The Penticton Vees are looking to make it a baker’s dozen when they head to Vernon Saturday night after winning their 12th in a row at home Friday.
The soaring Vees (22-5-1-2) continued their ride to the top of the BC Hockey League standings with a 5-2 win over the visiting West Kelowna Warriors (17-14-1-0) at the South Okanagan Events Centre in front of nearly 3,000 fans.
A victory Saturday over the Vipers (22-7-1-4) who squeaked past Salmon Arm 2-1 Friday, would move Penticton into a tie with Vernon however the Vees go into the match with four games in hand.
In Friday’s contest a fast-paced opening 20 minutes saw the teams knotted at a goal apiece after a late goal by Warriors Jared Marino tied the game.
Marino’s goal was an individual effort as he drove along the left-wing goal line before shovelling a backhand chance on net.
Adam Scheel made the save, but couldn’t track the rebound before Marino was able to knock it in with just 43 seconds left in the period. Massimo Rizzo had given the Vees the lead 7:22 into the match after deflecting Joe Leahy’s shot inside the left circle.
It didn’t take the Vees long in the second to regain their lead. Rizzo was planted on the right-wing goal line and spotted Nicky Leivermann pinching in from the left point. Rizzo fired a bullet across the ice, and while Leivermann’s wrist shot was stopped by Nik Amundrud, the rebound bounced off Taylor Ward’s leg and into the net just 1:26 into the period.
The Vees thought they had extended their lead after Owen Sillinger jumped on a loose puck in front of the net, but it was waved off for goalie interference after originally being called a goal.
Penticton would add to their lead before the second came to an end as Cassidy Bowes found a loose puck at the right point.
After spinning away from the Warriors defender, Bowes had a lane down the slot before wiring a wrister over Amundrud’s blocker with 6:50 left in the second.
Bowes was at it again in the third, this time finding a puck in the right-wing corner. He had a lane to drive to the net along the goal line and was able to slide the puck around Amundrud for his second of the game with a little under eight minutes to go.
West Kelowna made things interesting as Chase Dubois scored a power-play goal, beating Scheel on the glove side with a shot from the right circle with just 4:23 to play.
Jackson Keane iced the game with the empty netter after intercepting a clearing attempt by the Warriors player.
Saturday’s game is the the fifth meeting of the year with Vernon, the Vees having won a pair and played to a tie in the other two.
Notes: Vees forward Grant Cruikshank left reportedly left the game early with an undisclosed injury and did not return.