Adam Scheel made 32 saves as the Penticton Vees (15-5-1-2) took down the league-leading Trail Smoke Eaters (19-6-1-0) 2-1 on Wednesday night.
Scheel was busy in Trail right from puck drop as three of the first four shots he faced were quality scoring chances for the Smoke Eaters. His big saves helped the Vees stay in the game heading into their first power play of the night.
With the Smoke Eaters Ethan Martini in the box for elbowing, Taylor Ward took a pass at the top of the left circle from Jonny Tychonick and wired home his sixth of the season over Brandon Wells’ glove to give the Vees a 1-0 lead 7:44 into the period.
A little under six minutes later the Vees were back on the attack. Joe Leahy took a slap shot from the blue line with Owen Sillinger doing a fly by of the net. Sillinger got a piece of the puck, deflecting it over Wells for his 10th of the year to give Penticton a 2-0 lead.
Perhaps Scheel’s biggest save of the game came with just over a minute to go in the opening period. A bouncing puck at the Smoke Eaters blue line got over a pair of Vees sticks, resulting in a three-on-one rush.
Kale Howarth held the puck as the trailer before sending it to his left winger, who quickly fired it across to Scheel’s glove side trying to complete the tic-tac-toe play, but Scheel was able to move to his left and make the pad save to keep the Vees up 2-0.
Ross Armour got the only goal of the second period as his wrist shot from the slot beat a screened Scheel to cut the Vees lead to 2-1 after two. The goal gave Armour 40 points on the season, sole possession of first in the BCHL.
The first minute of the third period was played four on four before the Vees went to an abbreviated 51-second power play and were unable to capitalize. The officials seemingly put their whistles away in the third as no penalties were called for either team.
Massimo Rizzo had one of the better chances to increase the Vees lead in the third as he had a partial break coming down the right wing, but couldn’t get Wells to bite as he tried to slide the puck past the Smoke Eaters goalie with one hand.
With the net empty for the final 90 seconds, the Smokies pressured the Vees who bent, but didn’t break and held on for the 2-1 win.
The Vees now get set for a pair of home games this weekend as they welcome the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Friday night before a Fred Page Cup rematch against the Chilliwack Chiefs Saturday.