Cole Shepard, #9 for the Vees, carries the puck into Alberni territory, ltrying to line up a pass. Brennan Phillips/Western News

Vees open at home with a win

Penticton Vees shut down Alberni Valley Bulldogs

After a month of road games, the Penticton Vees were back home Saturday night, with a two to nothing win over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

Jack LaFontaine made 23 saves to record his first BCHL shutout as the Vees (4-3-0) blanked the Bulldogs (2-6-0) 2-0 in the Vees home opener at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

The Vees jumped out to a quick start as they peppered Bulldogs goalie John Hawthorne with eight shots in the opening four minutes. The final shots in the first period were 12-4 for the Vees.

Penticton thought they had opened the scoring in the first after David Silye let a one-timer go from the left circle. The shot was originally called a goal, but upon video review, it was clear the puck hit the crossbar and stayed out of the net.

Four minutes into the second period, Andre Ghantous scored for his second time in as many games as a member of the Vees. A scramble in front of the Bulldogs net led to Ghantous finding a loose puck and beating Hawthorne to get the SOEC crowd on their feet.

The game remained close through 40 minutes as the Vees held a 1-0 lead. Both teams had chances on power plays, but neither could capitalize.

In the third period, Lukas Sillinger blocked three consecutive one-timers while short-handed to help keep his team up 1-0.

Silye found the back of the net with just 2:29 remaining following a turnover. While in the right circle, with seemingly nothing to shoot at, Silye fired a wrist shot into the top corner over Hawthorne’s shoulder to give the Vees the insurance they needed.

Alberni pulled Hawthorne for the extra attacker following the goal, putting on a sustained pressure in the Vees zone, but they couldn’t get past LaFontaine who posted the 23-save shutout.

The Vees renew their rivalry with the Vernon Vipers next Friday at the SOEC.

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