PENTICTON - The Penticton Vees recent goal scoring struggles seem like a distant member now, as they scored another five goals Saturday, cruising to a 5-2 win over the Trail Smoke Eaters at the SOEC.
After only mustering four goals last week, the Vees put up 11 in a weekend sweep of the Smoke Eaters and Vernon Vipers.
The win keeps the Vees four points ahead of second place West Kelowna, as they scored a 5-2 win in Alberni Valley Saturday; the Tribe still have two games in hand.
It took nearly fifteen-minutes for the Vees to open the scoring Friday but Saturday they got on the scoreboard just sixty-eight seconds into the first. Trail goaltender Adam Todd misplayed the puck behind his net and Erik Benoit centered out front to Steen Cooper for the tap-in; Cooper’s first in six games.
Trail wasted little time responding, as they evened things up forty-three seconds later on the game’s first power-play. Dylan Bowen ripped a one-timer over Hunter Miska’s arm from the left-circle at 1:51; Trail cashing-in 10 seconds into the man-advantage.
Brad McClure put his team ahead again five-minutes later, when he cleaned up the garbage in front of the Trail Net. Chris Rygus had his wrist-shot from the blue-line knocked down in the crease but McClure stuffed in the rebound at 6:09; his team-leading 34th.
Shane McColgan made it a two-goal lead just under five-minutes into the middle frame when he buried his own rebound on a breakaway. McColgan snuck in behind the Trail defense but had his wrist-shot stopped but quickly batted in his rebound at 4:45; his second in as many games.
The lead bulged to three when Nic Pierog was the last to touch a double-deflected point-shot by Alex Coulombe. McClure was the first to get a piece of the puck but it was Pierog getting just enough of his stick on it to tip it past Todd at 16:50; his first in five games.
The two teams traded goals in the third period, Adam Wheeldon cutting into the Vees lead four and a half minutes into the frame. Dylan Mascarin, from the left-circle, found a streaking Wheeldon at the far-post for the tap-in at 4:38. Trail narrowing the gap to two but that’s as close as they would come.
Ben Dalpe put the game out of reach moments later, as he went hard to the net and was hit with a pass from Jack Ramsey. Dalpe took a feed from the left-wing by Ramsey, as he was busting down the middle of the zone. Dalpe muscled the puck through Todd at 6:01; Dalpe’s 16th and third point of the weekend.
Final Score: 5-2 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 0-2 Smoke Eaters 1-3
Three Stars: 1) Brad McClure 2) Ben Dalpe 3) Erik Benoit
The Vees mastery of Trail continues, as they’ve run their record to a perfect 5-0-0 against their Interior Divisional brethren. The Vees bump up their record to 29-11-2-4 and their home record moves to 15-4-0-3; they’re now 16-7-1-2 against the Interior. Brad McClure and Steen Cooper led the way offensively, as the two each finished with a goal and an assist. Erik Benoit also hit double-digits, as he picked up two helpers in the win; in all eleven Vees picked up points in the win.
The Vees are now off for the next six days, as they don’t return to the ice until next Friday, January 31st, when they welcome the Salmon Arm Silverbacks back to the SOEC; puck drop is 7pm. It’s the start of a weekend home-and-home series between the two, as the return leg goes one night later at the Shaw Centre. Tickets for next Friday’s game are available at the Valley First box office, or online at www.valleyfirsttix.com.