Jake LeBrun netted a hat-trick, including the game-winning goal, in the third period as the Prince George Spruce Kings defeated the Penticton Vees 4-3 Friday at the Coliseum.
The victory snaps the Vees season-opening four-game win streak.
LeBrun scored the game-winner when a shot from the point redirected off his skate and past a fallen Olivier Mantha at 12:25. The Vees protested the puck was illegally kicked-in but the goal stood.
The Vees opened the scoring just over six minutes into the first period when Cam Amantea bagged his first of the season after gathering his own rebound. Anthony Conti came down the right wing and centred the puck for a streaking Amantea. Lebrun evened the score at one four minutes later. Chad Staley gave the Spruce Kings their first lead after he cashed in on a rebound in close quarters. LeBrun pushed the lead to two.
Ben Dalpe helped the Vees chip away at the lead when he stole a page from the Spruce Kings’ game plan. On a Vees power-play, Ryan Gropp had his shot from the right wing stopped, but Dalpe crashed the crease and banged in his second of the season.
Prince George ran into penalty trouble early in the third period as Cole Todd was assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for a dangerous hit in the corner on Josh Blanchard. Skylar Pacheco was later thrown into the box for a high hit on Cody DePourcq.
The Vees had a two-minute, five-on-three power-play to work with and took advantage. Brad McClure put the Vees back on level terms when he wired a wrist shot over Jesse Jenks’ glove from the slot. The Vees’ comeback attempt ended when they were called for an elbowing penalty with just fifteen seconds left.
The Vees’ next game is Wednesday in Vernon against the Vipers at Kal Tire Place at 7 p.m.