The Penticton Vees remained undefeated and now they’re the only B.C. Hockey League team that can still say that.
Yaniv Perets kicked out 21 shots for his second straight shutout and the Vees breezed to a 3-0 victory over the West Kelowna Warriors in their home opener in front of 3,368 fans Friday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Penticton improved to 7-0-0 and took over sole possession of first place in the Interior Division after the Salmon Arm Silverbacks fell to 6-1-0 after a 4-1 home loss to the Cowichan Valley Capitals.
The Wenatchee Wild, who came in unbeaten in regulation time, were thumped 6-2 on the road by the Chilliwack Chiefs to fall to 5-1-1.
Vincent Nardone, Jackson Niedermayer and Colton Kalezic scored for the Vees, who led 1-0 and 3-0 at the intermissions. Liam Malmquist and Evan McIntyre each had two assists.
Brock Baier made 27 saves for the Warriors, who sagged to 1-6-2 to open the season.
The Valley rivals will do battle again tonight at 6 p.m. at Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna, while the Vernon Vipers welcome the Cowichan Valley Capitals to Kal Tire Place, also at 6 p.m.
A scrambly first period featured little in the way of scoring chances, but Nardone nudged the Vees into the lead at 7:36.
The rookie forward skated to the left circle and surprised Baier with a snapshot to the top corner with Malmquist and Danny Weight assisting.
The Vees took over in the second period and were rewarded with two goals.
Niedermayer connected on the power play with a wrist shot from the right circle over Baier’s shoulder with traffic in front at 7:36. Malmquist and McIntyre assisted.
Kalezic made it 3-0 at 13:53 as he neatly directed a spin-a-round point shot by McIntyre, with Alex DiPaolo also earning an assist.
A surprising development in the last minute of the period saw Vees first-line centre Jay O’Brien and Spencer Hora dropping the gloves in a spirited scrap.
Both players were ejected from the contest.
The Warriors emerged from the fray with a two-man power play for two minutes, including 1:39 to start the third period. But Perets made a series of splendid saves to keep the Vees in command.
The Warriors did get Baier to the bench for an extra attacker with 1:05 to go, but rarely threatened after the early power play chance.