Photo credit: Jack Murray
Wenatchee, WA: The Penticton Vees (22-9-2-2) appeared to score the tying goal with a few minutes left in the third period, but it was disallowed because the official lost sight of the puck. Minutes later the Wenatchee Wild (25-9-2-1) hit the empty net, winning 3-1.
A scoreless first period saw the two teams going a combined 0-for-5 on the power play with the Vees outshooting Wenatchee 13-4. Austin Park made a big stop on Jared Nash off a 2-on-1 rush late in the period to keep the game tied.
Nearly four minutes into the second period, Wild captain AJ Vanderbeck opened the scoring by knocking home a rebound off a Wild odd-man rush. It was his third goal in the last two games.
The Vees captain answered with a goal of his own, his fourth in the last two games, as Owen Sillinger had a clear cut breakaway from centre ice, beating Park on the backhand through the five hole for his 19th of the season.
With the game tied at one in the third native, a one-time Vees player scored the eventual game winner. After the Vees turned the puck over in their own zone, Nathan Iannone took a centring feed and fired a shot past Adam School’s blocker to give the Wild a 2-1 lead five minutes into the third.
With the clock winding down and the Vees chances piling up, they were finally able to beat Park again. During a scramble in front of the net, Ryan Sandelin was able to slide a loose puck in the crease into the net, but because the official was standing behind the goal he lost sight of the puck and blew play dead moments before Sandelin scored.
The Vees continued to press, looking for the tying goal in the final minutes of the game. With Scheel on the bench for the extra attack, Lucas Sowder was able to hit the empty net coming down the left wing to ice the game with 54 seconds remaining.
After he scored, Sowder was knocked to the ice by Sillinger which caused nearly every player on the ice to come together behind the Penticton net. Sillinger was eventually ejected from the game, as was Vanderbeck.
With 18 seconds left, Kenny Johnson and August Von Ungern came together at centre and both of them were ejected from the game as well.
The Vees have now dropped five games in a row for the first time since November 28-December 10, 2004. The team will have a full week of practice ahead of their next game when they welcome the Prince George Spruce Kings Friday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Newly-signed defenceman Michael Campoli will make his Vees debut that night.