The Penticton Vees only scored once Friday, but that’s all rookie goaltender Yaniv Perets seems to need.
Cade Webber scored and Perets earned his third straight shutout as the Vees beat the Vernon Vipers 1-0 for their ninth straight win to open the season at the BCHL Showcase Festival at South Okanagan Events Centre.
Perets, called on to make 15 saves, has not surrendered a goal in 180 minutes and 55 seconds dating back to the last minute of a 7-3 Vees win in Merritt on Sept. 13.
Perets has given up just four goals in five games this season.
Vernon goalie Max Palaga was sensational with 33 saves for the Vipers (3-4-0).
The Vees (9-0-0) moved back into first place in the Interior Division, one point ahead of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (8-1-1), who beat the Wenatchee Wild 3-2 earlier in the day at the Showcase tournament.
In other games Friday, Prince George edged West Kelowna 3-2 and the Trail Smoke Eaters blasted the Merritt Centennials 7-1.
The Vees play the Wenatchee Wild in the final game at the Showcase tonight at 7 p.m., while West Kelowna takes on Vernon at 4 p.m.
In other games today, all at the SOEC, Salmon Arm plays the Coquitlam Express at 10 a.m. and Trail faces Prince George at 1 p.m.
In front of 2,098 fans Friday night, the Vees carried the play in the first period, outshooting the Vipers 12-4.
The Vees finally broke through with 1:28 to go in the period. Colton Kalezic sprung Webber on a breakaway and the towering blue-liner swooped in and squeezed a shot between Palaga’s pads and just over the line.
The six-foot-seven Webber is a 2019, fourth-round draft pick of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.
The second period was much more wide open and both goalies – especially Palaga – had to be sharp, with the Vees again with a 12-4 edge in shots.
The Vees kept coming in the third period and forward Lukas Sillinger was denied by the crossbar for the second time in the game.
Vernon came on in the last 10 minutes and Perets had to be at his best to protect the slender lead and match Palaga’s heroics at the other end.
Webber, Palaga and Perets were the three stars in the Interior Division arch-rivals first matchup of the season.
Spruce Kings 3 Warriors 2: Chong Min-Lee scored 2:48 into the third period to break the tie as Prince George handed West Kelowna its eighth straight loss in a 10 a.m. puck-drop Friday at the SOEC.
Preston Brodziak and Finlay Williams scored power-play goals for the defending BCHL champion Spruce Kings (4-4-2).
Lucas Cullen and Brandon Dent scored and Declan Douthart assisted on both for the Warriors (1-9-2).
Jeff Alexander made 19 saves for the Kings and Brock Baier had 25 stops for the Warriors.