Let the games begin
The first round of the BCHL playoffs began on Thursday for the Vees as they hosted West Kelowna Warriors. Penticton took care of business at home with two commanding victories over the Warriors with a combined score of 11-2.
Round one – game one
It was the Tyler Ho show in game one of the opening round. Ho popped in three shorthanded goals to give himself the hat trick. Despite the Vees winning 7-1, it was the Warriors who opened the scoring. John Evans rifled one through the legs of Vees goalie Yaniv Perets on a breakaway from the blue line. However, it was all Vees after that as they scored seven unanswered.
Goals by Liam Malmquist, Evan McIntyre, Jay O’Brien, Danny Weight along with Ho’s hattrick was more than enough to give the Vees a 1-0 series lead.
It was a rough affair between the two teams separated by Highway 97. Both teams combined for over 25 penalties, its safe to assume that they don’t like each other all that much.
All three stars of game one came from Penticton as Ho, Weight and Colton Kalezic, who picked up three assists, got the honours. Perets turned aside 22 shots in the win. Game two of the series was less than 24 hours away and the Vees wanted to keep the momentum rolling.
Friday night lights
Game two was a cleaner contest with only three penalties taken in total. Warriors forward Tyler Cristall opened the scoring on the power play by beating Perets. Cristall tried to center the puck back into the slot, but the puck went off of Perets’s pad and into the net.
As the third period started and the Vees still down by one, Drew Elser sped down the wing and centered the puck to a streaking Weight. He dashed straight to the net and tapped in the pass from Elser to tie the game at one.
Philadelphia Flyers prospect O’Brien notched the game winner and the insurance marker. O’Brien shimmied his way with the puck into the slot and shot it by Warriors goalie Johnny Derrick to give the Vees a 2-1 lead. For his second goal, O’Brien retrieved the puck after a rebound and out waited Derrick to tuck the puck in to make it 3-1 Penticton.
Liam Malmqust put the game further out of reach when he gathered the puck behind the West Kelowna goal and tucked it in with Derrick looking the other way as the Vees scored four unanswered for the 4-1 victory.
For the second straight game, the three stars of the game came from the Vees. O’Brien, Malmquist and Weight picked up the first, second and third stars respectively. The trio helped the Vees keep home ice as the series now shifts to West Kelowna for games three and four on Sunday and Tuesday respectively.