It’s pretty simple how the Penticton Vees want to play the Nanaimo Clippers at Frank Crane Arena Friday.
“Play a heavy game. Don’t give them anything,” said Vees forward Ty Amonte. “Try and make them respect us out there.”
On the second of a three-game road trip that began in Merritt Wednesday with a 4-2 win, and concludes Saturday in Victoria, the Vees look to leave Nanaimo with two points. The Clippers are 10-12-3-0 at home.
Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson told the Merritt Herald that they wanted to re-establish who they are in Merritt.
“It’s all part of the process. So far so good on the road trip,” said Harbinson. “Now we got to go to Nanaimo.”
In Merritt, Taylor Sanheim’s fifth goal snapped a Vees four-game winless skid. Along with Sanheim, Amonte, Ryley Risling and Griffin Mendel scored. The Vees led 2-0 after one and 3-0 through 40-minutes. Mat Robson picked up his 28th win stopping 32 shots. It’s the Vees’ first road win since Nov. 22 against the West Kelowna Warriors.
Harbinson said the win was a good way to kick off February.
“Absolutely. No question. This is never an easy place to win, for sure. I was really proud of how hard our guys played through the whole game.”
READ MORE: VIDEO: Vees comeback falls short in Merritt
Amonte got the Vees on the scoreboard first at 14:50 with his 13th goal of the season and first in 10 games.
“It felt good. It was really big for me,” said Amonte, the game’s second star. “I had some ice time taken away, so it was nice to finally get back in the swing of things with Owen (Sillinger) and Grant (Cruikshank) to help the team win putting some points on the board.”
Amonte took a cross-ice pass from Cruikshank and fired home the backdoor pass. The goal came after the Vees killed off back-to-back penalties. Harbinson said the success of the special teams was key, especially with the team being a bit fragile.
“When we took that too many men penalty – if they would have scored, it could have changed the game a little bit. Instead, I thought our guys did a good job, and we were able to find that first goal,” said Harbinson.
Ten seconds after Amonte’s goal, Risling capitalized on a turnover by the Centennials just below their goal line as he caught Merritt goalie Jacob Berger out of position beating him five-hole. The goal is Risling’s 14th of the season after returning from a four-game suspension.
“It was very big that Nash’s line came up with that big goal that Ryley scored,” said Amonte. “That really had us going in the right direction.”
Sanheim added the eventual winner to give the Vees a 3-0 lead 4:38 into the second frame.
The Centennials got their first goal at 4:21 of the third by Tyler Ward. Henry Cleghorn made it 4-2 with a power play tally at 15:12.
Vees Notes: Defenceman Mitch Meek did not play after sustaining a broken finger in practice Tuesday; he’ll be out for the remainder of the regular season.
–Written with files from Fraser Rodgers and Ian Webster of the Merritt Herald.