Vees top Warriors to earn 13th straight win

The Penticton Vees defeated the West Kelowna Warriors 4-2 in BCHL action Wednesday night

Penticton Vees goalieZachary Driscoll watches this shot by West Kelowna Warriors Brett Mennear slide past the open side of the net during Wednesday's BC Hockey League game at the South Okanagan Events Centre. The hosts picked up their 13th consecutive win by doubling the Warriors 4-2.

The Penticton Vees remain unbeaten against the West Kelowna Warriors, and at home.

Playing with 11 forwards due to injuries, the Vees earned a 4-2 victory against their division rivals Wednesday night to improve to 3-0 and 8-0-0 at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Captain Tyson Jost sniped a pair, while Griffin Mendel blasted home his first career BCHL goal and Scott Conway cleaned up the garbage at the side of the net to secure the victory and extend their winning streak to 13 games.  Zachary Driscoll put up a 33-save performance to remain unbeaten in the Vees crease with four wins.

“It was really fast paced. Games against West Kelowna always are,” said Vees assistant captain Colton Poolman. “I thought both teams played well for the most part. Just a fun game to be in.”

The Vees opened the scoring first for the 11th time this season at 10:21 of the first period when Conway fed Jost in the slot and he broke in on Stephen Heslop beating him top shelf with a forehand shot.

In the second period, Luke Voltin controlled the puck near the boards and dished it back to Mendel at the blueline. The 16 year old quickly fired a shot that beat Heslop top corner on the blocker side to make it 2-0.

“It’s always a great feeling. I’m kind of relieved to get it off the shoulders,” said Mendel, who will play for Canada Team White in the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C. “I just took a one timer, didn’t look. I was kind of shocked at first. I was just trying to get it on net.”

Mendel said his goal gave the Vees some momentum as the Warriors had them stuck in their zone. Mendel added that they played strong defensively with guys blocking shots.

With less than five minutes remaining in the second period, Easton Brodzinski sent Jost in and on a partial breakaway. Jost fooled Heslop with slick stick handling and directed a shot top corner over the glove sending the crowd of 2,266 into a frenzy. Heslop finished with 28 saves. Nicholas Rutigliano put the Warriors back within two as he beat Driscoll, who was down while his defence had a breakdown.

In the third period, Conway and Liam Blackburn of the Warriors traded goals. Conway, Jost and Brodzinski each finished with two points on the night. Jost was named the first star, Mendel the second and Driscoll the third.

The Warriors went zero-for three on the power-play, while the Vees went zero-for-five.

The Vees were without three players to injuries: defenceman Gabe Bast missed his eighth game, Demico Hannoun his second game and rookie forward Jason Lavallee his first full game. After losing Hannoun last weekend, as well as Lavallee, Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson said that rookie Benjamin Brar had his best weekend as a Vee.

The Vees head to Vancouver Island for a set against the Powell River Kings on Friday, then Cowichan Valley on Saturday. Before the game against the Warriors, Harbinson said it would be a tough week. He said the Warriors are a “hell of a team” then they go to two place in which the teams have lost just once at home. Powell River (10-5-0-0) is 5-1-0 at home, while Cowichan Valley (8-2-1-2) is 6-1-0 at the Island Savings Centre.

Last weekend was also the first time Luke Voltin played in front of the home crowd.

“It was awesome, especially coming out with the wins,” said Voltin. “Just getting ready for those games I was really excited. I could see all the guys in the locker room were really excited. It was nice to come out with four points for the weekend.”

Vees notes: Conway and Fabbro extended their point streaks in the win. Conway now has points in 13 straight and Fabbro 11. Jost now owns a share of the BCHL scoring lead with Nanaimo’s Sheldon Rempal; both have 28 points through 14 games.

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