Submitted by Fraser Rodgers
Owen Sillinger knows how to finish what he started. The Penticton Vees’ forward scored twice, including in double-overtime, as the Vees edged the Langley Rivermen 5-4 at the George Preston Recreation Centre Friday night.
Sillinger, who opened the scoring in the first, scored his second and sixth of the year two minutes into the second OT period on a breakaway, as the Vees pushed their win streak to nine straight. With the OT win, the Vees sweep the three-game season series against the Rivermen.
Chris Klack, Jared Nash and Ryley Risling also scored for the Vees in a seesaw affair. Mat Robson stopped 24 of 28 shots to pick up his ninth win and third against the Rivermen.
Andrew Dumaresque scored twice and Eric Butte and McKay Flanagan added singles, as the Rivermen dropped their third straight and seventh in their last eight games.
It was a game with several momentum swings as the Vees went up by two goals twice, only to have Langley come back both times to tie things up. Penticton quickly went up by two late in the first as Sillinger and Klack scored four minutes apart. Sillinger opened the scoring on the Vees’ second power play. The Vees’ alternate captain smartly redirected Jonny Tychonick’s point shot through Bo Didur’s legs at 13:42. Then Klack doubled the lead on another great play by Tychonick. The 16-year-old defenceman alertly fired a slap-pass across the zone to Klack at the back-post for the easy tap-in at 17:36; Klack’s first since Sept. 18.
Butte got the Rivermen back within one with just over five minutes in the second frame. The forward cut down the right wing before firing a dart over Robson’s glove on the shortside at 14:56. Then on Langley’s second power-play, they tied it up at two late. After a short scramble in front of the Vees net, Dumaresque punched the puck into open goal from his knees at 18:29. Robson was down and out at the far post after colliding with a Langley forward and couldn’t dive back in time.
Momentum, like a pendulum, swung back into the Vees’ favour in the third period. Again, Penticton went up by two halfway through. First, Nash put the Vees back ahead after cleaning up a rebound at 8:50. Risling quickly added to the lead, scoring on a breakaway one minute and 13 seconds later. The Rivermen didn’t go away and had an answer.
Flanagan made it a one-goal game on a late power-play at 15:56. Flanagan squeezed a wrist shot from the right wing between Robson and the post. The real drama however, came inside the final minute.
With the Langley net empty for the extra attacker, the Rivermen found a way to manufacture the equalizer. Nicholas Jones thought he cleared the puck off the face-off, but Reid Yochim made a great play at the blue line to keep the play on-side by blocking the attempt. As the play continued, Dumaresque took a pass out front from behind the goal line and roofed the puck up and over a kneeling Robson at the post. Langley tied it up with 28-seconds left.
It finally came together in double-OT. Ty Amonte alertly dove at the puck at the side of his net to take it away from Max Kaufman. The Vees’ forward then spun the puck around the boards and to Sillinger at the Penticton blue line. Sillinger turned on the jets, outraced a defender to the goal from the right wing and snapped the puck over Didur’s glove 2:08 into three-on-three.
Shots: 32-28 Vees
Power plays: Vees 1-3, Rivermen 2-4
Three Stars (EZ Rock): 1) Owen Sillinger 2) Nicholas Jones 3) Andrew Dumaresque
Penticton improved to 4-0-0 in overtime this season with the win; they’ve won 12 of their last 13 overtime dating back to last season. Penticton pushed their record to 5-0 against the Mainland Division as well. Jones’ point streak is now at 10-games with his first period assist.
The Vees (11-1-0-0) have a quick turnaround, as the go back home to host the Nanaimo Clippers Saturday night at the SOEC; at 6 p.m. Nanaimo beat the Trail Smoke Eaters 4-3 Friday. Tickets are available at the Valley First box office, or online at www.valleyfirsttix.com