The Penticton Vees kept their perfect home record intact and pushed their win streak to seven games in their 2-1 victory over the Victoria Grizzlies at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Saturday, Oct. 18.
Liam Finlay scored the game-winner, his first career BCHL goal, late in the second period and the Vees came back from an early first period deficit, to keep their distance atop of the Interior Division.
Finlay was the last to touch the puck after a scramble ensued in the Grizzlies crease. Mitch Newsome was stopped point-blank by Sean Cleary but Finlay managed to find the bouncing puck and poke it underneath the Victoria goalie at 18:37 of the second period; his first career goal.
Saturday was a tight-checking contest, as both teams traded punches throughout the three periods. The Vees tried to extend their lead in the third but Cleary kept the Vees off the scoresheet. Tyson Jost had the Vees best chance midway through the third, when he intercepted the puck on the right-wing but his wrist-shot was snagged by Cleary’s glove.
The Grizzlies had their own chances in the third, as Hunter Miska was called upon to make a handful of critical stops, including one off of Dane Gibson in the slot in the late stages of the game.
Victoria opened the scoring back in the first period, as their power-play broke the goose-egg five-minutes in. Right off the ensuing face-off after a Vees penalty, Kevin Massy fed Jay Mackie for a one-timer from the right-circle; Mackie’s third coming at 5:07. That goal extended the Grizzlies streak to eight games, in which they have had at least one power-play goal.
The Vees used their first power-play of the game to tie things up five-minutes later. Demico Hannoun spotted Jost on the far side of the zone, and the 16-year-old forwarded muscled a one-timer past Cleary at 10:18; Jost’s seventh on the season.
Penticton and Victoria had their chances to break the deadlock in the middle stanza. The Vees’ best came on an odd-man rush when Lewis Zerter-Gossage just missed the net on the back-door pass; the goal flew off its moorings in the process after a Grizzlies forward crashed into the net.
Jay Mackie had the Grizzlies best chance in the middle frame when he almost forced a quick shot past Miska on the glove-side. Mackie briefly thought he had scored on the low shot inside the post but Miska got just enough of the puck to keep it out.
The Vees travel to Prince George to face the Spruce Kings on Thursday, Oct. 23 and return back to the SOEC to face rival Vernon Vipers on Saturday, Oct. 25.
-Submitted by Vees staff