Tyson Jost burned the Merritt Centennials with his speed and skill.
The 16-year-old rookie lifted Penticton Vees fans out of their seats in the South Okanagan Events Centre after he undressed Centennials goalie Anthony Pupplo with a 3-2 overtime winner.
Jost blew past a Centennials defender and caught an incredibe saucer pass from Demico Hannoun as he reached the crease then lifted a backhand shot top shelf with Pupplo out of the net.
“I saw Nooner bust up the right wing. I thought i had a break to the net so he made a great saucer pass across the ice to me and the goalie had no chance because Nooner made such a great pass,” said Jost. “It was a great play by him and I had speed coming through the neutral zone. He read the play good so it worked out.
“I had a lot of speed coming through the neutral zone,” said Jost when asked if he thought he could get the puck. “They were just changing so I thought I had a chance.”
Seeing the play develop, Jost said he had an idea of pulling to his backhand as Pupplo would be sliding over.
After raising his arms in the air as the crowd of 2,318 went crazy, Jost was mobbed by teammates near the visitors exit.
“i got a few butter flies in my stomach. It was a great play,” said Jost, who now has nine goals in 18 games.
The Vees scored twice on four power play chances to tie the game twice. That last power play tally was by Patrick Newell, who scored off the skate of Jake Clifford on a pass attempt with just under three minutes left in the third. The goal, set up by Dakota Conroy and Jost, extended Newell’s point streak to 12 games.
The Centennials opened the scoring midway through the second period when Hunter Miska, who finished with 17 saves, left his crease to play the puck. As the goalie went to flip the puck past Colin Grannary, it got by him and Grannary skated by him for an easy tap in.
A little over six minutes later, Cody DePourcq jammed the puck in past Pupplo at the side of the net after Connor Chartier put a shot on net. Pupplo finished with 34 saves.
The two teams meet again Saturday night at the Nicola Valley Arena. Jost said they need to be prepared.
“I know we had troubles there last time,” he said. “We’re fired up. We owe them a good game. They kicked us last time. We’re ready to go and hopefully they won’t walk over us again.”
The Vees are now 21-3-0-1 on the season and 11-1-0 at the SOEC.