The Penticton Vees used strong efforts from Matteo Costantini and Quinn Hutson to help them to their fourth consecutive Okanagan Cup victory in a 3-2 shootout win over the West Kelowna Warriors on Saturday (Oct. 3) night at Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna.
Special teams played a big factor in Saturday night’s game after the two teams failed to score on a combined 12 total power-plays in their previous Friday match.
But it was the power-play that clicked early Saturday night for West Kelowna as John Evans tallied a power-play marker at the 11:30 mark of the opening period to open the scoring. Before that goal the Vees had not trailed at any point in the Okanagan Cup.
On a two-man advantage, Evans took a pass from Tyson Jugnauth at the bottom of the left face-off circle and beat Vees goaltender Yaniv Perets with a one-time shot past the glove to give West Kelowna a 1-0 lead.
Just over four minutes later, it would be the Vees on a two-man advantage of their own as the hot hand of Quinn Hutson continued with his fifth goal of the Okanagan Cup to even the score at 1-1. Matteo Costantini fired a pass from the right-wing face-off circle to the glove side as Hutson one-timed a puck past Warriors goaltender Zach Bennett on the glove side to even the score at the 15:31 mark of the opening period.
Before the period came to a close, the Vees used another power play to continue the momentum and get their first lead of the game as Costantini found the back of the net, giving him a goal and an assist in the opening frame. Hutson had the puck in the slot and feathered a pass to the left-wing where Costantini fired a shot through Bennett for his second goal of the Okanagan Cup.
After the two teams traded chances throughout the middle stanza, John Evans eventually buried his second of the game for the Warriors to knot the game at two goals apiece heading into the third period.
Both teams clamped down in the third period with each side throwing plenty of rubber on the net, the Warriors pushed 13 shots on Perets, who appeared to be dialled in for a second straight night.
Meanwhile, West Kelowna goaltender Bennett turned aside each of the 9 shots the Vees mustered in the final frame, sending the two teams to overtime for the first time of the Okanagan Cup.
The Vees controlled play in the extra frame but were unable to get one past Bennett, sending the game to a shootout.
After failed attempts from both teams opening shooters, Quinn Hutson and Elan Bar Lev Wise of the Warriors traded goals in the second round of the shootout, setting the stage for a game-winner from Matteo Costantini. Costantini made a nifty move before finishing through the legs of Bennett to seal the win for the Vees, improving their Okanagan Cup record to 4-0-0.
Yaniv Perets turned aside 30 of the 32 shots thrown in his direction, including two of the three shooters faced in the shootout in his third victory of the Okanagan Cup. At the other end, Zach Bennett stopped 43 of the 45 shots for the Warriors along with one of the three shooters he faced in the shootout in his first Okanagan Cup loss.
The Vees (4-0-0-0) will play their third opponent in the Okanagan Cup as they host the Vernon Vipers (0-2-0-0) on Wednesday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Puck drop is slated for 6 p.m. with the game available via a free live audio stream at mixlr.com/pentictonvees as well as pay-per-view on HockeyTV.com.