First period surge powers Vees to win over cents'

Image Credit: Penticton Vees

PENTICTON, BC –Eric Benoit acquainted himself nicely to his new surroundings, as the newcomer picked up three assists, in the Penticton Vees 6-2 win over the Merritt Centennials Sunday afternoon at the SOEC.

With the win, the Vees (25-9-2-3) restore their six-point cushion atop of the Interior Division standings. The Cents’ (19-16-3-2) meanwhile suffered their second straight loss and come out of the weekend with just a single point.

Two days after scoring just once in a tie with the Cents’, the Vees managed to score three in the first twenty-minutes. Cody DePourcq got things going quickly, scoring just 13 seconds into the game, after he tucked in a wraparound. DePourcq was first to a loose puck behind the Merritt net and managed to curl around the goal and slide the puck into the open cage for his 14th and first in nine games.

After leveling Jason Bird with a solid hit, Travis Blanleil dropped the gloves with Scott Patterson, as the two engaged in a spirited tussle. That scrapped seem to give the Vees a boost, as they went on to score twice more before the period was out.

They doubled their lead when Erik Benoit forced a turnover on the wall, who then spotting Jack Ramsey in the slot. Ramsey settled the puck before sneaking a wrist-shot underneath the arm of Nathan Alalouf at 4:09.

Penticton kept coming and Ben Dalpe pushed the lead to three, when he was set up by Brad McClure for a one-timer in the slot. McClure raced down a dump-in and from the corner, spun a pass out to Dalpe who laced the puck over Alalouf’s arm at 16:55

Then it was McClure going from play-maker to goal-scorer early in the second on a power-play. McClure buried a pretty cross-ice saucer pass from Steen Cooper, who spotted the Vees Captain open in the left-circle; McClure’s 30th coming at 3:56.

Merritt stopped the bleeding, somewhat, midway through frame, when Daniel Nachbaur got the Cents’ on the scoresheet. Nachbaur cleaned up his own rebound in front of Olivier Mantha at 12:12 to close the gap to three.

Mantha then stopped Jason Bird on a penalty-shot after the Cents’ defenseman was tripped up on a partial breakaway. Bird tried to squeeze a shot through Mantha’s legs but fumbled his attempt.

McClure and Travis Blanleil teamed up to restore the Vees four-goal lead in the final minutes of the second. Fresh out of the penalty-box, Blanleil centered for a streaking McClure, who lunged out with one hand on his stick to poke the puck past Alalouf; McClure’s second of the afternoon coming at 18:46.

Both teams traded goals in the third, the Cents’ scoring first, bagging their second and final goal of the afternoon on a seeing-eye point-shot by Shane Poulsen at 8:13.

Steen Cooper quickly responded, capitalizing on a Cents’ turnover at their blue-line. Erik Benoit forced another turnover and sent Cooper in on a partial breakaway. Cooper pumped-off a wrist-shot that zipped over the shoulder of the Cents’ goaltender and quickly in and out of the net at 9:05. Merritt protested that the puck never did cross the goal-line but their complaints fell on deaf ears.

Editor's Note in response to allegations from Vernon RCMP Supt. Jim McNamara
Editor’s note: • Watch shifts at the Vernon detachment have fallen to as low as three roadable officers. • The department suffers from chronic understaffing. • Sources, who we trust and who have knowledge of the s

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