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Preview: Vees head to Trail looking to extend season

Penticton, BC: The Penticton Vees lost at the South Okanagan Events Centre for the first time in the post season Friday night, 4-3 against the Trail Smoke Eaters in game five of the Interior Division semifinals. Now Penticton has to win Saturday to keep their season alive.

Friday night the Smoke Eaters jumped out to a 1-0 lead 4:21 into the game off Kale Howarth’s wrist shot from the top of the left circle.

After killing off a penalty for too many men shortly after the goal, James Miller flipped the puck to centre from his own zone to send the Vees on a two-on-one rush. Massimo Rizzo skated down the middle before sliding the puck to Lukas Sillinger who came out of the box.

Sillinger let a one timer go that Marcoux nearly stopped, but the puck deflected off his glove, popped up into the air and then landed in the net to tie the game with 8:07 remaining in the period.

Just like game four, the Vees scored again quickly. Taylor Ward intercepted a clearing attempt at the Trail blue line and came down the slot before spotting Marcus Mitchell in the left circle. Mitchell was able to beat Marcoux on the blocker side to give Penticton a 2-1 lead just 47 seconds after Sillinger’s goal.

Leading 2-1 after the first, the Vees couldn’t replicate that success in the middle frame. The Vees ran into penalty trouble, taking three minors in a span of 5:29. The second one, a boarding call on Jared Nash, was especially tough to swallow after Michael Campoli was hit from behind just moments before, and had to leave the game and come back with a new jersey as his had too much blood on it.

Levi Glasman deflected in a centring feed just 14 seconds into the power play to tie the game for Trail, who would outshoot Penticton 15-3 in the period.

Glasman was at it again in the third as he finished off a three-on-two rush to give the Smoke Eaters a 3-2 lead with just under 10 minutes to play in the game.

The Vees had two power plays over the final seven minutes of the game, including finishing the game on the man advantage, but Trail would hit a shorthanded empty-net goal to make it 4-2.

Ward then scored with a one timer from the left circle with 28 seconds left, but that was as close as the Vees would come in the 4-3 loss.

Penticton’s season now hangs in the balance as they head to Cominco Arena for game six. The last time Penticton faced elimination in game six was in 2016, when their season ended with a 4-3 loss in West Kelowna. The year before that, the Vees won games six and seven against the Vernon Vipers to advance to the round robin portion of the Fred Page Cup playoffs.

Team Statistics

Leading Scorers

Penticton Vees

Taylor Ward – 6 G 8 A 9 GP

Jonny Tychonick – 3 G 11 A  GP

Wyatt Sloboshan – 4 G 7 A 9 GP

Trail Smoke Eaters

Kale Howarth – 5 G 9 A 9 GP

Levi Glasman – 7 G 4 A 9 GP

Ross Armour – 1 G 9 A 9 GP

Special Teams

Penticton Vees

Power play – 34.9%

Penalty kill – 80.6%

Trail Smoke Eaters

Power play – 28.9%

Penalty kill – 66.7%

Series Schedule

Game one – March 16, 2018 Vees 5 Smoke Eaters 3 Boxscore

Game two – March 17, 2018 Vees 7 Smoke Eaters 2 Boxscore

Game three – March 20, 2018 Vees 3 @ Smoke Eaters 4 Boxscore

Game four – March 21, 2018 Vees 3 @ Smoke Eaters 6 Boxscore

Game five – March 23, 2018 Vees 3 vs Smoke Eaters 4 Boxscore

Game six – March 24, 2018 Vees @ Smoke Eaters 7:00

Game seven – March 26, 2018 Vees vs Smoke Eaters 7:00*

*If Necessary