The Penticton Vees (7-5-1) outshot the West Kelowna Warriors (7-7-1) by a 52-29 margin, and dominated for the majority of the night, but dropped a 3-2 game at Royal LePage Place Friday night.
The Warriors opened the scoring just 1:09 into the game as Jack LaFontaine was knocked down behind the Vees net, giving the puck away allowing Chase Dubois the easy tap in to give the Warriors the early lead.
The Vees answered just over three minutes later after forcing the Warriors into multiple turnovers and eventually taking a 2-1 lead. Eric Linell tied the game after Kenny Johnson’s shot was stopped by Brock Baier, but Linell jumped on the rebound and slid it into the net 4:55 into the game.
Linell gave the Vees the lead not long after. The Warriors turned over the puck in their own end and an Andre Ghantous shot was stopped by Baier after a centring feed but Linell was able to fire the rebound past the goaltender who had fallen down to give the Vees a 2-1 lead.
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That lead was short-lived as the Warriors tied the game after Tyler Pang’s shot from the left point sailed wide of the net, but the rebound came off the end wall to Mike Hardman who had an open net to tie the game 10:46 into the period.
The Warriors then turned it on and hemmed the Vees in their own end for long stretches of time. The shots at one point were 10-1 Vees but would read 15-15 after the opening 20. After the Vees took two penalties just 45 seconds apart, the Warriors tied the game.
Right as the Vees Cole Shepard stepped out of the box to make it a 5-on-4 power play, Dubois beat LaFontaine over the left shoulder to give the Warriors a 3-2 lead with 1:43 left in the first.
The score stayed that way all the way to the final buzzer. The Vees outshot the Warriors 37-14 over the final 40 minutes, but Baier turned aside each one of them. Shepard and Ryan Sandelin were robbed numerous times over the game and James Miller hit a goal post for good measure. The Vees went 0-for-4 on the man advantage.
The Vees don’t have a lot of time to stew over the frustrating loss as they host the league-leading Chilliwack Chiefs (13-4-0) Saturday night at 6 p.m. at the South Okanagan Events Centre. The Vees went 3-0 against the Chiefs last season.
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