The Penticton Vees (34-10-2-3) limited the Trail Smoke Eaters (30-15-4-1) to just 15 shots through 40 minutes of play en route to a 4-1 victory, to remain in first place in the BCHL standings.
The Vees came out flying in the opening period Wednesday night in Trail, peppering Adam Marcoux with 20 shots. It was the final one of the period that got past Marcoux as Lukas Sillinger’s shot from the left circle went off Marcoux’s pad, then off Jackson Keane’s leg and into the net with 6.7 seconds left in the period.
Early in the second period Jared Nash used an active stick to create a chance for himself. After intercepting a rink-wide feed by the Smoke Eaters at their blue line, Nash then skated in on a breakaway, faking to the forehand before pulling to his backhand and sliding the puck past Marcoux 1:44 into the second period.
Trail had a pair of power play opportunities as the period went on, but Vees netminder Nolan Hildebrand held the fort making all 15 saves through 40 minutes of play.
Early in the third the Vees scored on the man advantage. Jonny Tychonick carried the puck into the Trail zone and looked and centred the puck for Jack Barnes, who ended a 23-game goalless drought beating Marcoux glove side.
Three minutes later Trail went back to the man advantage and Connor Welsh’s wrist shot bounced off Braeden Tuck and through the legs of Hildebrand to cut the Vees lead to 3-1.
While Trail ramped up their offence, Hildebrand shut the door for the remainder of the game, finishing with 25 saves for his 11th win of the year.
Wyatt Sloboshan hit the empty net to seal the victory for the Vees, who remain two points up on the Vernon Vipers for first place in the Interior Division and overall BCHL standings. Penticton still has two games in hand.
The Vees now get set to play at the South Okanagan Events Centre for the first time in two weeks as they host those same Smoke Eaters at 7 p.m. on Friday to wrap up the season series.