The Penticton Vees concluded the shortened 2021 BCHL pod season Sunday (May 9) night in winning fashion against the Cranbrook Bucks at the South Okanagan Events Centre (SOEC), securing the top spot in the BCHL standings in the process.
The Vees continued their season-long dominance of the three-team Penticton pod division Sunday, posting their 18th win of the 20 game regular with a 3-1 victory over the Bucks.
With Sunday’s win, the Vees finish the 2021 pod season with a final record of 18-1-0-1.
Sunday night at the SOEC saw the Vees continue their winning ways over first-year franchise Cranbrook.
The Vees were all over the puck inside the offensive zone to begin the game, throwing plenty of rubber at Bucks netminder Jay Thomson.
Penticton’s Stefano Bottini was the first to beat Thomson as he rifled a shot from the slot past the glove side at the 10:44 mark of the first period for his fourth goal of the season.
Jacob Quillan put the Vees up 2-0 just 28 seconds after Bottini’s goal as he redirected a Ben Wozney point shot past Thomson for his 13th goal of the season and sixth straight game with a goal.
Penticton finished the first period with a 16-3 shot advantage as they maintained pressure in the offensive zone through most of the opening frame.
The Vees continued pushing the pace early in the second period with forward Tristan Amonte putting Penticton up 3-0 just over a minute into the middle stanza.
Amonte’s goal came on the Vees second power play of the game as Wozney got a pass from Luc Wilson and sent a shot on net that Amonte swept through the legs of Thomson for his sixth goal of the season.
The Bucks got themselves on the scoreboard with their sixth shot of the game just under seven minutes into the period as Quaid Anderson had a Noah Leibl pass deflect off of his right skate past Vees goaltender Kaeden Lane to cut the Vees lead to 3-1.
The Vees continued their offensive zone pressure throughout the second period, outshooting the Bucks 15-4 in the period and by a total of 31-7 after 40 minutes of play.
The Bucks came out strong in the final frame of their inaugural season, but despite outshooting Penticton 11-9 in the period weren’t able to get a puck past Lane who shut the door to secure the Vees’ 3-1 victory and Penticton’s spot atop the BCHL standings.
Lane turned aside 17 of the 18 shots he faced in his 15th win of the season while Jay Thomson stopped 37 of the 40 shots thrown his way in his 5th loss of the campaign.
Watch the game’s full highlights below:
With the pod season now behind them the Vees will hand out team awards Monday night at the SOEC. The event will be streamed through the Vees Facebook and YouTube pages as well as on Shaw Spotlight.
Traditionally held after the last regular season home game on the ice, this year’s event will remain inside the SOEC but with no fans in the building. Fan voting for the awards closed Sunday night.
A total of 13 awards will be handed out Monday, including:
- Unsung Hero (sponsored by Lang Vineyards)
- Most Improved Player (sponsored by Sherwood Signs & Graphics)
- Best Conditioned Athlete (sponsored by Murray GM)
- Robert Skinner Courage Award (sponsored by Canadian Tire)
- Most Inspirational (sponsored by Tim Hortons)
- Most Sportsmanlike (sponsored by Grizzly Excavating)
- Academic Achievement Award (sponsored by Home Hardware)
- Vees on Vees Most Popular Player (sponsored by Kirk Chamberlain)
- Fan Favourite (sponsored by Elliott Row 4Her 4 Him)
- Leading Scorer (sponsored by Game Time Sports)
- Best Defenseman (sponsored by Penticton Alumni Hockey Club)
- Rookie of the Year (sponsored by BC Hockey Hall of Fame)
- Most Valuable Player (sponsored by Making Cents Bookkeeping)