Defenceman were clutch for the Penticton Vees in a 3-2 overtime win over the Merritt Centennials Saturday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
James Miller, Gabe Bast and Joey Leahy scored for the Vees who improved to 21-4-0.
Leahy was able to score the winner after getting room behind the Centennials net.
“I just went wide. I think the goalie thought I was going to pass,” said Leahy of his goal at 3:07 assisted by Matt Robson and Chris Klack. “He just came off his post. I shot it in pretty much. It felt really good to help the team win.”
Robson made 19 saves for the Vees, while Colten Lancaster turned aside 27 shots.
The Centennials opened the scoring on a goal Stephan Seeger at 11:26 of the second period. Less than seven minutes later, Miller scored to even the game. In the third period, Michael Regush gave the Centennials a 2-1 lead when he was able to bury a rebound past Robson at 4:42.
It looked as though the Centennials would come away with two points. With 20 seconds remaining, Bast scored on a shot from the left wing circle.
Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson said it was a good comeback from his team.
“I thought Merritt played really well,” he said. “They played a real sound game. Made it difficult on us. We were kind of in and out of our systems throughout the game. Fortunately for us we kind of hung in there to the end and battled and found a way to get that next goal.”
Leahy talked about the Vees having an inner confidence that “we know we can beat any team any night.”
“It was just a matter of time before we were clicking on all cylinders,” he said.
The Vees return to action on Tuesday when they head to West Kelowna to take on the Warriors.