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Vees clinch ninth straight Interior Division title

The Penticton Vees clinch their ninth straight Interior Division crown while beating the West Kelowna Warriors 5-4 in overtime. Capturing their tenth straight victory, the Vees keep the drum rolling and look poised to have a deep playoff run. 

In a wild Sunday matinee, Warriors forward Tyler Cristall opened the scoring within five minutes of the first period. It didn’t take long for the Vees to respond though, as Penticton stole the puck and passed it to David Silye, who had speed coming into the zone. Silye drove past the defense and tucked it by Warriors netminder Johnny Derrick. However, after a Holden Kodak goal, the Warriors had taken a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes. 

The Vees added two goals in the second to take the lead. The first came from Conner Hutchison and the second from Jackson Niedermayer who received the puck off a juicy rebound from Derrick and slid it across the line.

The third saw the Warriors score twice within the first five minutes of the frame. It took another goal by Niedermayer to tie the game at four. He picked up speed from his own zone, to give himself a partial breakaway and while holding off a defender, the Arizona State University commit went five-hole past Derrick. 

It was a thrilling 3-on-3 overtime with both teams creating chances. The Warriors had the opportunity to end the game on a power play, but the Vees penalty kill took care of business. After the penalty, while carrying the puck, Hutchison drew the defenders towards himself and fed it to an undetected Nico Somerville who shot it from the slot and past the Warriors netminder.

The first and second stars of the game came from the Vees. First star went to Niedermayer with two goals and an assist while the second star was Silye with a goal and an assist. Up next for the Vees is a Valentine’s Day date with the high flying Coquitlam Express, who sit first in the BCHL standings. The Vees look to avenge their last meeting with the Express after Coquitlam thrashed them 7-2 at the Porier Sports and Leisure Centre. This meeting should be a barn burner as Penticton looks to extend its win streak to 11 games. The puck drops at 7:00 pm Friday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.