The Penticton Vees extended their winning streak to seven games with a 5-2 victory over the Trail Smoke Eaters Saturday.
The Vees, playing in front of 3,806 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre, never led the game until 5:13 into the final frame. Scott Conway put them ahead with a backhanded shot past Bailey MacBurnie for his 52nd of the season.
Power plays were a factor for both teams with five goals scored. Two of them by the visiting side, while the Vees were a perfect three-for-three a man up.
Trail opened the scoring when Ross Armour beat Zach Drischoll high on his blocker side at 16:22 of the first. Two minutes later, Tyson Jost corralled a rebound and fired it past MacBurnie, who tried to snag it with his glove. Conway and Nicholas Jones picked up assists.
In the second period, the Smoke Eaters thought they were headed into the dressing room with a lead. Armour faked taking the puck behind the Vees goal and passed it out front with the puck bouncing off the side of the net allowing Connor Brown-Maloski to tap it past Driscoll. That goal came at 18:15. With four seconds remaining in the period, Dante Fabbro, the game’s first star, fired a shot that changed direction a few times before beating MacBurnie. That goal came with 3.6 seconds on the clock.
In the third period, leading 3-2, Fabbro beat MacBurnie with a shot from the point for his 15th of the season. Jost and Conway picked up assists. The Vees’ final goal came with the cage empty. Jost sprung Easton Brodzinski, who fooled a Smoke Eater player to head towards the empty goal and bury his 28th tally.
MacBurnie, the third star, finished with 33 saves in a strong outing as he denied the Vees on a few good chances, while Driscoll finished with 17 saves.
Fabbro said it was a good performance for the Vees. He liked how they played in the opening period. In the second period they dealt with the Smoke Eaters finishing their checks as they battled hard.
“Our third periods have been pretty awesome,” said Fabbro.
Playing their first game without coach-GM Nick Deschenes, who was fired by Trail on Friday, Fabbro said the visitors came out hard.
“Our team has been good in pressure situations,” he added.
When it came to playing a strong defensive game, Fabbro gave credit to the forward group that came back to help. He said moving forward they need to keep doing that.
The win improves Penticton to 46-6-0-1. The Vees swept the seven-game season series against Trail.
Vees notes: Conway has 53 goals and 110 points and sits five points ahead of Nanaimo’s Sheldon Rempal for first in the BCHL scoring race; he also extended his point streak to 18-games. His game-winning goal is his 15th. Jost extended his point streak to 11 games, and has 10 points in his last four games. He is nine points away from reaching 100.