December 07, 2013 - 9:27 AM
MERRITT - Brad McClure was up to his old tricks in the third period, as the Vees Captain scored twice in the final twenty-minutes, including the game-winner with just forty-seconds left, in the Vees 5-4 win over the Merritt Centennials Friday.
The win is the Vees third in a row and second straight over the Cents’, as they sweep the home-and-home set. Friday marks the first time the Vees have won in a row since October 12th.
It was a great start for the visitors, as Brett Beauvais broke the ice on a Vees two-man advantage midway through the first period. Beauvais let go a wrist-shot from the middle of the blue-line, which eluded Russell Sanderson’s glove at 12:23; Beauvais’ fourth goal in as many games.
Anthony Conti doubled the Vees lead four-minutes later after he corralled a fluttering puck near the Cents’ goal. A point-shot rode up off a stick and into the air, which was then gloved down by Conti in the circle. He wasted little time putting the puck on the ice and then through the legs of Sanderson at 16:39.
Diego Cuglietta cut into the Vees lead on a delayed penalty in the second period. Jeff Wight was tripped up behind the Vees net but still managed to find Cuglietta in front, who beat Hunter Miska over the glove at 4:06.
The Cents’ turned up the pressure in the middle frame, outshooting the Vees 15-8 but Miska was excellent, stopping all but one shot, helping the Vees carry a to 2-1 lead into the intermission.
After there was just three goals scored in the first two periods, the Vees and Cents’ combined for six in the third.
The Vees power-play kicked things off early in the period. Steen Cooper restored the Vees two-goal lead, when he buried a rebound from the slot for his first in a Vees jersey at 3:13; Cooper smacked the rebound past Sanderson after Beauvais’ point-shot was blocked.
Merritt came right back, as Scotty Patterson scored his first of two one minute and twenty seconds after the Cooper marker. Patterson found the puck in the right-circle and as he was falling, he lifted a wrist-shot over a sprawled Miska; the Vees lead back down to one.
The Vees power-play flexed its muscle again near the eight-minute mark, when Brad McClure picked up his first of two in the period. Right off the face-off, McClure moved into the top of the right-circle and rifled a snap-shot over Sanderson’s shoulder at 7:58; the Vees going back ahead by two again.
However, just like the Cooper power-play goal, the Cents’ had an answer for the McClure tally. Five-minutes after McClure scored; Sam Johnson broke down the right-wing and snuck a wrist-shot through Miska’s arm at 12:36.
The Cents’ then used a power-play of their own to tie the game not even eighty-seconds later. Patterson bagged his second of the period from the left-circle, when his shot found its way through a maze of bodies in front of Miska; two Cents’ goal in one minute and nineteen seconds.
The game looked to be destined for overtime but Brad McClure had other ideas. The Vees Captain grabbed the puck on the left-wall, wheeled into the slot and zipped a wrist-shot over Sanderson’s blocker at 19:20; his league-leading twenty-fourth and game-winner.
FINAL SCORE: 5-4 Vees
Shots: 42-29 Centennials
Power-Plays: Vees 3-5 Centennials 1-4
Three Stars: 1) Sam Johnson 2) Sebastien Pare 3) Steen Cooper
Record: 19-7-1-3 (42 points) / Road: 8-5-1-1
The Vees remain in first place in the Interior Division with the victory, one point up on the Vernon Vipers. The Vees are now 10-3-0-1 against their own division and 3-0-0-1 against Merritt; points in all four meetings. Brett Beauvais and Brad McClure both finished with a team-high three points. Five players picked up points in the win, including Steen Cooper who finished with a goal and two points; he now has three points in his first two games with Penticton.
It’s a quick turnaround for the Vees, as they return home to the SOEC Saturday, December 7th, when they host the Surrey Eagles; puck drop is 6pm. It’s the first meeting between the two teams since game six of the 2013 Fred Page Cup Final.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013