They went toe to toe with the best team in hockey, but couldn't do enough to knock off the beasts. Through two periods they lead, and the crowd was buzzing. The Vees showed why they have been so dominate this season though in the third period, and sent home the crowd of over 2000 home without a win. The game itself, was a miraculous display of hockey, and one that gave the fans their monies worth. It had lots of offense, some great saves and physical play throughout. The game started just as the Prince George faithful had hoped, quick, fast paced and with a home team goal.
Just 5 minutes in, Paul De Jersey moved in short handed and got the crowd on it's feet. It was De Jersey's first goal in 8 games, and you could see the relief on his face. It took Penticton 10 minutes, but they got their first goal of the game on the power play. Minnesota Wild prospect Mario Lucia faked out Ty Swabb and slid one under his pad. Just over a minute later, the Captain of the Vees, Logan Johnston fired home a one timer to stun the crowd. Luckily for the 2100 in attendance, Gerry Fitzgerald only needed 2 minutes to put home an equalizer. It was the triplets 17th goal of the season, and that's where we left off heading into the second period.
We wondered if the Spruce Kings could keep up the intensity they showed in the first period, and our question was answered very quickly. Michael Colantone put home a feed from Jujhar Khaira and Michael Betz at the 1:12 mark to regain the lead. Once again, the Vees would answer, this time much more quickly as Mario Lucia would net his 2nd of the hockey game. Staying with the trend of anything you can do, I can do better, Michael Colantone would score his 2nd of the game just 32 seconds later. We were finally given a chance to breath and collect our thoughts, but only for a limited amount of time. It took exactly 9 minutes, but Mario Lucia would tie the game up with his hat trick goal. And that's when you think, we have to be done right? Wrong! 49 seconds later Myles Fitzgerald snatched back the lead and took it into the intermission with him.
After being given a much deserved 20 minutes to relax, drink some water and regroup, the crazy fast paced play continued. Unfortunately for Coach Dave Dupas, it wasn't his squad who came out firing. The Vees showed why they are the best team in the BCHL as they would score 35 seconds into the period, and then 3 more times to clinch the win. It would turn out to be their 42 straight win, and one that the Spruce Kings may have let slip away. Through two periods, the Spruce Kings matched Penticton in fire power and in physicality. The team stepped up and turned it up each minute. But the third period, the period they needed to be lights out, they fell flat. Chad Katunar fell into a groove and refused to be beaten after 40 minutes. It was a great effort, but ultimately, not enough to dethrone this years Kings of the BCHL. A lot of credit should go to the Spruce Kings as they hung in and went toe to toe with maybe the best team to ever play in the BCHL. Now the task is to find a way to handle and slow down this talented bunch. They will get another chance to knock off the Vees tomorrow night, but they will only finish that task, if they play a full 60 minutes, and never let up. If you give Penticton even the smallest of openings, they will take it and run.
To get the full box score recap, click here
The Three Stars:
3) (PG) Michael Colantone – 2 Goals 1 Assist
2) (PEN) Travis ST. Denis – 1 Goal 3 Assists
1) (PEN) Mario Lucia – 3 Goals 1 Assist
As we said above, these two teams will once again square off tomorrow night. The match up will be the last of the season for both teams, and depending on how the rest of the schedule plays out, could show us a playoff preview. Lots of story lines to watch for as well. Zach Urban and Sean Landrey exchanged more than one word tonight, will that boil over? Paul De Jersey and Joey Benik still sit tied for 1st in points with Mario Lucia coming up the rear, just 2 points behind. Who will win that battle? Paul De Jersey also sits tied for the Goal scoring title with Bryce Gervais. Both players have 41 at the moment, will either man solely come out on top? Plus, can the Spruce Kings bet eh first team since November to stop the Vees? We'll find out these answers and more tomorrow night. Hope to see you at the rink, or we'll chat with you on the broadcast