The Penticton Vees were better on Saturday but the still couldn’t solve Gordie Defiel and the Coquitlam Express. Bo Pieper scored the game-winner on a partial breakaway in double-overtime, as the Express stunned the Vees 2-1 at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
The win gave the Express a sweep of their weekend series with the Vees.
After being tossed from Friday’s contest, John Saunders made the most of his return to the line-up Saturday, as the Express rear-guard opened the scoring midway through the first. The puck went to Saunders, who then worked his way across the blue line to his left before flipping a wrist-shot towards the goal going through a crowd and handcuffed Hunter Miska. Minutes before Saunders scored, Miska made a huge save with his pad.
In the second period, the Vees fired 12 shots on Defiel, but couldn’t beat him. The Vees kept pushing in the third period and with under five minutes remaining, Patrick Sexton threw a pass across to Alex Coulombe at the right-point. The defenseman’s shot appeared to glance off of Matt Berry’s skate and past Defiel at 15:46. Anthony Conti was credited with the goal, his eighth, as he was jousting with Berry in front of the Express net.
For the fourth time in the Vees last seven home games, the game needed overtime to decide a winner. Four-on-four period didn’t solve anything and the two teams needed a fifth period to produce a winner. The three-on-three overtime come without controversy.
Travis Blanleil let go a one-timer from the right-circle that ramped off an Express defender’s stick and up and over Defiel. Cody DePourcq, standing at the top of the crease, got to the trickling puck and shoved it across the goal line. The referee immediately waved off the goal citing “unintentional goaltender interference.”
Shortly after, the Express scored the game-winner off the rush. Two Vees skaters got stuck on the boards in the Express end allowing Bo Pieper to dart down the ice on a partial breakaway. Pieper wired a wrist shot over Miska’s glove before crashing into the Vees puck-stopper.
The Vees are now in second-place in the Interior Division with a record of 15-6-1-3. They trail Vernon by one point for first place and are tied with Merritt for second, but have three games in hand on the Centennials.
The Vees’ next game is Tuesday in West Kelowna against the Warriors.