Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - Submitted by Fraser Rodgers, Penticton Vees
Joey Benik’s power-play goal early in the third period vaulted the Penticton Vees to a 2-1 win over the Woodstock Slammers on Tuesday night. The win is the Vees (1-2) first of the tournament and moves them in a four-way tie for second place.
Benik redirected a Mike Reilly point-shot past the glove of Slammers goaltender Matt Murphy just before the three-minute mark in the third. The goal marked two firsts for the Vees: their first power-play goal and their first lead of the RBC Cup.
The Vees controlled the pace in the first period with continuous pressure in the Woodstock zone as they doubled the Slammers in shots. However despite the advantage in play, the Vees couldn’t open the scoring, missing on several in-close opportunities. Mario Lucia had arguably the best chance, when he stick-handled through the Slammers defence and around the goalie but couldn’t shovel the puck past the post.
In the second period the Vees continued to pour on the pressure, putting puck after puck on goal but none of the nineteen shots beat the Slammers goaltender. The Vees had two power-play chances and again couldn’t convert on several quality opportunities.
The Slammers turned the tide, briefly, when they opened the scoring on a turnover behind the Vees net. The goaltender and defenceman got their signals crossed, allowing Chris Rygus to center a pass to Andrew Langan out front; the forward snapped a quick shot through the legs of Mike Garteig at 15:21.
The Vees didn’t waiver and quickly squared the game at one’s off the stick of Ryan Reilly. The future Minnesota Golden Gopher let go a wrist shot that handcuffed Murphy from just inside the blue-line at 16:41; eighty seconds after the Slammers opened the scoring.
In the third the Vees were given an early power-play when Tim Campbell was sent to the penalty-box for interference. On the man-advantage, Joey Benik broke the deadlock on a tip in front of the Slammers net.
The Vees ran into penalty trouble in the third, handing the Slammers four power plays in the final fourteen minutes but managed to hold them off the scoresheet. Mike Garteig stopped all seven shots he faced in the period, including a handful of key stops in the final minutes with the Vees short-handed.
Penticton plays their final game of the round robin Wednesday versus the Portage Terriers. Game time is 6:30 p.m. PT.
Which player will see the largest points increase this season?