Make it eight.
The Penticton Vees have notched eight straight in the BCHL, the latest a 3-1 win at the South Okanagan Events Centr.
Two factors made this Wednesday night match a battle. First, they had to find a way to solve Langley Rivermen goalie Bo Didur, who finished with 37 saves to earn the second star, and second, they were forced to push through officiating. Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson said his team had strong defensive play and puck possession.
“We had the puck a lot of the night. It was a little mystifying that we were down three power plays to none going into the third period, considering we had the puck the whole night,” said Harbinson, whose team was handed a two-minute bench minor midway through the third period. “It just seemed it was the way it was going to go. I thought our guys stuck with the process. We found a way even playing through other things outside the team we were playing against. I thought we did a great job.”
While talking about how his team pressured the Rivermen during the second period, that play continued into the third allowing them to getting bounces for goals.
“I talked to our guys about how we were going to have to fight through different adverse things tonight,” said Harbinson. “I thought we were a great team. I thought that the team that we went against was really good and then there was something else that was really awful in the game.”
Grant Cruikshank, the game’s first star, beat Didur to give the Vees a 1-0 lead at 10:18 of the first period.
It wasn’t until 5:30 into the third frame that the Vees would get to Didur again. Cooper Leitch put the home side on the power play with a slashing infraction. Chris Klack started the play from the corner, then fed Ty Barnstable, who found Taylor Ward at the side of the net who hammered home his third of the season.
“I had to pick up my stick I was so excited,” said Ward, who got a big hug from Barnstable. “It was a great pass from Barney over there. I just had an open net. It was a collection of great plays by my teammates.”
Ward said they always talk about finishing their routes on the man advantage. His job was to stay low on the left side. Following a battle in the corner, Barnstable found him backdoor with a great feed.
“We had been playing hard for it. It was good to see,” said Harbinson.
The Vees then sealed the victory with Jonny Tychonick’s second of the season on a shot from the point, again on the man advantage. Ty Amonte and Jones collected the assists.
It wasn’t a busy night for Vees goalie Mat Robson. Of the 22 shots he faced, nine came midway through the game. Nearly half, 10, of the Rivermen’s shots came in the third period.
Heading to Langley on Friday for a rematch, Harbinson said that will be a tougher task.
While the Rivermen finished with an edge in power play opportunities, four, they didn’t score on any of them.