.
Power plays reigned supreme in the opening period as the Vees and Spruce Kings combined for three goals on the man advantage in the opening 20 minutes beginning with Prince George opening the scoring just 2:38 into the 1st period of action.
Kolton Cousins sent a shot from the left face-off circle that was stopped by Vees goaltender Kaeden Lane with the rebound collected by Austin Fraser in the right face-off circle as he sent the puck to the net and past the glove side of Lane to push Prince George ahead by a 1-0 score on the power play.
In his return to the city where his career started, Fin Williams was able to put his new team in the Vees on the scoreboard and tie the game at 1-1 at the 17:09 mark of the opening period. Williams took a Luc Wilson pass in the left face-off circle and outwaited a defender before snapping a shot past the glove side of Spruce Kings goaltender Aaron Trotter for his 3rd goal of the season and evening the score at 1-1.
The Spruce Kings took the lead again at the 18:34 mark as John Herrington pushed Prince George in front by a 2-1 score. Dylan Schives passed from the midpoint to the right-wing face-off circle with Herrington firing a one-time shot over the glove side shoulder of Lane to send the Spruce Kings into the locker room with a one-goal lead.
The 2nd period saw the Vees with strong pressure, including a shot from Stefano Bottini that found iron on the right wing as he flung a wrist shot on that hit the cross bar and kept the game at 2-1 before Prince George came down and scored a power play goal of their own to extend the lead to 3-1.
Nick Rheaume scored the first of his three goals at the 12:56 mark of the middle stanza as he took a broken play from below the goal line as he got the puck at the front of the net and battled to slide the puck through the legs of Lane and give the home team a two-goal lead.
Rheaume tallied his second goal of the game just under two minutes later at the 14:53 mark of the 2nd period with a shot from the left face-off circle that caught a piece of Lane but he wasn’t able to get the whole thing to make it a 4-1 game.
Austin Fraser pushed the Spruce Kings ahead by four goals with his second goal of the game, finding a loose puck behind Lane after he made the initial save on a left face-off circle shot that helped Prince George to a 5-1 advantage heading into the 3rd period.
Rheaume collected his hat-trick with another power play goal at the 5:51 mark of the final frame and beat new Vees goaltender Colin Purcell, who came on in relief of Lane before Josh Wright finished the scoring with the Spruce Kings fifth power play goal of the game to push them to an eventual 7-1 final score.
Kaeden Lane stopped 14 of the 19 shots he faced in his first loss of the season while Colin Purcell made 7 saves on 9 shots in the 3rd period in relief while Aaron Trotter turned aside 22 of the 23 shots thrown his way in his 4th win of the season for the Spruce Kings.
FINAL SCORE: 7-1 Spruce Kings
SHOTS ON GOAL: 28-23 Spruce Kings
VEES PP: 1/3
VEES PK: 2/7
1) Nick Rheaume (3-0-3)
2) Austin Fraser (2-0-2)
3) Aaron Trotter (22 saves on 23 shots)
The Vees (5-1-0-0) will conclude their home-and-home set against the Prince George Spruce Kings (6-1-0-0) on Friday night. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM from the South Okanagan Events Centre.