The Vees (22-9-2-2) looked like they scored a tying goal with a few minutes left in the third period, but it was disallowed because the official lost sight of the puck. Minutes later the Wenatchee Wild (25-9-2-1) hit the Vees’ empty net, winning 3-1.
A scoreless first period saw the two teams going a combined 0-for-5 on the power play with the Vees outshooting Wenatchee 13-4. Wild goalie Austin Park made a big stop on Jared Nash off a 2-on-1 rush late in the period to keep the game scoreless.
Nearly four minutes into the second period, Wild captain AJ Vanderbeck opened the scoring by knocking home a rebound off a Wild odd-man rush. It was his third goal in the last two games.
Vees captain Owen Sillinger answered with a goal of his own, his fourth in the last two games, on a clear breakaway from centre ice, beating Park on the backhand through the five hole for his 19th of the season.
With the game tied at one in the third, former Vee Nathan Iannone took a centring feed and fired a shot past Adam Scheel’s blocker to give the Wild a 2-1 lead five minutes into the third.
With the clock winding down and the Vees chances piling up, they were finally able to beat Park again. During a scramble in front of the net, Ryan Sandelin was able to slide a loose puck in the crease into the net, but because the official was standing behind the goal he lost sight of the puck and whistled the play down moments before Sandelin scored.
The Vees continued to press, looking for a tying goal in the final minutes of the game. With Scheel on the bench for a man advantage, the Wild’s Lucas Sowder was able to hit the empty net coming down the left wing to ice the game with 54 seconds remaining.
After he scored, Sowder was knocked to the ice by Sillinger, causing a fight behind the Penticton net. Sillinger and Venderbeck were both ejected from the game.
With 18 seconds left, Kenny Johnson and August Von Ungern also got into a fight, resulting in both also being ejected from the game as well.
The Vees have now dropped five games in a row for the first time since 2004. The team will have a full week of practice ahead of their next game when they welcome the Prince George Spruce Kings Friday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Newly-signed defenceman Michael Campoli will make his Vees debut that night.