The Vees Owen Sillinger tried to open the Vees scoring in the first period of their Saturday night game, but the goal was disallowed. (Western News file photo)

Vees lose to Rivermen

First period proves costly in 5-3 loss to Rivermen.

The Penticton Vees (37-12-2-3) put on the pressure in their Saturday game, but the 3-0 lead the Langley Rivermen (23-19-10-2) was too much to overcome, ending the game with a 5-3 loss.

Early in the game, while the Vees were shorthanded, James Miller was dangerously hit into the boards from behind resulting in a five-minute major to Eric Butte, who was also ejected from the game.

After four-on-four ended, the Vees had some chances on goal, but the Rivermen’s Braeden Fleming turned back all shots, a sign of things to come.

With a little over a minute remaining on the major penalty, the Vees were called for too many men on the ice, resulting in more four-on-four action. This time it was the Rivermen capitalizing as Brendan Budy sent a feed down low to Trevor St. Jean who was able to redirect it past Adam Scheel blocker side to open the scoring.

One minute later, while on the power play after four-on-four ended, Budy got a pass in the left circle and took a few strides in before firing a wrist shot under the bar to make it 2-0.

Late in the frame, the Vees were on the power play, and Owen Sillinger looked like he scored the Vees first goal of the night, but it was waved off after Fleming knocked the net off its pegs with his skate, moving side to side.

In the final minute of the period, Langley added another goal as Spencer Berry took a pass while following the rush and beat Scheel through the five-hole with just 36 seconds remaining.

While the first period was all Rivermen, the Vees dominated the next two, controlling the play and mostly keeping the puck in the Rivermen zone. It was only when the Vees took a penalty Langley was able to answer back.

Just 20 seconds into their man advantage, Angus Crookshank deflected in a centring feed to end Scheel’s night as he was lifted after giving up four goals on 18 shots.

Penticton answered back before the second ended when Nicky Leivermann jumped on the rebound of a Luke Reid shot to make it 4-1 heading into the third. The Vees also began the final frame on a 5-on-3 power play, then pulled Nolan Hildebrand to make it a 6-on-3, but weren’t able to beat Fleming.

Jordan Henderson scored the second Vees goal, taking a drop feed in the slot and beating a screened Fleming 7:10 into the third. Taylor Ward then made it 4-3 win 5:16 to go by shovelling in a rebound in the crease.

Penticton had an offensive zone face-off with the net empty and just over a minute to play, but after winning the draw the pass across the blue line deflected off Ward’s stick and Budy was able to force it out to centre before hitting the empty net to seal the 5-3 score.

The Vees finish their Mainland Division road trip with a 4 p.m. game against the Surrey Eagles (25-21-6-2) Sunday afternoon.

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