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Vees cruise past Merritt Centennials
Ben Dalpe wired home the winner, while newcomer Erik Benoit collected three helpers as the Penticton Vees handily defeated the Merritt Centennials 6-2 Sunday afternoon.
Dalpe was left alone in the slot area when captain Brad McClure fed him a pass from behind the net. Dalpe's shot beat Nathan Alalouf five-hole to give the Vees a 3-0 lead in the South Okanagan Events Centre.
"I thought everybody contributed. I thought it was exciting to see how (Steen) Cooper did on the wing," said Vees coach Fred Harbinson.
Playing on a line with Benoit, Cooper finished with a goal and an assist and Harbinson said it was probably his best game as a Vee.
"There were some guys who probably struggled the last few games that really stepped up their game," said Harbinson. "I thought the new additions with (Nic) Pierog and Benoit through the middle definitely give us a lot of strength."
When asked about the play of his new additions, Harbinson said that Pierog had a great game.
"Probably could have had three or four goals and played outstanding," said Harbinson as the Vees acquired him on Saturday for Anthony Conti and future considerations. "Benoit had three assists. Played really well in his two games. Pierog hasn't even had a practice with us. Got off the plane last night. I think the guys are excited about what the possibilities are."
The Centennials did get on the scoresheet midway through the second on a goal by Daniel Nachbaur, but McClure' second goal and 31st of the season came just before the period ended.
"They are a good team so they are going to have their moments," said Harbinson. "That's what we talked to our guys about. The old bend but don't break. They had their chances in the second. A huge goal (by McClure) at the end of the second."
Things started well for the Vees as Cody DePourcq opened the scoring just 13 seconds into the game.
"Our forecheck was really strong early," said Harbinson. "That created some havoc for them. It was a great goal by Cody being patient."
The Vees went 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Centennials were shutout on five tries. Olivier Mantha got the nod in net and made 24 saves for the win as the Vees improved to 25-9-2-3. Alalouf finished with 21 saves. The Centennials are now 19-16-3-1.
For more Vees coverage, check Wednesday's issue of the Penticton Western News.