Before the puck drop was dropped on Friday night, there was some unfinished business that needed to be taken care of at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Nearly 3,000 people at the game watched as the Penticton Vees unveiled their four B.C. Hockey League championship banners from the 2021-2022 season, including the franchise’s 13th Fred Page Cup title.
A mix of familiar and brand-new names stepped onto the ice for the annual home-opener player introduction ceremony, prior to the team’s first game of 2022-2023 against the Trail Smoke Eaters.
And then, it was back to business for the defending champs.
Brett Moravec scored twice, Josh Niedermayer added three helpers and Luca Di Pasquo made 21 saves as the Vees started the new campaign in style with a 7-1 victory against the Trail Smoke Eaters.
The Vees, which recorded their 17th win in a row dating back to the last season’s playoff run, more than doubled their opponent’s shot total.
Moravec may have opened the game’s scoring in the opening frame, but he also recorded the first goal across the entire BCHL for the 2022-2023 season.
Josh Nadeau, Spencer Smith, Callum Arnott, Dovar Tinling, and Aydar Suniev also found the back of the net in the Vees’ win.
Trail’s Ethan Warrener was handed a game misconduct for what the Vees called postgame a “one-man fight” early in the second period. The penalty resulted in seven consecutive minutes of power play time for Penticton.
Though recording his first-ever regular season win in the BCHL, Di Pasquo’s shutout bid came to an end late in the final frame when Adam Parsons broke the ice for the Smoke Eaters (0-1-0-0).
Representatives from the Vees told the Western News earlier this week that Harvee, the team’s mascot, was in danger of not making an appearance at the arena if nobody applied for the vacant position. Penticton’s beloved character, though, was indeed at the game Friday night entertaining those in attendance.
Penticton is back in action Saturday night when they host the Cranbrook Bucks.
Puck drop is set for 6 p.m.