PENTICTON VEES CAPTAIN Nicholas Jones seeks an open teammate with Merritt Centennial captain Brett Jewell in hot pursuit.

PENTICTON VEES CAPTAIN Nicholas Jones seeks an open teammate with Merritt Centennial captain Brett Jewell in hot pursuit.

BCHL: Penticton Vees Meek scores overtime winner against Centennials

Penticton Vees player scores first of the season to lift the team to an overtime win.

Courtesy of Fraser Rogers

Mitch Meek knows a thing or two about timing.

The 20-year-old scored his first goal as a Vee, two-minutes into overtime, as the Penticton Vees came back to beat the Merritt Centennials 4-3 on Saturday night, at Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.

The drama wasn’t saved for just overtime, as the Vees came back from 3-1 down with just over nine-minutes left in the third period. Jared Nash and Ty Amonte scored two-minutes and forty-five seconds apart to set up Meek’s OT heroics.

(Related story: Vees rookie Amonte learned from NHL dad)

Joe Leahy scored the other Vees’ goal in the second period when they trailed 2-0 and Nolan Hildebrand picked up his second career win, kicking-out 25 shots.

Despite a strong push in the first period, the Vees found themselves down a goal going into the break. The Centennials Michael Faulkner scored his second in as many nights against the Vees, on a knuckler from the blue-line. On a delayed penalty against Penticton, Faulkner’s wobbly point-shot found its way through traffic and past Hildebrand at 13:20.

Merritt doubled their lead midway through the second, after Henry Cleghorn snapped a shot a shot over Hildebrand’s glove from the slot at 13:55.

Penticton got back into it, when Joe Leahy took matters into his own hands. Leahy led a three-on-two rush into the Merritt zone, before firing a wrist-shot past Cole Lancaster’s glove at 15:31; his first career BCHL goal. Just like in the first, the Vees trailed by a goal after the second.

The Cents’ went back up by a pair in the back-half of the third period. Right off a face-off in the Vees’ end, Zach Zorn slid his way to the front of the net and slipped a shot through Hildebrand’s legs at 9:31; the Vees down two again and this time late.

But cue the comeback.

Penticton didn’t waste any time responding, as Nash replied 15-seconds after the Merritt goal. Kenny Johnson’s point-shot was knocked down by the goalie but the puck squirted to the side, and Nash was there to shovel it in from his knees; Nash also scoring his first career goal.

The Vees kept pressing and found an equalizer from the tightest of angles. In the right-wing corner, Amonte was first to the puck after the face-off and managed to bank it off the inside of the goalie’s skate and in at 13:29; his fifth goal of the year.

Those two quick goals setting the stage for Meek in extra time.

On the game-winner in overtime, Chris Klack grabbed the puck in the corner and fired a pass back to Meek at the top of the slot. The veteran rear-guard fired a one-timer that the goalie got a piece of but the rebound fluttered up and over Lancaster before trickling in at 1:58.

The Vees return home to face the Langley Rivermen on Wednesday, Oct. 12, in their first “Wicked Wednesday” of the season. Tickets are just $5 for adults and seniors.

 

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