PENTICTON - The Penticton Vees were looking to string back-to-back wins together on Friday, but went off track in the third period, as the Coquitlam Express scored twice in the final frame, en route to a 3-1 win over the Vees at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex.
The loss was just the Vees third in regulation in their last ten games and also snaps their mini two-game win streak on the road. The loss bumps the Vees out of first place in the Interior Division, as they drop down to third, one point back of Merritt and Vernon.
Express Captain Ryan Rosenthal scored both Coquitlam goals in the third period, including the game-winner early on a man-advantage. During Coquitlam’s third power-play, the puck was worked over to Rosenthal in the left-circle, who snapped a shot along the ice and past Olivier Mantha at 5:43; his 14th and team-leading sixth power-play goal.
Late in the game, with the Vees net empty in favour of an extra skater, Rosenthal made a nice play at his own blue-line, chipping the puck past the Vees point-man. He then was off on a partial breakaway and took the puck down ice and slid it into the open cage at 19:48; sealing just Coquitlam’s fourth win at home in 14 home games.
The ending wasn’t what the Vees envisioned but the start was, as Cody DePourcq put the visitors out ahead late in the opening period. Off a face-off in the Express zone, Brendan Lamont fired a pass from the corner across to an awaiting DePourcq at the post, who tipped-in his 10th at 16:48; DePourcq extended his point-streak to four games in the process.
Coquitlam took a page out of the Vees playbook, as they used an offensive zone draw to tie the game early in the second period. After a string of icing calls against the Vees, the puck was worked back to Zach Hodder at the blue-line. The Express rear-guard wired a slap-shot wide of the goal but the puck kicked back off the boards behind the net and out to the other side. Adam Rockwood found himself open at the post and banged in the Hodder rebound at 6:19; Rockwood snapping a 10 game goal-less drought in the process.
Max Coatta and Jack Ramsey teamed up for a great chance to put the Vees back ahead later in the second. Coatta was hit with a pass by Anthony Conti on a three-on-one rush but had his attempt was stopped by Gordie Defiel. Ramsey was right there for the rebound but couldn’t jam the loose puck past the Express netminder. Coatta and Ramsey ended up in the back of the Express net on that play; the puck didn’t.
Another opportunity arose in the third period, when the Vees started with a power-play that carried over from the second. The Vees nearly had a full two minutes to work with but couldn’t manufacture the equalizer. They struggled to find their footing after that, and ran into penalty trouble, as they only mustered four shots on net in the period.
FINAL SCORE: 3-1 Express
Shots: 25-21 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 0-2 Express 1-5
Three Stars: 1) Gordie Defiel 2) Zach Hodder 3) Ryan Rosenthal
The Vees record drops to 15-6-1-2 and their road record falls to 6-5-1-1 in the loss. With both the Centennials and Vipers winning Friday, the Vees fall back to third, with thirty-three points, one back of both the Cents’ and Vipers. Friday was the first time the Vees lost in regulation when leading after the first period (11-1-0-2), and was just their second loss when tied after forty minutes (4-2-0-0). Both Brett Beauvais and Brad McClure had their point streaks come to an end in the loss; Beauvais’ streak ending at seven games, McClure’s six.
The Vees will look return the favour to Coquitlam on home ice tomorrow, when they host the Express in the back half of the home-and-home series; puck drop at the SOEC is 6pm.