CRANBROOK, B.C. – The Penticton Vees used efforts from seven different goal scorers to collect a 7-1 victory over the Cranbrook Bucks on Sunday afternoon at Western Financial Place.
The Vees opened their first ever game in Cranbrook with plenty of energy, after having a week away with no games, and jumped ahead of the shots on goal category by a 7-3 margin in the early going to go along with a 5-on-3 power play that extended over a minute but Penticton was not able to cash in.
As the period went along, the Vees were first to find the back of the net and it came courtesy of the captain Fin Williams, who collected his fourth goal of the season. Luc Wilson spotted Williams with a good pass in the neutral zone as the Vees captain busted his way into the offensive zone and fired a shot over the glove side of Bucks goaltender Evan Gartner to give Penticton a 1-0 lead at the 12:38 margin of the opening period.
Under a minute after that, Jarrod Smith restored the tie and got the Bucks back on even terms at 1-1 at the 13:22 mark of the 1st period. Smith took a pass from Rhys Bentham in the left face-off circle as he went from his forehand to his backhand in front of the net and lifted a shot over the blocker shoulder of Vees netminder Kaeden Lane for a 1-1 game heading into the 2nd period.
The 2nd period saw the Vees score three times and take control of the hockey game as Luc Wilson got the scoring going in the period after a strong opening five minutes from Lane, who made a couple of big saves to keep the game knotted at 1-1 before Wilson gave Penticton their second lead of the game.
Trevor O’Brien made his way across the blue line on the left-wing side and cut to the middle of the ice before spotting Wilson off the bench, who took O’Brien’s pass on his backhand and snapped a shot from the right face-off circle over the glove side of Gartner for his 10th goal of the season at the 7:22 mark of the middle stanza to push Penticton ahead by a 2-1 score.
For the ninth straight game, the power play converted for the Vees and gave Penticton their first two-goal lead of the night. Brett Moravec set up Ryan Hopkins at the midpoint who hammered a one-time shot that deflected off a body and past the blocker side of Gartner for his 2nd goal of the season and a 3-1 lead at the 10:43 mark of the 2nd period.
The Vees collected their third goal of the period and took a 4-1 lead at the 15:22 mark of the 2nd period as Casey McDonald added to the Vees advantage. McDonald got a feed from Ethan Mann outside of the blue line as he jolted down the left wing into the Cranbrook zone, taking a defender wide and cutting to the net before beating Gartner past the glove side for his 5th goal of the season.
Penticton added three more goals in the 3rd period with Josh Nadeau leading the charge 2:09 into the final period. The Vees cycled below the goal line before Moravec moved his way to the right face-off circle and centered for Nadeau, who gathered the puck in the slot and slipped a shot through the legs of Gartner for his 10th marker of the season and pushed the Vees lead to 5-1.
Frank Djurasevic increased the Vees lead to 6-1 at the 7:22 mark of the 3rd period with a slap shot that snuck through the blocker side of Gartner for his 2nd goal of the season before Thomas Pichette concluded the scoring with a power play goal at the 9:59 mark of the final period with his 2nd goal of the campaign for a 7-1 lead, which would be the eventual final score.
Kaeden Lane turned aside 29 of the 30 shots thrown his way in his 7th win of the season while Evan Gartner made 31 saves on 38 shots in his 2nd loss of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 7-1 Vees
SHOTS ON GOAL: 38-30 Vees
VEES PP: 2/7
VEES PK: 4/4
1) Frank Djurasevic (1-1-2)
2) Casey McDonald (1-0-1)
3) Jarrod Smith (1-0-1)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Noah Leibl (0-0-0)
The Vees (11-2-0-0) will continue on a four-game stretch away from home as they head up Highway 97 to take on the West Kelowna Warriors (12-3-0-0) on Tuesday night at Royal LePage Place. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM with the game being broadcasted on Bounce Radio 800 as well as on BCHLTV.ca beginning with the pre-game show at 6:40 PM.