Friday, March 1, 2013 - Submitted by Fraser Rodgers
PENTICTON, BC-It wasn’t Garrett McMullen this time and the score-line read differently, but it was same result. Valik Chichkin scored the game-winner 1:52 into the second overtime period, as the Trail Smoke Eaters scored a 3-2 win over the Penticton Vees Friday. The Smoke Eaters spoiling the Vees last home game of the regular season in front over 2,500 fans.
Six days ago in Trail, it was the Smoke Eaters captain Garrett McMullen scoring off the rush in the fifth period, lifting the Smokies to a one-goal victory. Fast-forward to tonight and it was a defenseman, not a forward playing hero for Trail. Valik Chichkin snatched a loose puck in the slot and stepped into a wrist-shot that beat Chad Katunar over the glove, less than two minutes into the three-on-three period.
The sudden-victory is Trail’s fourth win in a row and second in as many games against the Vees. The Smoke Eaters remain tied on points with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Interior Division; the Silverbacks also winning in overtime Friday.
Mike Rebry secured the single point for the Vees when he tied the game at two’s late in the third period. Trailing after a go-ahead power-play marker by the Smoke Eaters, John Siemer made a nice dish out from behind the net to Rebry, who snapped a shot past the short-side of Adam Todd at 13:21; Rebry’s 17th and first in six games dating back to January 19th.
Garrett McMullen broke a one-one tie in the opening minutes of the third period on a Smokies man-advantage. McMullen found open space after a scramble in the Vees end and wired a shot over the shoulder of Chad Katunar at 5:36.
The only other scoring came back in the opening period, as the two teams traded goals just over five-minutes apart. Wade Murphy opened the scoring just past the seven-minute mark when he let go a laser from the deep slot. Murphy put a wrist-shot just over the glove of Adam Todd at 7:20; Murphy’s 23rd and second against Trail this season.
Trail’s league-worst power-play looked anything but, as they scored on two of their three opportunities. They tied the game on their first man-advantage of the night, when Penticton product Tyler Berkholtz buried on the door-step. The puck jetted out front and Berkholtz, at the post, surprised Chad Katunar with a quick backhand at 12:32.
The Vees missed out on a great opportunity to go-ahead late in the first period. Trail spotted the Vees a two-man advantage for seventy-three seconds but the Vees came up empty and the two teams skated to the intermission deadlocked at one.
FINAL SCORE 3-2 SMOKE EATERS Shots: 33-24 Vees Power-Play: Vees 0/4 Smoke Eaters 2/3 Three Stars: 1) Adam Todd 2) Garrett McMullen 3) Mike Rebry Attendance: 2,527
GAME NOTES Jedd Soleway missed his second straight game, as he was finishing his two-game suspension he picked up on February 22nd. The overtime loss is the Vees fifth this season and all five losses have come in the three-on-three period. The loss also denies the Vees their 20th home win in their last home game of the regular season. The loss pushes the Vees winless streak to three, and first time they lost more than in a row since early November.
UP NEXT The Vees jump right back on the bus tomorrow as they wrap-up the home-and-home set in Trail; puck drop is 7:30pm. The Vees finish off their regular season schedule next week with stops in Vernon Friday and once more in Trail next Sunday.
Playoff tickets are now on sale at the Valley First box office at the SOEC or by going to the Vees website, www.pentictonvees.ca and filling out your order form.