Penticton Vees forward Wade Murphy fights for space in front of Soo Thunderbirds goalie John Kleinhans with Thunderbirds forward Kevin Michelcavage. The Thunderbirds won the opening game of the RBC Cup 2-1.

Penticton Vees forward Wade Murphy fights for space in front of Soo Thunderbirds goalie John Kleinhans with Thunderbirds forward Kevin Michelcavage. The Thunderbirds won the opening game of the RBC Cup 2-1.

Vees downed 2-1 by Soo Thunberbirds

Vees lost opening game in RBC Cup 2-1 to the Soo Thunderbirds

Submitted by Fraser Rodgers

HUMBOLDT — The Penticton Vees dropped their opening game of the 2012 RBC Cup 2-1 to the Soo Thunderbirds.

The Vees (0-1) next play the host Humboldt Broncos on Sunday evening. Soo netminder John Kleinhans was sensational on turning aside 44 shots in the win. Kleinhans stopped 34 of 35 shots in the last two periods. Jake Wright opened the scoring in the first period for the T-Birds. Wright found a loose puck in the Vees crease and shoveled it over the goal-line at 9:48. The Vees pressed in the closing minutes but couldn’t equalize and went into the intermission trailing by one. In the second, with tremendous pressure in the Soo zone, the Vees found the equalizer off a goal-mouth scramble. Joey Benik banked a shot from behind the goal-line off Kleinhans at 18:04 to break the goose-egg. Benik was stopped twice before the goal but was not deterred and tracked down the puck before putting it off Kleinhans. The Vees controlled the second period as they continually pressured the T-Birds end but only had the one goal. In the third period the Vees poured on the pressure but couldn’t break the deadlock. Midway through the third period James Delayer scored off the rush on a T-Birds power play at 11:26 restoring Soo’s one-goal lead. Delayer skated in on the right-wing and his shot from the outside beat Vees goalie Mike Garteig over the blocker. In the final minutes the Vees continued to attack the T-Birds net but couldn’t get the equalizer. In the final seconds and with the extra-attacker, the Vees swarmed the Soo goal but nothing materialized.

For more Vees coverage during the RBC Cup, check www.pentictonwesternnews.com.