The Penticton Vees (9-1) saw their perfect Okanagan Cup record broken this weekend, after splitting a pair of games with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (2-5-1).
The Vees won their ninth consecutive game Friday (Oct. 23) at the South Okanagan Events Centre, but the club’s run was finally broken as they dropped their first game of the Okanagan Cup the following night (Oct. 24) at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm.
Friday’s action saw some late-game heroics with Jackson Niedermayer scoring with just under three minutes remaining in the third period to put the Vees up 3-2.
Salmon Arm winger Mat Bourgault opened the scoring six minutes into the first period. The St-Bruno-de-Montarville, QC native intercepted a pass in the slot and fired a wrist shot past the blocker side of Penticton goaltender Yaniv Perets.
The Vees answered in the second period with two quick goals. Vees captain Finn Williams got things started just over as he deflected a puck past Salmon Arm goaltender Riley Kohonick for his second goal in as many games.
47 seconds later, Jacob Quillan gave the Vees their first lead of the game with his second goal of the tournament as he fired home a shot from the right face-off circle.
Salmon Arm had an answer, however. With 12 minutes left to play in the second stanza, Drew Bennett batted a rebound past the blocker side of Perets to even the score at two — where it would remain locked until the dying minutes of the third period.
The play started with Quinn Hutson winning a loose puck below the goal line and sending a pass to the slot with one hand on his stick as Jackson Niedermayer came flying through the middle of the ice and chipped a puck over the glove shoulder of Kohonick with less than three minutes left in the game.
Niedermayer’s sixth goal of the Okanagan Cup would prove to be the game-winner as the Vees prevailed by a final scored of 3-2.
Yaniv Perets made two big stops down the stretch for the Vees in the final period, turning aside 17 of the 19 shots he faced in the hockey game to earn his sixth win of the tournament. At the other end, Riley Kohonick stopped 23 shots on the 26 thrown his way in his fifth loss of the Okanagan Cup.
FINAL SCORE: 3-2 Vees
SHOTS ON GOAL: 26-19 Vees
1) Luc Wilson (0-2-2)
2) Jackson Niedermayer (1-0-1)
3) Drew Bennett (1-0-1)
The Vees didn’t fare as well Saturday night in Salmon Arm, falling short for the first time in the Okanagan Cup.
Despite a strong come-from-behind effort from the Vees, Salmon Arm would hold on for the 4-2 victory on home ice at the Shaw Centre.
Salmon Arm came out strong, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first period. A pair of goals from Drew Bennett and one from Carter Loney had the Silverbacks up three with five minutes left to play in the first period.
The Vees got some life late in the first period, with just 11 seconds remaining. Luc Wilson beat Kohonick on the backhand for his fourth goal of the Okanagan Cup and to get the Vees within two heading into the second frame.
Goaltender Kaeden Lane came on in the second period for the Vees, replacing Yaniv Perets in the Penticton crease. Lane was perfect in the period, making 10 saves on 10 shots. Ryan Upson scored the period’s only goal, cutting Salmon Arm’s lead to one.
The Vees began the third period with another strong press, applying pressure and hitting two goal posts but were ultimately unable to find the tying goal.
Joaquim Lemay put home the insurance marker for Salmon Arm, putting his team up 4-2 with five minutes remaining in regulation.
Yaniv Perets started the game in net for the Vees, making five saves on eight shots in the opening period, suffering his first loss of the Okanagan Cup. Kaeden Lane came on in relief and turned aside 16 of the 17 shots he faced.
Riley Kohonick made 30 saves on 32 shots in the Silverbacks net in picking up his second victory of the tournament.
FINAL SCORE: 4-2 Silverbacks
SHOTS ON GOAL: 32-25 Vees
1) Drew Bennett (2-0-2)
2) Riley Kohonick (30 saves on 32 shots)
3) Kieran Ruscheinski (0-1-1)
The Vees will take a week off from games before returning to the ice to face-off against the Vernon Vipers on Nov. 6 at Kal Tire Place. Puck drop is slated for 6 p.m.
The Silverbacks will see their next game action when they host the Vernon Vipers Friday, Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m.