Submitted by Fraser Rodgers
The two top offences in the British Columbia Hockey League squared off Saturday in Nanaimo, but the fireworks had to wait till the end, as the Clippers edged the Penticton Vees 3-2 in overtime at Frank Crane Arena.
Nanaimo’s Jake Jackson was the overtime hero, scoring 1:04 into the four-on-four period, as the Clippers handed the Vees their first overtime loss of the season.
Coming into Saturday’s game, Penticton and Nanaimo were one-two in league scoring, but the teams held each other in check for 46 minutes. The scoreless tie was finally broken early in the third when the power-play got the Vees on the scoresheet.
After a mad scramble in the Clippers crease, Lewis Zerter-Gossage poked in a loose puck at 6:35 to put the visitors ahead. Cody DePourcq was initially stopped in the crease, but the puck squirted to Zerter-Gossage who tapped-in his 10th at 6:35.
The lead was short lived as the Clippers evened the score just 33 seconds later. After the Vees couldn’t cash in on an odd-man rush, Nanaimo went back the other way and on a two-on-one, Sheldon Rempal surprised Hunter Miska with a shot along the ice at 7:08.
The score remained unchanged until late in the third when the Clippers got their first lead. Nicholas Gushue’s shot from the right-wing boards had eyes for the net as it snaked its way through traffic and underneath the crossbar at 15:36.
The Vees power-play was clutch Friday in Victoria and again Saturday in Nanaimo. Down 2-1 inside the final two-minutes, the Vees were given a four-minute power-play after Jarod Hilderman was cut open on the chin with a high-stick.
With the goalie pulled in favour of an extra-skater for the six-on-four man-advantage, Riley Alferd found the loose puck in the Nanaimo crease and forced it over the goal line at 18:51 securing at least the single-point for the visitors.
The Vees started overtime with a four-on-three power-play that carried over from the double-minor. The Vees scored once on the extended man-advantage but couldn’t produce the game-winner. Nanaimo killed-off the remaining time on the penalty and then quickly transitioned to offence.
Off a face-off in the Clippers zone, the puck made its way to Jake Jackson who rushed the puck up ice with a full head of steam. Jackson cut down the middle as he entered the Vees end, splitting the two defencemen before snapping a puck underneath Miska’s pad at 1:04 to send the crowd of 1,358 home happy.
Shots: 42-36 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 2-7 Nanaimo 0-3
Three Stars: 1) Jake Jackson 2) Lewis Zerter-Gossage 3) Guillaume Decelles
The Vees record slips to 17-2-0-1 with the setback and their overtime record drops to 3-1-0. Saturday marked the first loss for the Vees to an Island Division opponent this season (3-0-0-1). Patrick Newell had his six-game point streak come to an end in the overtime loss. Saturday was the Vees 11th game in the last 23 days, going back to Oct. 17.
The Vees conclude their Island Division road trip Sunday afternoon in Duncan, when they face the Cowichan Valley Capitals in a matinee affair at 2pm. Fans can tune into the game on EZ Rock AM 800 or watch online at www.fasthockey.com.
Vees notes: Canada White and Tyson Jost defeated Canada Red and Dante Fabbro 3-2 in the placement game for the World U17 Hockey Challenge. Jost set up Brett Howden on the power play to win the game. Jost finished the tournament with one goal and three points in five games, while Fabbro had two goals and three points, also in five games.