Vees fend off Apes

A convincing win on home ice stretched the Penticton Vees' win streak to 11 games on Wednesday night.

The Vees downed the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 5-1, in a game they were in full control for much of.

Ryan Sandelin opened the scoring in the first period with a snapshot that sailed top-shelf on Apes goalie Kyle Dumba.

Taylor Ward doubled the Vees lead in the second period when a blocked shot bounced to him on the powerplay and he scored into a mostly-open net. 

Salmon Arm broke through with a shorthanded goal shortly after, when Trey Thomas squeaked one past Vees netminder Adam Scheel after stealing the puck in the offensive zone.

Penticton restored its two-goal lead later in the period, when Cassidy Bowes buried a pass from behind the net by Grant Cruikshank, who had missed on a breakaway moments earlier.

A wicked shot by Jackson Keane early in the third period and a tip-in by Jared Nash late would give the Vees the four-goal cushion that they would end the night on.

In the absence of Jonny Tychonick and Ryan O'Connell on the blueline, Nicky Leivermann stepped up with an impressive game for the Vees. He finished with three assists and was the game's first star.

Momentum was hard to come by for the visiting Silverbacks, who entered play with three wins in their past 10 games.

Penticton was effective on offence and defence in terms of controlling the play, and a lack of discipline from the visitors gave them a boost.

The Silverbacks were shorthanded 10 times, and while they killed off nine penalties the Vees were able to build off having the extra man, time after time.

Dumba was also kicked out of the game midway through the third period, after arguing that Nash's goal on him was a high-stick. 

The Vees were 5-5 on the penalty kill, giving three of those chances to the Apes late in the third period. That resulted in the longest sustained offensive zone time for Salmon Arm all night and a barrage of late shots.

On the night, Penticton led 33-23 in shots, including 27-11 in the first 40 minutes.

The Vees are now undefeated in their past 12 games and haven't lost in 11. 

They crept ever closer to the league-leading Vernon Vipers, who now sit two points ahead of Penticton for top spot in the B.C. Hockey League.

The stage is set for two more important divisional games this weekend for Vees, who host the West Kelowna Warriors on Friday before visiting Vernon on Saturday.

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