Five goals on 17 first period shots helped the Penticton Vees obliterate the Coquitlam Express 11-0 Saturday evening.
Jedd Soleway opened the scored 5:11 into the first when he was setup by Wade Murphy, who finished with a career-high seven points. Soleway’s goal was followed up by an unassisted tally by captain Troy Stecher, whose shot from just inside the blueline surprised Express goalie Cole Huggins. His night was over after 30 minutes and seven goals allowed. Travis Blanleil, who made his return after being out with an injury for five weeks, finished off a nice pass from Cam Amantea behind the net. Soleway then potted his second goal, this time on the power play giving the Vees a 4-0 lead 9:19 into the match. Cody DePourcq rounded out the opening period onslaught. Vees goalie Chad Katunar faced just three shots that period and 15 the last two.
In the second period, the Vees struck six times, the first two by Wade Murphy, who now has 20 goals. Sam Mellor, Brad McClure, James de Haas and Amantea tallied the other four.
“It was a good game to come back in,” said Blanleil, who was happy to get his fifth goal of the season. “A big win for the guys. It’s always nice to get back out there and get a goal right away. It gives you a little bit of confidence on the return.”
As for the Vees’ play, Blanleil said they simply executed their systems and buried their chances. Other Vees having multi-point efforts were Stecher with three points, McClure with two, Amantea two, de Haas two, Louie Nanne three and Sam Mellor with two.
Express coach-GM Jon Calvano said his team was coming off a difficult loss to the Vernon Vipers the night before. Having a 3-1 lead with seven minutes remaining, the Vipers score three unanswered goals in three minutes for a 4-3 win.
“It was just tough emotionally, mentally after last night to recover from that loss,” said Calvano.
Being short manned of five regulars didn’t help and two of their nine forwards have the flu.
“One was an affiliate player but I mean no excuse,” he said. “Penticton is a first class program and obviously they showed it today.”
Calvano said it was just looking at the level of how hard certain guys competed.
“It’s demoralizing when at one point in the game they have more goals than we have shots on net,” he said. “Chalk that up as a learning experience.”
Ice chips: The video of Murray Maxwell stealing the zamboni was produced by staff from Global Spectrum and was shown during the Vees game today to help promote the Hogs versus Hosers charity game, partnered with Valley First that will be held Feb. 8 when the Merritt Centennials visit. The goal is to have 3,500 fans attend the Vees’ game. That number of fans is also required to get Maxwell out of jail.