PHOTO: Lisa Mazurek
VERNON, B.C. – The Penticton Vees scored late in the 3rd period with Ethan Mann playing hero as the Vees came-from-behind for a 3-2 overtime victory over the Vernon Vipers on Saturday night at Kal Tire Place
In the Vees first game away from the South Okanagan Events Centre in nearly a year, the team came out firing on all cylinders, creating plays in the offensive end and using their speed to their advantage to create opportunities and were rewarded early on in the 1st period as Thomas Pichette pushed the Vees ahead by a 1-0 score on the road.
Penticton used a strong fore-check to hem Vernon inside of their own zone as the puck was lodged against the side of the goal on the blocker side of Vipers netminder Ethan David before Pichette was able to grab a hold of the loose puck and bring it to the front of the goal before firing a shot past the glove side of David for his 1st goal of the preseason and a 1-0 Vees lead just 2:37 into the opening frame.
The Vees looked to extend their lead in the opening period with an odd-man rush as Brett Moravec and Beanie Richter teamed up for a great chance. Trevor O’Brien began the play, taking a hit to get the puck to the neutral zone before Moravec moved into the offensive end and slid a backhand pass to the left side where Richter banged the puck on goal but David denied the chance with his right pad to keep the game a one-goal contest.
That save proved to be a big one as Vernon came back late in the period and evened the score with Ayden Third finding the back of the net with just 47 seconds remaining in the period. JoJo Tanaka-Campbell fed a pass to the slot from the right face-off circle as Third gathered and snapped a shot through the glove side of Vees goaltender Colin Purcell to even the score at 1-1 heading into the 2nd period.
Despite outshooting the Vipers by a 15-8 margin, the Vees found themselves down a goal 4:00 into the 2nd period as Tanaka-Campbell pushed Vernon ahead for the first time on the night. A turnover inside the Vees zone led to a 2-on-0 for the Vipers with Reagan Milburn sliding a pass from his left to right where Tanaka-Campbell gathered on his forehand to move around a sprawled Purcell and finish to give Vernon a 2-1 advantage.
The Vees applied pressure in the 2nd period but found themselves trailing by a goal heading into the 3rd period, where again the Vees continued to push the pace and spend a fair amount of time in the Vipers zone. With Purcell pulled to the bench for an extra attacker, 16-year-old forward Bradley Nadeau evened the score and forced the game into overtime.
Jackson Nieuwendyk took the puck below the goal line with the Vees pressuring in the offensive zone and holding a 6-on-5 attack as he tried to wrap the puck around on the glove side of David with Nadeau collecting the puck in the left face-off circle and burying past the blocker side of the Vernon goaltender for his 1st goal of the exhibition season and with 1:28 remaining in regulation, the game was forced to overtime.
Each team traded chances in the overtime period before it was again Nadeau that created the chance, passing from the right face-off circle to an open Mann in the slot as he one-timed a shot past the blocker side of David for his 1st tally of the preseason and iced a 3-2 victory for the Vees on the road in overtime.
Colin Purcell turned aside 19 of the 21 shots he faced for the win in net while Ethan David stopped 29 of the 32 shots thrown his way in the loss.
FINAL SCORE: 3-2 Vees (OT)
SHOTS ON GOAL: 32-21 Vees
VEES PP: 0/5
VEES PK: 2/2
The Vees (2-0-0-0) return home to the South Okanagan Events Centre to face-off against the Prince George Spruce Kings (1-0-0-0) on Wednesday night. Puck drop is slated for 6:30 PM with tickets available at the SOEC Box Office as well as online at valleyfirsttix.com for just $10.