The Penticton Vees Ryan Sandelin scored twice and added an assist in a 7-4 victory over the Trail Smoke Eaters on Friday. Jim Bailey photos.

Penticton Vees win both ends of home-and-home over Trail Smoke Eaters

Penticton Vees forward Andre Ghantous came back to haunt his former Trail Smoke Eaters team.

Penticton Vees forward Andre Ghantous came back to haunt his former team scoring the winning goal for the Penticton Vees on Friday in a 7-4 victory over the Trail Smoke Eaters at the Cominco Arena, and earning the game’s first-star honour in a 3-2 Vees win on Saturday in Penticton.

Ghantous looked forward to his return to the Silver City, especially since joining the Vees on Sept. 25 and riding a recent wave of success with the Interior Division leaders.

“Obviously, they have a really good legacy in Penticton, great fan-base, great staff, great guys so it’s been fun,” said Ghantous. “It was definitely a little weird (returning to Trail), lots of guys I’ve been friends with for two years, so it was weird coming in and playing against them.”

On Saturday, Trail looked to rebound from the loss at the Cominco Arena Friday, and came out strong in Game 2 of the home-and-home outshooting the Vees 11-7 in the first period.

But the Vees turned the game around in the second, when Ghantous burst down the right side and beat Smokies goalie Adam Marcoux over the glove, just six minutes in for a 1-0 lead.

Ghantous was traded to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs at the end of last season, after playing two seasons with the Smoke Eaters. He was sent to the Bulldogs as the player to be named later in the deal that brought the Smokies 20-year-old d-man Connor Welsh in January.

“It took me by surprise, and I was pretty emotional about it because Trail was a big part of my life for two years, but it happens in the game of hockey, you just have to move on,” said Ghantous.

Penticton later made a deal for the California native, bringing Ghantous back to the Interior Division. The move helped the Vees turn around a sluggish start and rise to the top of the Interior Division standings with Ghantous contributing six goals and 22 points in 26 games.

“Definitely very different coming in, but all the guys were very welcoming as were all the staff, so it’s been an easy transition.”

Jackson Niedermayer made it 2-0 under two minutes later, firing in a rebound off a James Miller sharp-angle shot. The Vees poured on the pressure, and Eric Linnell scored the eventual game-winner with 44 seconds remaining in the second as the Vees outshot Trail 10-1 in the period.

Trail battled back in the third with Carter Jones wiring home a shot from the high slot at 16:37, and Hayden Rowan scoring with a minute left brought the Smokies to within one.

The Smoke Eaters outshot the Vees 25-21, with Trail going 1-for-5 on the power play, and Penticton 0-for-1. Ghantous earned the game’s first star, Linell second star, and Vees goalie Jack Lafontaine the third star.

On Friday, Ghantous’ game-winning goal with 2:44 to play in the second period gave the Vees a 5-2 lead on their way to a 7-4 drubbing of the Smoke Eaters.

The Penticton Vees jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from Linell and Ryan Sandelin. Dave Silye made it 3-0 just 1:47 into the second, before Owen Ozar got Trail on the board at 14:44. The teams traded goals with Mason Snell scoring for the Vees, and Chase Stevenson for the Smoke Eaters to make it 4-2.

Ghantous put the Vees up 5-2 heading into the third period as the Vees held a 23-21 edge in shots.

Mack Byers scored a shorthanded goal early in the third, but goals from Cassidy Bowes and Sandelin put the Vees up 7-3. Smokie veteran Spencer McLean completed the scoring with just over two minutes remaining.

The Smoke Eaters traded goalie Tanner Marshall to the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Brooks Bandits on Saturday, and brought in Major Midget goalie Logan Terness from the Vancouver NE Chiefs. Terness was pressed into action after the Vees scored their seventh on starter Adam Marcoux with just over eight minutes to play in the third period. The Major Midget goalie made the most of his appearance, stopping all 16 shots, including three breakaways, to make a lasting impression.

The Pens power play was firing on all cylinders going 3-for-5 on the night, while Trail went 0-for-4. Penticton outshot Trail 42-28.

The Vees swept the game stars with Sandelin earning first star, Ghantous second star, and James Miller third star.

Trail travels to the Lower Mainland for three games against Langley Rivermen, Coquitlam Express and Chilliwack Chiefs this weekend.


Former Smoke Eater Andre Ghantous returned to Trail scoring a goal and an assist in the Vees 7-4 win.

Just Posted

St. Michael’s KIDS Care Centre and Little Saints kindergarten celebrated

Little Saints Junior Kindergarten will be ready to go this fall

A hint of NHL favoritism?

“There will certainly be lots of side stories, bottom stories, involved to draw my attention.”

Historic maps reveal obscure Arrow Lake place names

Place Names: Little-known Arrow Lakes names

New head of library services at Trail Riverfront Centre

Samantha Murphy filled various positions at the Trail library over the past 5 years

Police investigating felling of old cedars at Cottonwood Lake

One of the cedars was 300 to 450 years old

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

ICBC urging drivers to slow down this May long weekend

Speed is number one cause of car crash fatalities: ICBC

Bucks hammer Raptors 125-103 to take 2-0 playoff series lead

Toronto heads home in a hole after second loss to Milwaukee

Most Read