Quinn Hutson tallied a hat-trick and four points while multiple point efforts from Jacob Quillan, Owen Murray and Devlin O’Brien helped the Vees to finish their Okanagan Cup round robin schedule with a 6-3 victory over the Vernon Vipers on Saturday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
The first shot of the game came just under four minutes into action as the Vees and Vipers didn’t generate many chances to the net in the opening period, especially in the first 17 minutes of play. That was quickly followed, however, with a stretch of three goals in a 1:01 and saw the Vernon Vipers carry a lead into the 2nd period.
Vernon was first to strike on the scoresheet at the 17:40 mark as newcomer Tyler Carpendale was the beneficiary of a blocked pass. Reagan Millburn carried the puck into the Vees zone on an odd-man rush and had his cross-ice pass deflected by a Vees defender as the puck redirected to Carpendale, who shot under the blocker of Vees netminder Yaniv Perets from the slot to give Vernon a 1-0 lead.
41 seconds after that, JoJo Tanaka-Campbell doubled the Vipers advantage to 2-0 on a power play marker. Ryan Shostak was able to slip past a Vees defender on the left wing as he centered a pass for Tanaka-Campbell, who redirected the puck up and over the blocker side of Perets at the 18:21 mark to give the visitors a 2-0 advantage.
Moments after that marker, 20 seconds to be exact, it was the Vees who countered and cut the deficit to one goal as Quinn Hutson took sole possession of the team’s goal scoring lead with his 7th Okanagan Cup marker to make it a 2-1 game. Jacob Quillan took the puck below the goal line and sent a backhand pass to the slot where Hutson collected and snapped a shot past the glove side of Vipers goaltender Kobe Grant to cut the lead in half heading into the 1st intermission.
After some back-and-forth action in the 2nd period, the media timeout was a big point in which the Vees came out flying and, shortly after, were able to get the game on even terms with the second goal of the game coming off the stick of Hutson.
Josh Niedermayer took a Hutson drop pass in the high slot and ripped a one-time shot wide of the blocker side of Grant as the rebound bounded off the end boards as Hutson collected at the left face-off circle and rocketed a shot over the blocker side of Grant from a sharp angle for his 8th Okanagan Cup goal to tie the score at 2-2 at the 12:19 mark of the middle stanza.
Hutson collected his third point of the night towards the tail end of the period as the Vees jumped ahead in the hockey game for the first time at the 17:22 mark of the middle frame. Hutson started the rush inside the offensive zone, sending a pass to the right wing where Jacob Quillan snapped a one-time shot past the glove side of Grant for his 3rd Okanagan Cup tally as the Vees scored their third unanswered goal to push the home side ahead by a 3-2 score heading into the 3rd period.
Hutson completed the hat-trick with his third goal of the game at the 12:57 mark of the final period and collected his 9th goal of the tournament. Hutson chipped the puck through a pair of defenders on the right side and followed a bouncing puck to the blocker side post as he lifted a backhand shot through the right side of Grant to give the Vees a 4-2 lead.
Scoring in quick succession continued in the 3rd period as Tyler Carpendale scored just 33 seconds after Hutson’s third of the game to make it a one-goal game once again. Josh Prokop dropped the puck at the top of the left face-off circle as Carpendale stepped in and slid a shot through the legs of Perets for his second goal of the game at the 13:30 mark of the 3rd period to cut the Vees lead to 4-3.
Shortly after that, Devlin O’Brien restored the Vees two-goal advantage at the 14:24 mark, just 56 seconds after Carpendale’s goal. Frank Djurasevic had his point shot blocked before it got to the net as O’Brien gathered the loose puck in the right face-off circle and beat Grant on the blocker side for his 6th goal of the tournament to give Penticton a 5-3 lead.
O’Brien completed the scoring with the clock winding down in the 3rd period, scoring his second goal of the game at the 19:59 mark and just beat the final buzzer. Fin Williams pass through the middle of the ice was knocked down by a couple of bodies as O’Brien found the loose puck in the slot and beat Grant on his blocker side for his 7th goal of the Okanagan Cup and to finish off the game in a 6-3 Vees favour.
Yaniv Perets stopped 18 of the 21 shots thrown his way in his 7th win of the Okanagan Cup in between the pipes while Kobe Grant turned aside 16 of the 22 shots he faced in his 3rd loss of the tournament.
FINAL SCORE: 6-3 Vees
SHOTS ON GOAL: 22-21 Vees
VEES PP: 0/2
VEES PK: 2/3
1) Quinn Hutson (3-1-4)
2) Jacob Quillan (1-2-3)
3) Owen Murray (0-3-3)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Josh Niedermayer (0-1-1)
The Vees (11-1-0-0) will now host the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (3-8-1-0) in a 1st vs. 4th semi-final, taking place on Friday night with the winner of the game advancing to the Okanagan Cup Final. Puck drop is slated for 6:00 PM at the SOEC with the game available to listen to on a FREE live audio stream on the Vees Broadcast Network as well as on pay-per-view at BCHLTV.ca.