The Penticton Vees (16-7-1-2) jumped out to an early lead and never looked back against the Surrey Eagles (7-22-0-1) Wednesday, cruising to a 6-1 win on home ice.
“Those games create other challenges and our guys didn’t let too many bad habits creep into our game so that was big. Unfortunately we gave up the goal but I thought our special teams executed well and there was a lot of good things that came out of it,” said Vees head coach Fred Harbinson.
Massimo Rizzo opened the scoring just 2:19 into the game, walking down the slot before firing a wrist shot past the blocker of Cayden Bailey for his third of the year, and third straight game with a goal.
Jackson Niedermayer scored his long-awaited first career goal later in the period. Off a three-on-two rush, Andre Ghantous fed the puck to Niedermayer who wired a wrist shot off the post and past the glove of Bailey. The Vees led 2-0 after one, outshooting the Eagles 13-6.
The Vees got a power play early in the second after Eric Linell took an ugly hit from behind in the Eagles end, and David Silye made them pay with a snap shot from the right circle off a nice feed from Ryan Sandelin to make it 3-0 just 4:08 into the period.
The boarding call on the Eagles led to more rough stuff, as the scrums after whistles escalated over the course of the second period.
Late in the frame Sandelin would score off another shot from the right circle, his 17th of the season gave the Vees a 4-0 lead heading into the final 20 minutes.
Miller extended the Vees lead on another power play after Rizzo made a nice move around the defender along the right boards, before sliding the puck to Miller who crept in from the blue line.
Cole Shepard capped off the scoring for Vees on the night, poking the puck away from an Eagles defender at the Penticton blue line before racing in on a breakaway and beating Hayden Missler along the ice for his third of the year.
Holden Katzalay broke Jack LaFontaine’s shutout bid with 7:02 to go in the game, capitalizing on a turnover by the Vees in the defensive zone.
The Vees outshot the Eagles 38-21.
Penticton now hits the road for four straight games beginning Friday night against the Coquitlam Express. The Express have lost their last four games, giving up 25 goals in the process. Penticton hosted Coquitlam Oct. 24, dropping a 3-2 shootout decision.
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