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GAME RECAP: Somerville Plays Hero As Vees Clinch 9th Consecutive Interior Division Pennant

PHOTO: Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography

PENTICTON, B.C. – The Penticton Vees claimed their 9th consecutive Interior Division pennant and 10th straight victory as Nico Somerville scored the overtime winner in a 5-4 victory over the West Kelowna Warriors on Sunday afternoon at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

The afternoon start saw good chances for both sides in the early going but it was the visiting Warriors who drew first blood and took a 1-0 lead at the 5:06 mark of the 1st period. John Evans held the puck in at the left point and sent a shot to the net where Tyler Cristall collected at the top of the crease and made a move to his forehand, beating Vees goaltender Yaniv Perets to his blocker side to give the visitors a one-goal advantage.

The Vees bounced back and tied the game around the halfway mark of the opening period with the captain David Silye getting his team on the board. Silye drove wide down the right wing on his backhand before going to the goal and sliding the puck past Warriors goaltender Johnny Derrick for his 20th goal of the season and a 1-1 tie at the 9:52 mark of the opening period.

Liam Malmquist found iron on a shot from the left face-off circle on a wrist shot to the blocker side of Derrick while Perets made many good stops in the 1st period but West Kelowna would regain their lead at the 16:10 mark of the 1st frame.

Off a face-off to the blocker side of Perets, Holden Kodak pushed his way through the Vees defenders and got to a loose puck at the side of the crease as he moved to his backhand and lifted a shot over the blocker side of Perets to give West Kelowna their second lead of the game and get ahead by a 2-1 score.

Penticton used an early power play in the middle period to even the score for a second time in the game as Conner Hutchison levelled the game at 2-2. Jay O’Brien spotted Hutchison with a pass from the left face-off circle as the Vees defender one-timed a shot through the legs of Derrick and into the back of the net for his 6th goal of the season and a 2-2 game at the 2:15 mark of the 2nd period.

The Vees continued to press in the middle frame, outshooting the Warriors by a 19-8 margin and took their first lead of the contest at the 8:43 mark of the 2nd period. Nico Somerville sent a shot to the net from the right point that was redirected off the stick of Jackson Niedermayer, who had his first attempt stopped before Niedermayer potted the rebound for his 19th goal of the season and a 3-2 Vees lead.

Perets came up with a big stop just moments later, denying Carter Wilkie on a breakaway before the Vees killed off a 33-second five-on-three-man advantage for West Kelowna and carried a one-goal lead into the 3rd period of play.

A power play for West Kelowna helped tie the game at the 3:07 mark of the 3rd period as Cristall tallied his second goal of the game. Evans got the puck in the left face-off circle and sent a pass across on the right side as Cristall gathered at the goal line and beat Perets on the glove side for his second goal of the game and a 3-3 game.

One minute later, Carter Wilkie restored the West Kelowna lead at the 4:07 mark after taking the puck on a bounce off the end boards. Addison Macey sent a puck wide of the goal on the blocker side of Perets before the puck caromed off the end boards before Wilkie collected in the right circle and shot past Perets on the glove side to give West Kelowna a 4-3 advantage.

The game was knotted up once again at the 8:15 mark of the 3rd period on a burst of speed from Niedermayer in the neutral zone to even the score. Sillinger guided the puck to centre ice where Niedermayer raced ahead and shot through the middle of the ice, taking the puck past two defenders and went in on a breakaway, beating Derrick through his legs for his second goal of the game and 20th of the season to tie the game at 4-4.

The game remained tied and, for the second straight game, the Vees were headed for overtime. After killing off a penalty in the extra frame, while the game was still four-on-four, Nico Somerville potted his second overtime winner as a Vee to help them to their 10th consecutive victory.

Hutchison got the puck into the left-wing corner and sent a pass to the slot where Somerville gathered and fired a wrist shot through the blocker side of Derrick for his 7th goal of the season as the Vees clinched their 9th consecutive Interior Division pennant in a 5-4 overtime win.

Yaniv Perets was strong in the contest, turning aside 33 of the 37 shots he faced in his 24th victory of the season while Johnny Derrick stopped 36 of the 41 shots thrown his way in his 2nd overtime loss of the season.

FINAL SCORE: 5-4 Vees (OT)

SHOTS ON GOAL: 41-37 Vees

VEES PP: 1/2

VEES PK: 4/5

3 STARS:

1) Jackson Niedermayer (2-1-3)

2) David Silye (1-1-2)

3) Tyler Cristall (2-0-2)

Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Ethan Martini (0-0-0)

Attendance: 2,907

The Vees (41-11-1-1) will be spending Valentine’s Day at the South Okanagan Events Centre in a battle of the top two teams in the BCHL, facing off against the Coquitlam Express (42-8-1-1) on Friday night. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM with tickets available for purchase at the Valley First Box Office as well as online at ValleyFirstTix.com.

Spend your Valentine’s Day with your special someone and the Vees! Get two tickets, two glasses of wine (or beer) as well as two chocolate dipped strawberries for just $38! Head to the Valley First Box Office or online at ValleyFirstTix.com for more information and to purchase your Valentine’s Day package!