WEST KELOWNA - I’m sure a broom wasn’t on any of the Penticton Vees Christmas lists but it would have come in handy on Saturday night in West Kelowna. The Vees scored four third period goals en route to a 7-2 romp over the Warriors at Royal LePage Place, sweeping the weekend home-and-home series.
The Vees (28-5-2-1) scored twice in the first, once in the second and four times in the third, to beat the Warriors (18-12-0-5) for the second time in as many nights.
Patrick Newell paced the attack, collecting his first career BCHL hat-trick and the Vees got singles from Steen Cooper, Connor Chartier, Dakota Conroy and 16-year-old Affiliate Player Taylor Ward.
Hunter Miska was rock solid in net, kicking out 25 of 27 shots, picking up his league-best 19th win and he stopped all but four of the 56 shots he faced this weekend.
Newell opened the scoring in the first period when he went post and in from the left-circle at 5:34. Lewis Zerter-Gossage dropped the puck to Newell who beat Warriors call-up goaltender Michael Lenko for his 10th of the year.
Taylor Ward, who was playing in just his second ever BCHL game, doubled the Vees lead later in the first. Zerter-Gossage forced a turnover deep in the Warriors end and quickly centered the puck for Ward who bagged his first career BCHL goal at 13:26.
The Warriors scored early in the second but the Vees scored late to take a two-goal lead into the intermission. Jason Cotton found a loose puck in front of the Vees net and beat Miska on the glove-side at 1:59.
However, Newell picked up his second of the game with just five-seconds left in the second to restore the Vees two-goal lead. On the power-play, Newell, from behind the goal-line, flipped the puck back out front and it caromed off a defender and trickled into the net.
Cooper scored the first of what turned out to be four Vees goals in the third. From the bottom of the circle, Cooper put a shot through the wickets of the Warriors goaltender at 6:02.
The Warriors made some noise four-minutes later whilst down a man. Short-handed, Brett Mennear forced a turnover at the Warriors blue-line and scored on a short-handed breakaway at 10:56.
Chartier put the Vees back up by three four-minutes after the Mennear shorty. Chartier had a pass from Conroy go off his leg and through Lenko at 14:50; Chartier credited with his first goal in eight games.
Conroy then got in on the scoring shortly thereafter, as he grabbed the Vees their sixth goal at 16:41. Conroy intercepted an errant West Kelowna pass attempt right out front of the net and then put the puck past Lenko on a quick deke; Conroy’s third goal in as many games.
Newell capped things in the final moments of the third on a Vees power-play. Newell picked up his 12th goal of the year at 19:36 after wiring the puck home into an empty-net.
Final Score: 7-2 Vees
Shots: 31-27 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 2-4 Warriors 0-2
Three Stars: 1) Patrick Newell 2) Lewis Zerter-Gossage 3) Brett Mennear
The Vees go into the Christmas break with a 28-5-2-1 record, 12 points up on second place Vernon in the Interior Division. During the five-game stretch they were missing five and then six regulars, the Vees posted an impressive 2-1-2-0 record; six out of a possible 10 points.
The Vees aren’t back in action till Friday, January 2nd when they host the Vernon Vipers at the SOEC. Until then, the entire organization wishes all their fans a safe and happy holiday season and a happy New Year.