PENTICTON - It took longer than they would have liked, but the West Kelowna Warriors (19-12-1-2) finally got the better of the Penticton Vees (24-8-1-3). Carl Hesler spear-headed a three-goal second period rally, in the Warriors 3-1 win over the Vees Saturday night at the SOEC.
Dating back to last year, it’s the Warriors first win in six tries against their South Okanagan nemesis, as they snap a five-game losing streak against Penticton. Their regular season win against Penticton was back on December 28th, 2012.
It was the hosts, not the visitors opening the scoring, as Brad McClure put the Vees out ahead ten-minutes into the first. With two Warriors in the penalty-box, McClure took a cross-zone pass and wired a half-clapper over Andy Desautels right-shoulder at 10:19; McClure bagging his team-leading 29th.
The Vees had a gorgeous chance to double their lead late in the first but Brendan Lamont was robbed by Desautels at the post. Lamont drove the net and was hit with a pass from the right-wing but his one-timer was kicked-out by Desautels right leg.
Carl Hesler got the Warriors back on even footing in the opening minutes of the second. Hesler pounced on a juicy rebound in the slot just ninety-two seconds into the middle frame; his first goal in seven games.
Seven-minutes later the Warriors grabbed their first lead of the game, and from an unlikely source. Adam Osczevski tipped-in a pass from the corner between Hunter Miska and the post. Brett Mennear was first to a dump-in in the corner and threw the puck back to Osczevski, who surprised Miska with a quick redirect at 8:35.
Hesler was at it again late in the second, as he again found a rebound in front of the net. Osczevski drove wide down the right-wing, before cutting to the goal. He was stopped by Miska at the post but the rebound slid across to an awaiting Hesler, who stuffed in his second of the period at 17:39.
The Vees tried to mount a comeback attempt in the third period and appeared to get within a goal but controversy struck. Max Coatta looked to have cleaned-up a rebound in the Warriors crease on Vees power-play eleven-minutes in. The referee initially called it a goal but after a discussion with the other referee and linesman, deemed the puck had been kicked-in.
Coatta took the original shot that glanced off Cam Amantea in front and went through Desautels legs. The puck looked to have crossed the goal-line before being swept back into the crease. That rebound was then shoveled into the net by Coatta. Two potential goals; both didn’t count.
Final Score: 3-1 Warriors
Shots: 28-20 Warriors
Power-Plays: Vees 1-3 Warriors 0-4
Three Stars: 1) Carl Hesler 2) Adam Osczevski 3) Andy Desautels
Record: 24-8-1-3 / Home: 13-3-0-2
The loss snaps the Vees season-high eight game win streak and their four-game home winning streak. With his goal Friday, Brad McClure is one-point back of Salmon Arm’s Landon Smith for top spot in the BCHL scoring race. The Vees power-play goal in the first was their sixth in four games against West Kelowna this season; the penalty-kill is a perfect 17-17 against the Tribe. Tonight marks the Vees first regulation home-ice loss to an Interior Division opponent; they’re now 6-1-0-1.
The Vees and Warriors go right back at it tomorrow, Saturday, December 21st at Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna; puck drop is 7pm. It’s the Vees final game before the Christmas break, as they don’t hit the ice again until January 3rd.