Hours before playing their final BCHL exhibition game of the season, the Penticton Vees announced a trade.
The Vees traded defenceman Cory Babichuk (98) and forward Desi Burgart (98) to the Surrey Eagles.
Burgart, a Vancouver product, played 37 games with the Vees last season putting up four goals and six points. Burgart missed some action last season with injuries.
The Vees recruited Babichuk, 18, from the CAC Edmonton Canadians. Babichuk was the captain of the Canadians and collected 21 points in 30 games.
On the ice Friday night, the Vees didn’t leave their fans empty handed.
Playing their final home game until October, Penticton gave their fans plenty to cheer about in their 7-0 thumping of the Trail Smoke Eaters in BCHL pre-season action Saturday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
It was the sendoff the Vees wanted for their fans, as they finished with a perfect 3-0 record at the SOEC in the pre-season.
Mitch Meek led the way, racking up a game-high five assists. Nic Jones and Taylor Ward each scored twice, and Ty Amonte, Grant Cruikshank and Chris Klack also lit the lamp. Mat Robson recorded the goose-egg stopping 18 shots for his third win in as many starts.
With their next home game not until their home opener, Oct. 1, the Vees put on quite the performance Friday. The power-play struck for four goals on five chances, and they outshot the Smokies 23-1 in the second period alone.
Jones scored the Vees first two goals in the first period and nearly in identical fashion. He broke the scoreless tie just past the five-minute mark, potting a rebound at the side of net. Then, seven-minutes later, he did the same thing cleaning up a rebound at the top of the crease.
The power-play got cooking in the second, as the Vees scored on their first two opportunities. Taylor Ward made it 3-0 six-minutes into the frame, ripping a one-timer through the goalie’s arm from the circle. In between two power-play goals, Chris Klack made it 4-0. Klack wired a shot underneath the cross-bar from the slot at 7:41. The man-advantage struck two-minutes after that, as Grant Cruikshank let go a bullet from the right wing that found its way through a sliver of an opening at 9:46.
Though he didn’t see much rubber, Robson made the most of his opportunities. His only recorded save in the middle frame was a spectacular one at that, sliding cross-crease to stop Ross Armour with his arm on the goal line.
The power-play tacked on two more in the opening moments of the third period after the Smokies ran into trouble. With two Smokies in the box, Amonte pushed the lead to 6-0 after he slid in a rebound from the goal line, 43 seconds into the frame. Ward was at it again, picking up his second of the game 20 seconds later on another rebound goal.
The Vees outshot Trail 49-18. These two teams go at it again Saturday in Trail, in the back half of the weekend home-and-home series. Face-off is 6 pm. The Vees open the BCHL regular season in Prince George on Sept. 10.