The Penticton Vees (22-6-2-2) dropped a 3-2 overtime heartbreaker in West Kelowna (18-15-1-0) against the Warriors Friday as they head into their final game before the Christmas break against the visiting Nanaimo Clippers in Saturday’s Teddy Bear Toss.
The Vees had killed off a huge penalty in overtime but just moments later Warriors RJ Murphy netted the winner. It was the second loss in a row for the Vees after a 12-game win streak.
Chase Dubois got the scoring started started for the home team midway through the first period with a snapshot from the right circle off the rush, littering the ice with stuffed animals for the Warriors Teddy Bear Toss game at Royal LePage Place.
Three and a half minutes later, Owen Sillinger knotted the game on the power play with a wrist shot just under the crossbar from inside the left circle.
There was plenty of offence in the first period as the shots finished 18-15 for West Kelowna through 20 minutes.
It was more of the same in the middle frame as the Vees scoring chances racked up. Joe Leahy and Lukas Sillinger had a two-on-one rush but weren’t able to convert. Nicky Leivermann hit the crossbar from a bad angle, then raced all the way back to his own zone to break up a Warriors rush before hitting Dakota Boutin with a breakaway pass that was stopped by Cole Demers.
Unfortunately for Penticton it was the Warriors finding the back of the net next as Michael Lombardi jumped on the rebound of a Tyler Jutting shot going to the blocker side of Adam Scheel to give West Kelowna the 2-1 lead through 40 minutes.
Sillinger was at it again in the third period, tying the game up on a spinning backhand shot from the slot for his 15th of the year. The two teams went end to end but nobody was able to score again before the end of regulation time.
In the extra frame Boutin was called for a what the Vees felt questionable holding call, sending the Warriors to their fourth power play of the night.
West Kelowna moved the puck around quickly, but some big saves from Scheel kept the Vees alive as they survived the four-on-three man advantage.
Not long after, Murphy took a feed coming down the left wing in the neutral zone. Taylor Ward was the lone man back covering defensively and Murphy was able to get a step on the Vees forward before cutting to the front of the net on his backhand and sliding the puck through Scheel’s five hole to end the game.
Final shots were 52-36 in favour of the Warriors.
The Vees and Nanaimo will face off at the South Okanagan Events Centre, Saturday at 6 p.m. and fans are urged to bring a stuffed animal and warm clothing to toss on the ice following Penticton’s first goal.
The Vees and Clippers met two weeks ago in Nanaimo; a game that turned out to be a goaltenders duel in a 2-1 Penticton victory.