After suffering their first loss of the year Wednesday, the Penticton Vees bounced back in a big way Thursday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Ryan Upson’s first BCHL hat-trick propelled the Vees to a 7-1 stomping of the Cranbrook Bucks to improve their record to 7-1-0-0 in this abbreviated pod season.
Both teams were held off the score sheet in the first period, which marks the fourth straight opening period in the Vees’ season series where no one has found the back of the net.
Vees goaltender Kaleb McEachern would make 20 saves in his second start of the year to earn the victory.
The shortage of scoring came to an end in the second period as the Vees scored a total five goals in under five minutes to bust the game wide open.
However, it was the Bucks who would get on the scoreboard first with a shorthanded goal from Noah Leibl.
But from there it was all Vees.
The onslaught of Vees markers began at the 4:25 mark of the middle stanza with Ryan Upson collected his first of two second period goals to even the score.
About a minute later, Ben Wozney doubled the Vees lead to make it 2-1 with his second goal of the season.
Tom Richter was next up for the Vees soon after, also scoring his second of the year to make it 3-1.
The Vees were then sent to the power-play where Luc Wilson added to the lead with his team-leading seventh goal of the season to but his team up three at the 8:06 mark of the second period.
Upson’s second goal of the period capped of the Vees middle period onslaught. Upson’s second of the night and third of the year came just four minutes and 23 seconds after his first goal, sending the Vees into the third period with a 5-1 lead.
Stefano Bottini was the next Vee to get in on the action, jamming home his second of the season to give the Vees a 6-1 lead.
Upson eventually ended the night in style, scoring his third goal of the game for his first career BC Hockey League hat trick at the 18:08 of the final frame to give Penticton a late 7-1 lead, and that is how things would end.
In his second straight start, Kaleb McEachern turned aside 20 of the 21 shots thrown his way in his second win of the season. While Jay Thomson stopped 31 of the 38 shots he faced for the Bucks and took his second loss of the year.
FINAL SCORE: 7-1 Vees
SHOTS ON GOAL: 38-21 Vees
1) Ryan Upson (3-1-4)
2) Tom Richter (1-2-3)
3) Ben Wozney (0-2-2)
The Vees (7-1-0-0) next hit the ice when they will be looking to get some revenge on the Trail Smoke Eaters (3-4-0-0) on Saturday night at the SOEC.
Puck drop is slated for 6 p.m. with the game broadcasted live on EZ Rock AM 800 as well as on HockeyTV.com and Shaw Spotlight.