Chilliwack goalie Mitch Gillam blocks a shot with Penticton’s Bryce Gervais on his doorstep Saturday.

Chilliwack goalie Mitch Gillam blocks a shot with Penticton’s Bryce Gervais on his doorstep Saturday.

Vees grab 2-1 playoff series lead

Joey Benik scored a pair of goals Monday night as the Penticton Vees grounded the host Chilliwack Chiefs 3-1.

  • Mar. 21, 2012 11:00 a.m.

Morning Star Staff

Joey Benik scored a pair of goals Monday night as the Penticton Vees grounded the host Chilliwack Chiefs 3-1 before 1,900 fans at the Prospera Centre.

The Vees, who lost 3-2 in overtime, Saturday night in Penticton, took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven B.C. Hockey League quarterfinal series Game 4 Tuesday night.

Michael Spring of the Chiefs set the physical tone on the first shift, running over Penticton blueliner Mike Reilly behind the Vees net. Derek Huisman followed Spring’s lead a couple shifts later, leveling Wade Murphy with a solid hit along the left-wing boards.

Chilliwack did a nice job taking away Penticton’s time and space, but the Vees still managed to open the scoring at 11:12 of the first period on a goal that Chiefs ‘netminder Mitch Gillam would love to have back.

Benik did the damage with a wrist shot from beyond the left faceoff circle, sneaking the puck under Gillam’s glove and just inside the right goal-post.

The resilient Chiefs answered back just 75 seconds later on a goal by Trevor Hills. The overtime hero in Game 2 cruised through the Vees’ goal-mouth and deflected a David Thompson point shot past Penticton keeper Chad Katunar.

The second period pretty much looked like one big Penticton power play, with the Vees owning the puck from start to finish. The Chiefs didn’t help their cause with penalties, and it was a Thompson tripping minor that led to the only goal of the middle frame. Mike Reilly scored it, one timing a feed from Troy Stecher at 17:05.

The other highlight of period two was a scrap between Chilliwack’s Shay Laurent and Penticton’s Logan Johnston.

Laurent got Johnston’s attention when he bowled over Mario Lucia at the Chiefs’ blueline. The two dropped their mitts in the left corner and traded rights.

Benik added an empty-netter with 39 seconds remaining.

The Vees’ No. 1 goalie, Michael Garteig, is listed as day-to-day on injured reserve.

Malcolm Gould and Spencer Graboski scored the other Chilliwack goals Saturday before 2,200 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Ryan Reilly and Johnston scored for the Vees.

Meanwhile, the Merritt Centennials held a 3-0 series strangehold on the host Prince George Spruce Kings after winning 4-3 in overtime before 1,300 fans Monday night at the Coliseum.

Evan Stack netted the winner at 5:41 of OT, from Chad Brears. Lino Chimienti made 25 saves for the Cents.

In Coquitlam, Justin Georgeson scored at 2:25 of OT as the Express clipped the Powell River Kings in front of 750 fans at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre. Powell River led the series 2-1 heading into Game 4 Tuesday night.

 

Devin Gannon pulled the hat trick as the Cowichan Valley Capitals upended the Surrey Eagles 5-2 Monday night before 1,600 fans at the Island Savings Centre. Surrey was up 2-1 going into Game 4 Tuesday.