Submitted by Fraser Rodgers
One night after the Penticton Vees staged an epic comeback; it was the West Kelowna Warriors turn on Tuesday. The Warriors rallied from a 4-1 third period deficit to beat the Vees 5-4 in overtime in Game 4. The Warriors avoided the sweep and snap the Vees seven-game winning streak in the process. Game five goes Thursday at the South Okanagan Events Centre at 7 p.m.
Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson said he felt his team played well last night against a good team.
“Fortunate to get game 3,” said Harbinson. “We don’t give up many leads. Up 4-1, bad line change. They get two power plays in the third, score on one. They get momentum. I thought we pushed back in overtime. Briggs made a couple big saves.”
Reid Simmonds was the Warriors hero when poked in a loose puck in the crease at 16:39 of the first overtime period capping of a five-goal comeback. The Warriors scored three third period goals to force overtime. Marcus Basara started the rally when he snuck a shot from the right circle through the legs of Chad Katunar at 5:31. The Vees got caught on a bad line change.
David Pope brought the Warriors within one on the power play just 1:22 later. Pope was fed at the back post, at the bottom of the left circle and his shot went off the pad of Katunar just across the goal-line at 6:53. Max French drew the Warriors even late in third when his shot from the right circle went off something and over the left shoulder of Katunar.
The Vees looked to be in the driver’s seat earlier, as they put together a four-goal second period. Trailing 1-0 to start the second, Sam Mellor got things going just seventy-four seconds in the second. Mellor followed the puck to the net after a failed rush and snapped a shot through Tyler Briggs. Brad McClure gave the Vees their first lead with his tap in on a late breaking 2-on-0 rush. With the Warriors caught up ice, John Siemer skated down the left wing and fed McClure in front for his fourth goal in as many games. Cody DePourcq bagged his first goal of the playoffs and since March 2 just over two-minutes later. Mellor picked up his second of the frame when he tipped a point shot.
“To be honest I thought we probably deserved more to win last night then the night before,” said Harbinson, whose team hit the post 10 seconds into overtime and missed two breakaways. “We’re up 3-1 and we have to be pretty excited about that.”
Harbinson said they might have centre Mike Rebry back in the lineup. Cam Amantea is still day-to-day. The Warriors will also get Brennan Clark back from his two-game suspension.