Smokies take heat from Penticton in home opening
The Penticton Vees spoiled the Smoke Eaters’ home-opening party, winning a pair of weekend games by 5-1 and 7-0 scores at Cominco Arena in Trail Friday and Saturday.
Minnesotan forward Max Coatta opened and rounded out the Vees’ scoring as part of a hat-trick performance, as the Vees took advantage of a nervy home squad in Friday’s series opener. Coatta’s first goal came just after the 12-minute mark at the tail end of a power-play, as he fired a puck high on Trail starter Adam Todd from the top of the left circle. Cody DePourcq gave the visitors a 2-0 lead from just outside the blue paint with only six seconds remaining in the opening frame.
The Smokies were blessed with several early power-plays, and came closest to scoring midway through the second period when a puck bounced to Brendan Lamont in the slot. The 19 year-old’s shot was parried away
by a quick Mantha shoulder, and the Vees took a 3-0 lead into the second intermission after Coatta fired home his second goal at 8:46 of the middle frame.
Ben Dalpe would add a fourth for Penticton at 12:18, again from in tight after a centring feed from rightwinger Ryan Gropp. Just fifteen seconds later, Coatta would wire a shot from a near-impossible angle over
Todd’s left shoulder to complete his hat-trick.
Nicholas Patey scored Trail’s lone tally with just under 3 minutes left in the game, as he walked out from the left corner and backhanded a shot that rolled over Mantha’s shoulder and in. Mantha made 29 saves in goal for the Vees, while Todd stopped 29 shots for Trail.
Penticton carried over their offensive flair into Saturday’s matchup, scoring four times in the opening frame and riding a 31-save performance in a 7-0 triumph Saturday.
The Vees scored four power-play goals, three of which came in the first period.
Penticton opened the scoring in the opening minute thanks to a Patrick Sexton effort from the left wing, but broke the game open with two goals in the space of 43 seconds on a 5-on-3 power-play. Friday’s hero, Max
Coatta, then former Smoke Eater Anthony Conti from the high slot put the visitors ahead 3-0 before Brett Beauvais capitalized on another power-play in the final minute of the period.
Conti would add a second goal late in period two, and rookie Josh Blanchard also batted in a puck off Trail starter Dustin Nikkel’s shoulder to give the Vees a 6-0 lead entering the final frame.
Brad McClure snapped home the Vees’ seventh goal on a short-handed 2-on-1 with 4:48 remaining in period three.
The Vees went 4/9 on the power-play in a chippy, messy affair Saturday, while the Smoke Eaters failed to capitalize on nine power-plays of their own.
Miska collected his first BCHL shutout, with the best Smokies chance coming off the stick of Travis Stephens from the low slot midway through the third period. The 20 year-old’s shot caromed off the cross-bar, then
bounced off the goal-line and stayed out.
The Smokies conclude their three-game home stand Tuesday, Sept. 17 when they host the Merritt Centennials. For ticket information, call (250) 368-5000.