Sunday, March 4, 2018


The Penticton Vees gave the Express a cruel and harsh lesson in will and desire in playoff hockey in game 2 of the Interior division quarter final. The final result saw the Vees hand the Express a 9-2 loss for a 2-0 Vees series lead. Click here for boxscore

After a game 1 that lacked your typical playoff emotion due to the Express and Vees not meeting often during the regular season, game 2 started to see some dislike emerge between the two teams.

With Will Lawerence in the box for high sticking, Penticton struck early to open the scoring. The Vees got the puck to the Express crease and Chris Klack was allowed to swat home a loose puck with minimal threat of the Vees goal scorer having to be knocked on his backside in order to score the goal.

Back to back Vees penalties resulted in powerplays for the Express, but they couldn't take advantage of the opportunity. The second Vees penalty was handed to Michael Campoli for a check from behind on Troy Robillard and the Vees defenseman was given a minor and a game misconduct.

Massimo Rizzo sped into the Express zone and roofed a backhand just under the crossbar on Brock Hamm for a 2-0 Vees lead at 14:52.

29 seconds later the Express had a response rushing the puck into the Vees zone with Eric Linell feeding Haydn Delorme who got the puck to the crease and Jack Lippis jammed it home to cut the Fees lead to 2-1.

In the final seconds of the first period Jake Toor got drilled into the boards from behind by Kenny Johnson. The Express forward did need some help to get off the ice and the Vees defenseman was not penalized for the hit. To give Toor credit he did return for the second period.

Entering this series there was a vast discrepancy in playoff experience in favour of the Vees due in large part to Penticton entering the series as defending BCHL champions. Along the way for the Vees they learned how to raise their intensity and compete level in order to have success in the playoffs.

That was on full display in the second period as the Vees took over the game. They were first on pucks more often and battled harder to get the puck back.

It was that Vees work ethic that didn't take long to start paying off. After a lengthy shift of Penticton puck control in the Express zone, eventually they got the break down they were looking for and Jackson Keane banged home a loose puck in the goal crease for a 3-1 Vees lead.

The Penticton pressure continued. After more puck control and strong play by the Vees in the Express end, the puck was played back to the point to Nicky Leivermann whose shot was stopped by Hamm, but Taylor Ward was alone in front of the net for a 4-1 Vees lead.

By this point Penticton was firing on all cylinders. Dakota Bautin on a 2 on 1 took his time before ripping a shot past the glove of Brock Hamm for a 5-1 Vees lead.

Once the second period came to a close it was 6-1 Vees on a goal by Massimo Rizzo for his second of the night. That goal was the result of more Vees puck hunting then setting up Rizzo who ripped a quick shot over Hamm's glove.

The foot wasn't taken off the throttle to open up the third period. Taylor Ward scored his second of the night rushing into the Express zone and snapping a shot past the glove of Hamm for a 7-1 Vees lead at 1:10.

Marcus Mitchell buried the Vees third power play goal of the night winning a puck battle in the Express crease for a 8-1 lead. At this point Jason Fortier gave Brock Hamm the rest of the night off after 8 goals on 27 shots. Many of the 8 goals that beat the Express co-MVP was the result of break downs in front of him and the goaltender wasn't at fault for the rough night.

Clay Stevenson wasn't expecting to see any action on his 19th birthday. Especially under the circumstances with his team trailing 8-1. He was beaten by Taylor Ward's hat-trick goal at 7:38. Ward finished with three goals and two assists.

With the lopsided score, you watch to see who is continuing to battle hard when they're on the ice. Christian Sanda, Eric Linell and Josh Wildauer kept up their effort level. Wildauer fed Linell in the slot who scored on a second effort to round out the scoring.

The teams have two days to rest up before game 3 goes Tuesday night in Coquitlam. It's a good time for the Express to evaluate how hard they're willing to battle and compete to make sure this series will at least return to Penticton for a game 5 Friday night.

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