COOPER’S TWO POINTS HELP VEES HAND CANADIANS FIRST LOSS
JASON LA ROSE
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. – Steen Cooper tied the game early in the second period and set up Connor Chartier for the game-winner five minutes into the third, helping the Penticton Vees edge the Carleton Place Canadians 4-3 on Tuesday afternoon at the 2015 RBC Cup.
The win leaves both teams at 2-1, and temporarily moves Penticton into first place, depending on the result of the Portage Terriers-Soo Thunderbirds game on Tuesday night.
Cam Amantea and Riley Alferd scored the other goals for the Vees, who trailed twice in the first 10 minutes.
Andy Sturtz, Adam Lloyd and Stephen Baylis, all returnees from the Canadians’ 2014 RBC Cup team, did the scoring for Carleton Place, but it lost – and allowed a goal – for the first time in the tournament.
It didn’t take long for the scoring to get started; Sturtz took advantage of a very early power play opportunity for the Canadians, firing a wrist shot through traffic and past Penticton goaltender Hunter Miska just 10 seconds into the man advantage, and just 30 seconds into the game.
Amantea answered for the Vees just past the five-minute mark, batting a rebound past Guillaume Therien and ending the Carleton Place goaltender’s tournament-opening shutout streak at 125:09.
But Lloyd restored the Canadians’ lead five minutes after that; onto the ice on a line change and straight into the offensive zone, the puck found his stick and he snapped a shot over Miska’s short-side shoulder.
The Vees held an 11-6 advantage in shots on goal in the first period and continued to pressure in the second, doubling the Canadians in shots at 12-6 and scoring twice to take the lead for good.
Cooper buried a rebound at 3:40 to pull Penticton even on the power play, and Alferd’s shot bounced off Carleton Place forward Maxime St. Pierre and past Therien at 7:49 to put the Vees ahead for the first time.
Chartier was left alone in front of Therien and redirected a Cooper pass five-hole to make it 4-2 at 5:21 of the third period, but Baylis went end to end on a Canadians man advantage just 58 seconds later to get the East Region champions back within a goal.
They would get no closer, however; a goal post in the dying minutes was Carleton Place’s best chance.
Penticton will enjoy an off day Wednesday before closing out the preliminary round Thursday afternoon against the Soo Thunderbirds (2 p.m. CT), while the Canadians will finish their robin round against the Melfort Mustangs in Wednesday’s lone game (7 p.m. CT).