Michael Rebry’s penalty-shot goal proved key as it was the winner for the Penticton Vees against the Prince George Spruce Kings.
The Vees hung on for a 4-3 win on Sunday evening and swept their weekend games after shutting out the Powell River Kings 4-0 during their national championship banner raising ceremony at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Rebry’s goal came shortly after the officials waved off a Spruce Kings goal that would have made it 3-2 for the Vees. The officials reasoning for calling the goal back was that it was kicked in.
After Liam Board opened the scoring 3:43 into the game, which came after they killed a two-minute power-play, James De Haas evened things up. Early in the second period Sam Mellor gave the Vees a 2-1 lead and Rebry extended it to three goal when Spruce Kings goalie Liam McLeod had trouble with the puck after it bounced off the boards and went towards the net.
Chad Staley beat Vees goalie Chad Katunar through the five-hole while being forced wide by Vees defenceman Robert Mann. Lyndon Martell then made it 4-3 when he finished a 2-on-1 play after the Vees were unable to clear the zone.
“That’s a goal that shouldn’t be going in. Backhand shot from a bad angle,” said Katunar. “I was happy with my play in general except for that. I felt I came up big on the five-on-three when it was 3-1.”
Katunar added that they weren’t entirely happy with their effort. We didn’t play 60 minutes today (Sunday). The Vees goalie said they are better than the effort they put out.
Katunar finished with 25 saves on the night, while McLeod, 16, made 19. The Vees are now 7-1-0 on the season, giving them the best record in the BCHL. The Vees are now ranked No. 2 in the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s rankings, behind the undefeated Brooks Bandits.
Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson was happy his team collected four points, but didn’t think they very good.
“Give PG credit for hanging around,” he said. “We had a lot of mental lapses today for whatever reason. I thought we were really sharp last night (Saturday). Today we took a bit step back as far as being on top of our game. There were guys that made good plays and then the next shift they would go out and do something completely off on their own. Those types of things are going to happen. Luckily for us we were able to score one more than them.”
Check Wednesday’s Western News for more Vees coverage.