The Penticton Vees avenged their first home loss on Jan. 9 by whipping the Wenatchee Wild 6-1 on Wednesday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
The result didn’t surprise Vees leading sniper Scott Conway.
“We’re playing well. We got unlucky this past weekend,” said Conway, adding that they came out with an aggressive attitude. “We came out flying tonight and I don’t think any team in the league can beat us when we’re playing like that.”
Penticton got off to a strong start as Benjamin Brar nearly finished a chance at the crease 15 seconds into the period. Easton Brodzinski also came close, but it was Chris Gerrie, who put the Vees up 1-0. On a two-on-one rush with Nicolas Jones, Gerrie blasted a one-timer past Wild goalie Chase Perry at 4:12. The goal was Gerrie’s 11th of the season and first in six games.
With Dante Fabbro in the penalty box for elbowing, Wild captain Mike Coyne went hard to the Vees net and took a few whacks at the puck before finally beating Anthony Brodeur to even the score at one. Later in the frame, Troy Conzo created a chance as he pressured defenceman Seamus Donohue, who turned over the puck, but Brodeur denied him on one of his 31 saves. The Vees held a 13-8 edge in shots.
Scott Conway scored the eventual winning goal, his 40th, from the red line off of Perry’s pad.
“He’s bad from side to side. Kind of left a little bit of the post,” said Conway, who is 16 points shy of hitting 100. “Gerrie said no for the high guy, and I just put it on net. I got a nice lucky goal there.”
Mike Sillinger increased the lead with two goals in less than three minutes in the second period, his ninth and 10th of the season. His first one came on a quick wraparound as Perry left a gap between his skate and the post. The second came as the result of a rebound. Sillinger reached behind him and was able to corral the puck and snap it over Perry’s glove into the top corner. He pumped his fist afterwards.
“I was very excited. I was frustrated a little bit probably at the beginning of the year,” said Sillinger. “Now things are going my way so it’s been good.”
In the third period the Wild outshot the Vees 15-10, but the home team added two more goals — one by Conway, on the power-play, and the other from Darius Davidson. Jones, who finished with two assists, found Conway in the slot and he wired a shot over Perry’s shoulder. Davidson rushed down the right wing and snapped a shot top corner past Perry’s glove. Conway and Griffin Mendel collected assists. Dixon Bowen finished with two assists.
Sillinger described the Vees’ performance as one of their hardest working nights. Being on pucks and focused on details. When they do that, he said that’s when they play well.
“We knew they were going to be a hard working team,” he said. “We just outworked them. That’s what we had to do and we did it.”
It was a game highlighted be speed and physical play. There was a casualty from the hitting as Vees rookie Desi Burgart was injured by Austin Chavez when the two collided at the neutral zone near the Vees bench. Burgart did not return.
Along with playing without injured forwards Demico Hannoun and Mitch Brooks, Tyson Jost did not dress and the Three Vees blog reported that he is probable for the weekend.
With the win, the Vees improve to 35-5-0-1, 19 points ahead of second place Salmon Arm, and 20-1-1-0 at the SOEC. Attendance was 2,575. The Vees travel to Merritt on Friday to face the Centennials, 14-25-3-0, then return home to host Powell River, 22-17-2-0, at the SOEC Saturday at 6 p.m.