Vees fall in Game 1 - lose home ice advantage

Penticton, BC: The Penticton Vees seemed a step behind the play for long stretches during game one of the Interior Division quarterfinals, dropping a 4-1 game to the Cowichan Valley Capitals Thursday night.

Cowichan’s forecheck and constant pressure along the boards was evident all night long and resulted in their opening goal. After the puck hoped off James Miller’s stick in the slot, Niko Esposito-Selivanov found it behind the Vees net.

He threw a backhanded centring feed to the crease and Paul Selleck was able to sneak a jam play under the glove of Jack LaFontaine to open the scoring with five minutes to go in the first.

Trailing 1-0 heading into the second, the Vees tied the game early in the middle frame. After Lukas Sillinger deflected a point shot, it skipped in on Pierce Diamond who couldn’t corral it before Eric Linell jumped on the rebound 4:14 into the period.

The game didn’t stay tied for long as the Vees defence got caught on a bad change. A stretch pass went up the middle and onto the stick of Selivanov who came in on the clear cut breakaway and beat LaFontaine over the blocker to restore Cowichan’s lead three minutes later.

The Capitals extended their lead less than three minutes later. Off a face-off win, Selivanov poked the puck up to Dimitri Mikrogiannakis who let a one timer go from the right point. The puck sailed into the top corner passed a screened LaFontaine to give Cowichan a 3-1 lead halfway through the period.

The Vees had a late power play in the second, but couldn’t take advantage of the last-ranked penalty kill in the BCHL and trailed 3-1 heading into the third.

Penticton began to ramp up the pressure in the third, but Diamond was there at every turn. Cowichan took two more penalties in the third, but the Vees couldn’t capitalize as they’d finish 0-for-5 on the night.
With the net empty in the final minutes, Ryan Sandelin came up with three kick saves to keep the game within reach before the Capitals were finally able to hit the empty net on a beat icing call to seal the loss for the Vees.

Penticton now looks to even the series before it shifts to Duncan for games three and four Tuesday and Wednesday night, as game two goes Saturday at 6:00 at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Announced attendance was 2,552.