Submitted by Fraser Rodgers
PORT ALBERNI –The Penticton Vees ran out of time Saturday. A third period comeback attempt came up short in their 2-1 loss to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs at Weyerhaeuser Arena.
The loss was the first for the Vees in their young season and they’ve now split their first two games of their three-game Sunshine Coast/Island Division road trip, with the finale set for Sunday afternoon in Cowichan Valley.
Down 2-0 late in the third, captain Nic Jones scored his first of the season on power play with just over three minutes left, but the Vees ran out of time for the tying-goal.
It was a sluggish start in contrast to Friday’s win in Powell River as the Vees Mat Robson was tested early and he was up for the challenge. The goaltender was terrific in the early going, stopping a flurry of chances in the opening five minutes, and was a major reason why the game was scoreless after 20.
The Vees’ best chance in the first came off the stick of Owen Sillinger, but his attempt from between the face-off circles was punched out by Carson Schamerhorn’s blocker.
The Bulldogs broke through early in the second as Kraus snapped the deadlock five minutes in. The Alberni Valley forward won a race to the puck, cut down the left wing and snapped a shot over Robson’s blocker at 4:56. Alberni Valley stretched their lead midway through the middle frame on their first power play. Jake Witkowski got the puck in the slot and picked the corner over Robson’s shoulder to put the ‘Dogs up two at 11:34.
The Bulldogs two-goal lead held up until the final four minutes of the third period. After Griffin Mendel drew a tripping penalty, the Vees power play went to work. Jones wheeled the puck to the top of the circles from the wall, before ripping a slap shot that found its way over the goalie’s glove-side at 16:19.
Ty Amonte’s brilliant run to start the season ended in the loss. He was held off the scoresheet after recording six points in his first two games. Saturday was also the Vees’ first loss to Alberni Valley since February of 2015.
The Vees conclude their road trip against the Cowichan Valley Capitals at the Island Savings Centre in Duncan; puck drop is 2 pm. The Caps are coming off a 2-1 win in Victoria against the first place Grizzlies Saturday.