PHOTO: Lisa Mazurek/Lisa Mazurek Photography
VERNON, B.C. – Nico Somerville played hero as the Penticton Vees came-from-behind to earn their 33rd win of the season in a 2-1 victory over the Vernon Vipers on Wednesday night at Kal Tire Place.
Scoring came early into the hockey game with JoJo Tanaka-Campbell giving the Vipers a 1-0 lead just 1:57 into the contest. Tanaka-Campbell threw a puck towards the net that eluded the glove side of Vees goaltender Yaniv Perets, who had traffic in front of him that gave Vernon a one-goal lead in the 1st period.
Penticton followed that up with outshooting Vernon by a 16-1 margin in the final 18 minutes of the period as Reilly Herbst was the biggest difference in the Vipers crease, making 17 saves in the opening frame with the Vees in front on the shot clock by a 17-4 margin.
The Vees best chance came in the form of a pair of rebounds as Tristan Amonte saw a puck just glance off his stick on a Colton Kalezic shot from the right-wing before Tyler Ho skated down the left side and snapped a shot on off the rush that Herbst had to be quick with his blocker to fend off the chance.
The second period of play saw more pressure from the visitors, outshooting the Vipers by a 14-9 margin in the middle stanza but remained stymied by Vernon netminder Reilly Herbst, who made saves on each of the 14 shots he faced in the period and 31 saves through the opening two periods of play.
Herbst had to be especially good on a pair of chances in the 2nd period for the Vees as Jay O’Brien telegrammed a pass from the left corner and walked into the face-off circle before dragging and firing a shot that was met by the blocker shoulder. Herbst made another big save on David Silye later in the frame, kicking out the left pad on a shot from the right face-off circle off the Vees captain’s blade.
Yaniv Perets made his best save of the game in the 2nd period coming off a one-time shot from the left face-off circle as Ben Sanderson took a pass and blasted a shot on. Perets met the puck with a shoulder stop before kicking away a loose puck from the top of his crease with the left pad to keep the game a one-goal contest.
Penticton’s pressure paid off as the Vees evened the score at the 5:59 mark of the final regulation frame as David Silye tied the game. Carson Kosobud sent a shot to the net from the midpoint that was stopped by Herbst with Silye camped out on the top of the crease as he slid the puck past the glove side for his 18th marker of the season and a 1-1 tie.
The teams traded chances as the game went along, including two power play chances for the Vipers that the Vees penalty kill thwarted off, to keep the game tied at 1-1 that forced the game into overtime, the second time this season the two teams have needed extra time.
1:07 into the overtime period, Nico Somerville played the overtime hero as the Vees earned a 2-1 victory. O’Brien took a Silye drop pass inside the left blue line as he drove wide on his backhand before sliding a pass to the right face-off circle where Somerville netted a one-timer for his 6th goal of the season and helped the Vees to a 2-1 overtime win.
Yaniv Perets turned aside 25 of the 26 shots thrown his way, including 12 in the 3rd period, for his 19th victory of the season in net while Reilly Herbst stopped 42 of the 44 shots he faced in his 2nd overtime loss of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 2-1 Vees (OT)
SHOTS ON GOAL: 44-26 Vees
VEES PP: 0/3
VEES PK: 2/2
1) Reilly Herbst (42 saves on 44 shots)
2) Nico Somerville (1-0-1)
3) Connor Marritt (0-0-0)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Trey Taylor (0-0-0)
The Vees (33-11-1-1) return to the South Okanagan for a pair of weekend home games, beginning on Friday night with a matchup against the Merritt Centennials (10-29-1-3) for the fifth time this season. Puck drop at the South Okanagan Events Centre is slated for 7:00 PM with tickets available for purchase at the Valley First Box Office or online at ValleyFirstTix.com.