Back-to-back 4-1 wins have given the Penticton Vees a 2-0 lead in their BCHL series over the Merritt Centennials.
The crowd of 2,837 at the South Okanagan Events Centre only had to wait a few minutes to cheer their team’s first goal. For the second time in an many games, the home team hit the score sheet first, getting a lucky bounce that resulted in Jamie Armstrong’s first of the post-season at 2:24. He earned the first star with a two-point effort.
“We got that goal in the first period. I thought we got better as that first period went on,” said Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson. “The second period we were coming at them. Really owned the offensive zone (they had a 16-6 edge in shots). It was still 1-0. Getting that second goal was critical. It was really big.”
The Vees doubled their lead to 2-0 as Nicholas Jones’ line with Chris Klack and Duncan Campbell pressured the Centennials. Denied on a solid chance, Berger and the Centennials couldn’t hold the Vees any longer as Jones fed Campbell, who scored glove side for his first of the playoffs.
In the third period, the Vees outshot the Centennials 9-7, for a total of 36-21. Harbinson really liked how his team played in the final frame. They did yield a goal right off the faceoff with two minutes remaining. Stephan Seeger beat Mat Robson finding a small hole over his glove hand shoulder.
“Yeah, he really picked his corner going bar down,” said Robson of the perfect shot. “You got to give credit where credit is due. It was a great shot.”
Robson, the game’s second star, said he liked the job his defence did of keeping the Centennials to the outside, which is part of their plan. They don’t want to give the Centennials the middle in their zone. Robson also liked the communication between his teammates, saying because of it, they look crisper.
“We have a feel for each other when we’re talking to each other,” he said. “That makes playing as a unit a lot easier.”
He followed up with the saying of when there is dent in the armour, you have an edge.
“There is no dent in our armour right now,” said Robson.
In other league action, the Vernon Vipers have a 2-0 series lead on the Trail Smoke Eaters following a 5-2 win, the Chilliwack Chiefs head back home with a 2-0 lead on the Wenatchee Wild after a 4-1 win. The Victoria Grizzlies and Powell River Kings are knotted at one after the Grizzlies won 4-0 at home.