For the second time in as many years, the Penticton Vees have captured the B.C. Hockey League’s regular-season crown.
The Vees clinched the Ron Boileau Memorial Trophy on Friday night, March 3, with a 13-1 victory against the Merritt Centennials (11-31-3-2).
Penticton (42-3-0-1) used multi-goal efforts from Aydar Suniev, Thomas Pichette and Josh Nadeau at Nicola Valley Memorial Arena to win its seventh-straight contest.
Nadeau, the BCHL’s first star of the month for February, has now scored in his last six and has points in seven-straight games.
The Vees’ season-high 13-goal-night was also aided by Billy Norcross’ four-point performance.
With the win, Penticton has secured home-ice advantage throughout the 2023 BCHL playoffs.
Its offensive output on Friday was highlighted by a six-goal first period, with Hiroki Gojsic, Beanie Richter, Ryan Hopkins, Pichette, Suniev and Nadeau all finding the back of the net in the game’s opening 20 minutes.
Nadeau’s brother, Bradly, along with Norcross and Frank Djurasevic, also scored later in the contest.
Luca Di Pasquo’s shutout bid was ended by Merritt’s Aidan Lindblad in the third period.
The Vees’ previous high this season for goals in a game was 11, set on Nov. 18 against the West Kelowna Warriors.
Penticton is back in action Saturday night, March 4, when they visit the Trail Smoke Eaters (17-24-3-3) at Cominco Arena.
Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Trail and Merritt are the only squads in the Interior Division to not clinch a playoff spot, as of March 4.