Submitted by Fraser Rodgers
The Penticton Vees allowed a 3-0 lead to vanish in a 5-3 loss to the Merritt Centennials on the road Friday.
It was the second time in as many games in Merritt the Vees were done in by a third period letdown in BCHL action. On Jan. 27, they let a late lead get away in a 6-4 loss. Friday’s loss snapped the Vees 10-game win streak and was their first loss since the previous one to Merritt.
Tyson Jost, Scott Conway and Nic Jones scored for the Vees, as the three scored in each of the periods. Anthony Brodeur was handed his second loss of the season stopping 27 of 32 shots. Both losses are against the Centennials.
Merritt, whose season looked to be on life support early in the third, scored five goals in just over 11 minutes. The Cents’ power-play drove the comeback, scoring three times.
Nick Jermain, Nick Fiorentino, Nick Fidanza, Mark O’Shaughnessy and Ryan Roseboom all scored for the home team, as they pull into a tie for fourth in the Interior with Vernon.
Jermain blasted a one-timer from the right circle past Brodeur at 6:21. Then, on the ensuing power-play, Fiorentino hammered a slap-shot from the high slot at 9:14. Fidanza tied the game, not on a power-play, at 9:55 after he found the puck in front of the net following a scramble. Merritt went back to the power-play and grabbed their first lead with just over eight-minutes left. The puck came across to O’Shaughnessy and through a crowd he managed to pick the far corner past Brodeur’s glove at 11:40 to make it 4-3. Roseboom sealed the dramatic comeback at 17:31 when he scored on a two-on-one with Colin Grannary.
It was a scoreless first period until Jost broke the deadlock with a snipe from the right wing as he popped the water bottle off the net on the goalie’s glove side at 16:17 for his 41st..
That scored carried over until the late stages of the second when Conway doubled the Vees lead. It was pretty passing between Conway, Dixon Bowen and Nic Jones, as Conway finished off the tic-tac-toe play for his 55th at 17:06. Jones then padded the Vees’ lead early in the third on a power-play. The puck went back to Dante Fabbro, whose well placed wrist shot was redirected down in front by Jones at 2:40. It was Jones’ 20th tally.
The Vees shutout streak ends at just over 178-minutes after Merritt’s first goal in the third. The last goal against before tonight was in the third period, in Salmon Arm, on Feb. 19. Conway (22) and Jost (15) extended their lengthy point streaks in the defeat.
The Vees close out their regular season schedule in Salmon Arm at the Shaw Centre tonight.