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Vees whip Centennials in Game 1
Excitement Tuesday morning for the start of the BCHL playoffs resulted in the Penticton Vees whipping the Merritt Centennials 8-0.
Vees coach Fred Harbinson could see his players were ready. While the first period ended in a scoreless tie, the Vees outshot the Centennials 16-5 and had their best scoring chance from Cody DePourcq early. They also got a big play defensively by Cam Amantea, who got behind goalie Olivier Mantha and swiped away the puck that nearly crossed the goal line.
The Vees finally hit the scoresheet midway throgh the second period when captain Brad McClure buried his first of two after a shot attempt by Brett Beauvais redirected to McClure. Less than two minutes later, Matt Serratore made it 2-0 when he tipped a Jack Ramsey feed from the side of the net off of Devin Kero. Cody DePourcq made it 3-0 as his backhand shot found a hole in the Centennials goaltender.
In the third period, the Vees erupted for five goals. The first two (Amantea and Riley Alferd) were set up by Serratore, who was named the game's first star. Kero was then pulled in favour of Jarrod Schamerhorn. Schamherhorn didn't have much better luck as defenceman Paul Stoykewych was given all the space needed to skate to the net and wire a wrist shot top corner on Schamerhorn's glove side. Shane McColgan and McClure potted the other two goals.
Along with Serratore, DePourcq and McColgan finished with three points on the night. Beauvais, Ramsey, Alferd, Nic Pierog and McClure finished with a pair of points.
"It always goes down to little details that can create a bigger picture," said Harbinson. "Sometimes things don't go your way even when your'e on. I thought in the first period we set the stage."
With receiving balanced scoring, Harbinson said they know they need to use their depth. Giving ice time to all their players, said Harbinson, allowed them to play with energy.
"Our guys were making plays. It doesn't really matter how much you win by, you just need to get a win," said Harbinson.
Serratore said the reason his line with Alferd and Ramsey had such success is because they played to their strengths.
"Playing with speed down low, cycling the puck and getting pucks to the net," he said. " Just keeping things simple. Things were going well for us."
Serratore said the Centennials are a hard team to play against.
"I'm sure they will come hard tomorrow night," he said. "It's going to be a battle."
Defensively the Vees were strong. The Centennials finished with 20 shots, 12 in the second period, but Mantha wasn't forced to make many difficult saves.
"It's nice, really happy but it's a team shutout," said Mantha. "Got to give credit to all the guys tonight. Great game."
Mantha said the opening period was hard in facing five shots, but he made sure to keep his focus. A key to keeping the Centennials scoreless, said Mantha, was boxing out Merritt. After the first shot, the Centennials weren't able to get more chances.
"It makes our job a lot easier," said Mantha.
Game 2 is Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the South Okanagan Events Centre. Harbinson said he wants to see the same thing.
"If we have a mindset that things are going to get easier, it will be a reality check in a hurry," he said.