|Christian Sanda & Jonny Tychonick - Photo courtesy of Damon James|
The Express were missing 7 players due to various ailments and had 5 AP's in the lineup. The most notable absence for the Express was defenseman Troy Robillard.
Despite the shorthanded roster, the Express valiantly did battle at times with what they had. But as the game went on the Vees overall depth and skill allowed them to take over as the game went deeper.
Jack MacNab surprised everyone in the building opening the scoring with a wrist shot from outside the blueline that snuck past the blocker of Adam Scheel.
The early hole was the spark for the Vees to start moving their feet and push the pace on the Express.
In game 2, a lengthy series of puck control shifts in the Express zone in the second period eventually led to the 3-1 goal by Jackson Keane. The equalizer for the Vees in the first period developed under similar circumstances.
After 90 seconds of puck control in the Express zone. The puck again found Keane's stick who scored to tie the game at one.
On the first shift after that goal Jason Fortier sent out Christian Sanda, Josh Wildauer and Eric Linell who got the momentum back for the Express and Sanda scored on a loose puck in front of the net with his second of the series.
Brock Hamm was busy at the other end, and he was strong finishing the period with 24 first period saves to preserve the Express lead after 1 period.
Penticton has really made hay in this series to turn games in their favour in the second period. Jack Barnes scored the game winning goal in the second period in game 1. Saturday in game 2 the Vees struck four times to pull away. Game 3 was no different.
|Ryan Stack - Photo courtesy of Damon James|
A Penticton power play led to a goal by Wyatt Sloboshan who snapped a back door feed to even the game at 2.
Midway through the period Marcus Mitchell dug the puck out of traffic as the Vees worked the puck in the Express zone. Mitchell then walked in off the boards and surprised Brock Hamm with a shot from the half boards finding the net on the short side.
The Vees top end skill started to really take over by this point. Just 10 seconds after Mitchell's goal Chris Black cut in the Express zone and some how below the goal line was able to tuck in the puck inside the post on Brock Hamm.
Then with 3 minutes left in the period Micheal Campoli made a slap pass to Jared Nash who quickly tipped the puck to Sloboshan who scored his second of the night on the prettiest goal of the evening.
Penticton has outscored the Express 9-1 in the second period in this series and 8-0 in the last two games.
In the final minute of the second period a dangerous hit by Dominic Davis from behind on Nicky Leivermann sent the defenseman crashing head first into the boards. There was a lengthy delay as the medical personnel took every necessary precaution. The Colorado Avalanche defenseman was eventually taken off the ice on a stretcher. But the Vees post-game provided good news on the defenseman.
We have received word that Nicky Leivermann has avoided a serious injury after being pushed into the boards tonight. He won’t play tomorrow but should have a speedy recovery.— Penticton Vees (@PentictonVees) March 7, 2018
Davis was given a five minute major penalty and game misconduct for the hit.
Penticton struck twice on the ensuing power play on Klack's second of the night and Jack Barnes scoring his second of the series to round out the scoring. The Vees scored three power play goals for a second straight game.
The Vees peppered Express goaltenders Brock Hamm and Clay Stevenson with 51 shots. Hamm was relived for a second straight game after 7 goals on 40 shots.
Game 4 of this series goes Tuesday night with the Express playing to keep their season alive.