Joey Benik scored the winning goal as the Penticton Vees edged the Woodstock Slammers 2-1.
Benik’s goal, which keeps the Vees’ RBC Cup hopes alive, came 2:41 into the third period on the power play.The Vees erased a 1-0 deficit as Ryan Reilly scored on a setup by Troy Stecher to tie the game. During the final half of the period, the Vees’ penalty killing units were forced to kill three straight penalties to Wade Murphy, Reilly and Benik all for high sticking. Vees goalie Michael Garteig finished with 20 saves in the winning effort. Slammers goalie Matt Murphy turned aside 39 shots.
“I thought we played well. For whatever reason we weren’t able to score a lot of goals,” said Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson. “Shots are once again double. To hold a good offensive team like Woodstock to 21 shots when they had eight power plays, I thought our defensive game was strong.”
After taking three consecutive high sticking penalties, Harbinson stressed the importance of staying out of the box.
“We had a couple of high sticking penalties, penalties in the offensive zone we can’t have,” he said. “It is something we have to adjust going into tonight’s game.”
The Vees’ next game is Wednesday against is against the Portage Terriers.
“It’s do or die. It’s another Game 7,” said Harbinson. “We win, we probably have a chance to finish in second. If we lose we’re probably out. We know they have a good goaltender. They are a hard working team, they went seven games with Humboldt.”
Harbinson said they need to push the tempo and dictate the pace of the game. The Vees will also be without defenceman Kyle Beaulieu for another game.
“The ruling here is that a five-minute major in the last 10 minutes means you get two games,” said Harbinson, who has trouble with that. “In antoher game, a Portage player hit a Woodstock player from behind and knocked him out for the season and all he got was one game. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me.”
After three games, the host Humboldt Broncos are first at 3-0, followed by the Slammers at 1-2-0, the Vees at 1-2-0, the Terriers at 1-1-0 and the Soo Thunderbirds at 1-2-0.
For more Vees coverage in the RBC Cup, check www.pentictonwesternnews.com and Friday’s paper.