Fred Harbinson Pre-Game
Cam Amantea and Brad McClure each scored twice, as the Penticton Vees earned a hard-fought 4-3 win over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs Sunday afternoon in Port Alberni. The win moves the Vees into top spot in the Interior Division with 29 points.
For the second straight game, the Vees scored the only goal of the first period, when Captain Brad McClure capitalized on a neutral zone turnover. McClure took the puck away from the Bulldogs defender after he bobbled the puck at the red-line. McClure broke in on the left-wing and rifled a snap-shot over the glove of Connor LaCouvee at 10:17.
The Vees would have had a larger lead if it wasn’t for the goaltending of LaCouvee in the first period; the ‘Dogs netminder was peppered with 14 shots in the opening period.
Penticton kept up the pressure in the second period but LaCouvee kept their attack at bay, just long enough for the Bulldogs to equalize. Midway through the frame, Brett Stewart’s point-shot knuckled through a crowd in front of the Vees net and underneath Olivier Mantha’s arm at 8:46; the Bulldogs scoring on just their sixth shot of the game.
McClure restored the Vees lead on a power-play late in the period. McClure and Ben Dalpe played catch at the blue-line, before McClure hammered a one-timer over LaCouvee’s glove at 18:14; his second and team-leading 14th.
Cam Amantea gave the Vees their biggest lead of the game early in the third period. McClure was robbed of his hat-trick goal by LaCouvee’s glove but the puck dropped right to Amantea in the crease and he banged in his 6th at 2:24.
The two-goal lead didn’t last long, as the Bulldogs used the blue-line to cut the deficit to one. The Bulldogs worked the puck back to Darian Henry, who’s wrist-shot from the right-side of the blue-line found the back of the net at 7:43.
Seven minutes later the Vees caught a break, as Amantea restored this team’s two-goal lead. Bulldogs defenseman Luca Doctor went back behind his goal to play the puck but ended up turning it over to Amantea. The Vees forward quickly wheeled out front and slid the puck through the legs of a surprised LaCouvee at 14:03.
But just like when the Vees went ahead by two earlier in the period, the Bulldogs had a response. Fifty-eight seconds after Amantea scored, Josh Adkins brought the ‘Dogs back within one, again, when he banked a shot off of Olivier Mantha from behind the goal-line. Mantha stopped Riley Ostoforoff on a partial breakaway but the puck came to Adkins and from a crowded spot just behind the post, he flipped the puck off Mantha’s back and in.
However, that’s as close as the Bulldogs would get, as the Vees held off a late push by the home side. After only mustering eight shots on goal through the first two periods, the Bulldogs fired 15 Mantha’s way in the third but the veteran goaltender made a couple of key saves late to preserve the win.
FINAL SCORE: 4-3 Vees
Shots: 37-23 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 1-4 Bulldogs 0-3
Three Stars: 1) Brad McClure 2) Connor LaCouvee 3) Cam Amantea
The Vees bump up their record to 13-4-1-2 and now sit in first place in the Interior Division, tied on points with Merritt but they own the tie-breaker. The Vees improve their road record to 5-4-1-1 and they sweep the three-game series with the ‘Dogs. Brad McClure finished with a game high three points and finished the weekend with four goals and eight points in three games.