The Penticton Vees had a heartbreaking loss to the Wenatchee Wild on home ice Saturday.
The Vees staged a major comeback after the Wild built up a 3-0 lead just halfway into the first period, fighting their way back to a 3-3 tie, only to lose the game as the Wild scored one more time, with four minutes left, to take the game 4-3.
Looking for retribution from a frustrating 5-2 loss the night before, the Vees had a nightmare start to the game as the Wild’s Blake Bargar scored just 3:10 into the game, knocking home the rebound off a 2-on-1 rush.
Jack Barnes was then called for two penalties, the second coming just 16 seconds after he stepped out of the box after the first one, and the Wild took advantage.
Matt Gosiewski took a shot from the bottom of the right circle, beating Jack LaFontaine from a sharp angle over the glove to make it 2-0 8:47 in.
Less than a minute after the goal, Luke Loheit was called for boarding and Chad Sasaki’s wrist shot bounced off a Penticton stick and past LaFontaine to give the Wild the 3-0 lead.
Fans had to wait until near the end of the first period for the Vees to score the Teddy Bear Toss goal with Eric Linell scored with 1:25 left in the first period to make it 3-1 after one period.
Ryan Sandelin then cut it down to a one-goal game by deflecting James Miller’s slap shot in front of the net six minutes into the second period.
The Vees took three more penalties in the second but held the Wild off the scoresheet as the game was 3-2 heading into the third.
Sandelin would tie the game in the final period, spinning away from a pinching Wild defender at the Vees blue line and skating in on a 2-on-1 rush. Sandelin held the puck on the left wing and fired it past the blocker side of Cal Sandquist to even the game with 8:37 remaining.
The lead lasted just four minutes before Wenatchee got their final goal, from a lucky bounce. Brandon Koch took a wrist shot from the left point, and Kenny Johnson, standing alone in front of his net, waved at the puck. It went off the shaft of his stick, bounced off LaFontaine’s shoulder and into the net with 4:07 remaining.
That was all the Wild needed, as even with the goalie pulled for the extra attacker the Vees couldn’t find the equalizer, dropping the game 4-3.
The Vees host the Trail Smoke Eaters Dec. 14.
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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