Bandits erase two leads to down Vees 4-3

Colton Semenok's late goal helps Bandits steal a win in the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Penticton Vees forward eludes Brooks Bandits defenceman Colton Semenok. The play looked good but didn't result in the goal as the Bandits stole a win in the South Okanagan Events Centre Tuesday night

Penticton Vees forward eludes Brooks Bandits defenceman Colton Semenok. The play looked good but didn't result in the goal as the Bandits stole a win in the South Okanagan Events Centre Tuesday night

Colton Semenok scored the game-winning goal as the Brooks Bandits defeated the Penticton Vees 4-3 in Game 3 of the Doyle Cup.

The Vees had a two-goal lead on goals by Travis St. Denis and Curtis Loik. However, the Bandits clawed back on goals by Matt Wilkins and a power play tally from Cam Maclise. Wilkins even strength goal came while the Vees lost Troy Stecher to a 10-minute misconduct. Nick Buchanan then bear-hugged a Bandit to the ice for a holding penalty. That resulted in Maclise’s first of two on the night.

“It wasn’t the third period that cost us the game,” said Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson, who called out his leaders. “It was losing focus for the last five minutes of the second period. Getting a 10-minute misconduct and getting involved with stuff with their fourth line guys was obviously something they were trying to do. The referees didn’t catch onto it. They didn’t catch on to the slowing down of the game. They didn’t catch on to the goalie interference at the end of the game.”

The play Harbinson is referring to led to Semenok’s winner. The Bandits went hard to the net trying to score and Vees goalie Michael Garteig was knocked into the net. No call was made. Garteig got back up and in position and was beat shortly after on what appeared to be a deflected shot from the point. The Doyle Cup game sheet shows Semenok’s goal being unassisted. Garteig removed his helmet and immediately skated towards the referee to make his case.

While the Vees put on more pressure after that goal, the Bandits and goalie Jan Obernesser were able to hold off the Vees. He finished the game with 31 saves for the win.

Harbinson said they need to fight through things and handle situations, play between the whistles.

“I thought our game was good,” said Harbinson.

Both teams played physically and took plays hard to the net.

When it looked like the Vees had a firm grip leading 2-0 with eight minutes remaining in the second. The Bandits did what the Vees have done the few times during the season when trailing, they made plays to score. Maclise started it inside the Vees zone and it finished with Matt Wilkins redirecting a shot past Garteig who was out challenging the shooter. Maclise then tied it at two with 30 seconds remaining as the Vees couldn’t contain him. Maclise managed to skate around Garteig and beat the stretched out netminder.

Bandits coach-GM Ryan Papaioannou said there wasn’t any difference in his teams game.

“I thought we controlled most of the play,” he said. “I think they are fast, they are opportunistic. They make you pay when you make bad mistakes. We’re happy with how we played. It was nice to finally get a goal from a forward.”

Prior to Game 3, only Semenok and Chris Muscoby had scored for the Bandits.

After the Vees had taken a 2-0 lead and continued to pressure the Bandits, Obernesser appeared to be hurt on a play. He layed on the ice for a while then was attended to by the team trainer. Following some time, the netminder got up. At points he looked to be favouring his left leg. Papaioannou said he is “a nice healthy kid.”

Vees captain Logan Johnston said they played a real good hockey game.

“For about five minutes we lost our cool and it spiraled a bit on us and we let them back in,” said Johnston. “If we refrain from that we will be all right. It’s not going to be a walk through.  They are a very good team. We have to regroup and come back tomorrow (Wednesday). It cost us tonight, not skating away.”

The Vees now lead the Doyle Cup 2-1. Check Friday’s issue for more coverage on the B.C./Alberta championship.