VERNON - The Penticton Vees had to make a little extra room on their bus trip to Vernon. The Vees brought their brooms with them to Kal-Tire Place, as they swept the season series with the Vipers in a 4-1 win Friday night, Jan. 8.
Penticton won all six match ups against Vernon this season and in the process clinched a playoff spot in the Interior Division.
Easton Brodzinski, Tyson Jost, Owen Sillinger and Scott Conway scored for the Vees, who won their fourth straight game. Anthony Brodeur turned aside 34 shots, as he’s the first goaltender in the BCHL to hit the 20-win plateau.
Hunter Zandee scored the only Vipers goal, short-handed, and Andrew Shortridge made 41-saves in a losing effort, as Vernon’s record dropped to 6-14-0-2 against the Interior.
It was a goaltending duel through two periods, as Brodeur and Shortridge combined for 48-saves through a scoreless 40 minutes.
The drama unfolded two minutes into the third period when Vipers Captain Colton McCarthy was given a five-minute major penalty, after cross-checking David Eccles in the head. However, despite being a man up, the Vees surrendered the game’s first goal.
Short-handed, Hunter Zandee poked the puck the puck past the point-man at the Vernon line and raced back the other way. From the right-wing circle, Zandee wired a wrist-shot past Brodeur’s blocker on the far-side at 3:54 to break the ice.
It was a moment that could have been crippled the Vees but they quickly responded and got back one even terms.
Nineteen seconds after Vernon scored, the Vees came back into the Vernon end and Brodzinski finished off a pretty passing play down-low at 4:13; his team leading 14th power play marker. Nic Jones found Brodzinski with a shovel pass at the far-post for the tap-in.
That goal got the Vees back on track, as Jost grabbed them their first lead 45 seconds later. The Captain darted down the left-wing, cut to the goal and outwaited the Vernon goaltender, tucking the puck in on the far-side at 4:59; Jost picking up his 26th and second against Vernon this season.
After there was no scoring in the first 44 minutes, the two teams combined to score three goals in just 65 seconds in the third period.
Then Sillinger snapped a lengthy goal drought midway through the third to put the Vees up by two. Sillinger was in the right place, at the right time, as he found a rebound out front to score his eighth at 10:35. Luke Voltin’s shot from just inside the blue-line missed but caromed off the end boards and right to Sillinger at the side of the net, as he scored his first in 17-games.
Conway put the game on ice with his team-leading 38th into an empty-net at 18:18.
Final Score: 4-1 Vees
Shots: 45-35 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 2-3 Vernon 0-2
Three Stars: 1) Easton Brodzinski 2) Nic Jones 3) Andrew Shortridge
Brodzinski, Conway, Fabbro and Jones all finished with two points in the win. Conway finishes with 11 goals and 17 points in six games against Vernon. Friday’s win marks the first time under Head Coach Fred Harbinson, the Vees have swept the Vernon Vipers in a season series. They also improve their record to 21-3-0-0 against their own division.
Penticton (34-4-1-0) returns home tomorrow, looking for their fifth straight win when they face the Salmon Arm Silverbacks; puck drop is 6 pm. The Vees have yet to lose on home ice this season, as they sport a 19-0-1-0 record. Fans can get their tickets at the Valley First box office, or online at www.valleyfirsttix.com.