Penticton’s power-play, which executed at 50 per cent Friday night, helped the Vees earn a 6-1 victory over the Merritt Centennials at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Scott Conway’s blast on the man advantage to make it 2-0 proved to be the winner after Ryan Forbes scored on a Centennials power-play with 50 seconds remaining in the game to beat Anthony Brodeur. Conway hammered home a cross-ice feed from Tyson Jost to beat Cole Kehler 6:31 into the opening frame getting the crowd of 2,255 going. The Vees would score two more goals by Owen Sillinger and Dante Fabbro to take a commanding 4-0 lead into the dressing room.
Jost scored in the second period, then teamed up with Fabbro to set up Chris Gerrie for his second of the game as he buried a rebound from a snapshot. Jost earned first star honours with a goal and five-point effort. The Vees power-play went three-for-six.
“I thought we did a really good job. They came off a big win off West Kelowna, smoked them (9-1). I knew they were going to come out hard,” said Jost, adding he felt they came out as equally hard. “Great performance by Brodeur (who earned FortisBC Energy Player of the Game in a 20-save performance).”
Jost said they didn’t let up after getting their first goal.
“We just kept pushing and pushing. Credit to them, they are still a great team,” he said. “The score doesn’t relate that. It was a good game even though the score didn’t show it.”
Midway through the third period, Jost received special attention from Zak Bowles which led to Mitchell Brooks stepping in. The pair of 14s dropped the gloves. Brooks ate a few punches, including one that cut him above the right eye requiring four stitches. He delivered a blow that knocked Bowles down.
“That guy kind of got into it a bit with Jost. Just trying to send a message that that’s not OK,” said Brooks. “He’s our man and you have to protect your brother out there.”
After the fight, Brooks skated quickly towards the Vees bench and blew a kiss to his teammates.
“Everyone loved it. Anytime there is a fight, win lose or draw, it seems to get the boys going. It’s nice to see the appreciation from your teammates.”
“That just shows the character of our team, standing up for me,” said Jost, the Vees captain. “I got to give him credit and thanks. That just shows the love in our locker room and the support that we have. All the credit to Brooks. He put his body on the line. It shows a lot from his personality and character.”
Conway added two assists to finish with three points, as did linemate Chris Gerrie, who had two goals and a helper.
The Vees visit Prince George on Saturday to take on the Spruce Kings, who lost 5-2 against the Cowichan Valley Capitals. In other BCHL action, the Alberni Valley Bulldogs doubled up the Victoria Grizzlies 4-2 at home. The Nanaimo Clippers defeated the Coquitlam Express by the same score. The Wenatchee Wild and Salmon Arm Silverbacks battled to 4-4 draw, the Powell River Kings shutout the Vernon Vipers 4-0 and the Langley Rivermen defeated the Chilliwack Chiefs 6-4 at home.