The Vees had enough shots on net with 42 on goalie Brock Baier, but goal posts and some big saves by the netminder stole the game for the Warriors.
James Miller, looking for his eighth goal in as many games, nearly opened the scoring in the first few minutes for the Vees as his slap shot from the right point clanked off the post.
Instead, it was the Warriors who opened the scoring with 4:55 remaining in the first. Kenny Johnson lost the puck behind the Vees net and the Warriors Parm Dhaliwal got control before cutting across the crease and sliding the puck past Derek Krall.
Early in the second the Warriors extended their lead 2-0 on a similar play. Chase Dubois was able to steal the puck feeding Lucas Cullen, who was able to skate in along the goal line before cutting in front of the net and sliding the puck along the ice past Krall just 3:47 into the period.
Ryan Sandelin had a pair of grade-A chances in the middle frame, sending one shot from the slot inches wide on Baier’s blocker side and ringing the post on another. The Warriors defence also chipped in with Andrew Viggars diving in front of an open net, after a cross-ice pass, to block a slap shot.
Mike Hardman continued the Warriors momentum just over the halfway mark as he jumped on a rebound off Krall’s left pad to make it 3-0.
Mason Snell hit the crossbar from the left circle in the third period, adding to the Vees frustration. Kenny Johnson and Eric Olson dropped the gloves in the Penticton zone with just over nine minutes left, ending the night for both players.
Miller then took exception to Willie Reim cutting through the Vees crease as the two tangled up below the goal line in the Vees zone. Miller was given the extra two minutes for roughing, though the power play lasted just 20 seconds before Cullen was called for holding.
Following 4-on-4, the Vees would spoil Baier’s shutout bid as Jack Barnes and Drew Elser came in on a short two-on-one rush. Barnes took a shot from the right circle that was kicked away by Baier, right onto the stick of Elser who fired home his third of the year with 1:16 left.
Baier turned aside 41 shots in the game.
The two teams meet again Wednesday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre, puck drop is 7 p.m.
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