It is a long stretch of games for the Penticton Vees and, after an overtime win against division rival Vernon Vipers on Wednesday, some time at home is much welcomed.
While they have earned five out of a possible six points in their last three games, the Vees host the Salmon Arm Silverbacks at the South Okanagan Events Centre (7 p.m. puck drop) on Friday. The Silverbacks have won four straight, deadlocking the two squads in the Interior Division with 25 points each.
The Trail Smoke Eaters will skate in to the SOEC on Saturday (6 p.m. start). The teams have yet to meet this season.
While the Smoke Eaters sit at the bottom of the Interior Division, only seven points separate first from seventh place.
The Vees started their six games in 11-days circuit on Wednesday, with a thrilling 3-2 overtime win in Vernon.
Eric Linell, who leads the Vees with a dozen goals, wired a slapper from the left point past the Vipers netminder while on a power play, 32 seconds into overtime. Defenceman James Miller fed Linell as the Vees moved the puck around nicely playing four-on-three.
“One thing we’ve been working on is getting quality shots to the net on our power play, which has been struggling,” said Linell, a 20-year-old New York product. “Millsy had a great pass, we did some switches and I got to my one-time side and just ripped it top shelf.”
The Vees went on the power play with 1:49 left in regulation when Viper D-man Mitch Andres was assessed a boarding major and a game ejection after a push on Brendan Harrogate in the right corner of the Vernon zone.
The Vees (11-6-1-2), who moved into a tie for fourth spot with the idle Salmon Arm Silverbacks in the tight Interior Division, forced OT when Ryan Sandelin buried a pass from Linell on a bang-bang play in front of Porter, 37 seconds into Josh Latta’s roughing minor. Latta got caught up with Jack Barnes on the sidewall near the Viper bench and Vernon fans did not like the call.
Linell, who was traded to Penticton from Surrey a month ago, loves the parity in the Interior.
“We talk about in the room during practice week. You’re a few points out of last place, and a few points out of first place so it definitely pushes you a little more to win. Every game is big.”
It was the usual track meet between the two fast and skilled rivals, with Miller breaking a scoreless tilt at 2:47 of the second period with a slapper from the left point.