Sweet 16 for Vees in shutout win over Merritt

Zachary Driscoll earns his first BCHL shutout, while Nicholas Jones gets his first goal as a Vee in win

MERRITT CENTENNIAL'S Brett Jewell tries to chip the puck in as the Penticton Vees Zachary Driscoll moves in to cover. Vees finish the second period up 1-0

MERRITT CENTENNIAL'S Brett Jewell tries to chip the puck in as the Penticton Vees Zachary Driscoll moves in to cover. Vees finish the second period up 1-0

Sweet 16.

The Penticton Vees earned their 16th straight win Friday night with a 3-0 win over the Merritt Centennials at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Shooters had no solution for the goalies in the first period with shots 9-8 in favour of Merritt. That changed in the second period with three minutes left when Vees’ newcomer Nicholas Jones was awarded a penalty shot. Going in on Colten Lancaster, Jones fired a wrist shot top corner off the inside post that quickly bounced to the other side of the net setting off the red light. It was the lone goal of the middle frame.

In the third period, the Vees penalty-kill was forced to go to work following penalty trouble putting the team down 5-on-three. The Vees killed those off and captain Tyson Jost made it 2-0 when he jumped on a rebound at the side of the Centennials net with chaos surrounding the play. Scott Conway earned an assist on the play and pushed his point streak to 16 games.

Dixon Bowen scored the Vees’ third goal on the power-play, which went one-for-two.

Zachary Driscoll made 27 saves for his first BCHL shutout.

“It’s awesome. First in almost a year,” said Driscoll. “It definitely feels good.”

The Vees goalie felt he played well managing his game and limiting rebounds. He credited his defence, which was without Gabe Bast for the 11th straight game, Dante Fabbro for three and Griffin Mendel is playing in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Helping out on defence was Osoyoos Coyotes blue liner Daniel Stone as an affiliate.

Driscoll said the Centennials had a couple of early chances right away and in the third period had the five-on-three.

“The penalty-kill did an awesome job.”

The Vees felt they got off to a slow start in the first and picked it up the rest of the way.

“Merritt played a good game,” said Driscoll.

The Vees improve to 16-1-0, while the Centennials drop to 6-12-0-1. Both teams meet again Saturday night in Merritt. The Vees conclude weekend action in Trail on Sunday.

Attendance at the SOEC was 2,343.