Penticton Vees defenceman Troy Stecher used the Savardian spinorama to give his team a 3-2 double-overtime win against the Prince George Spruce Kings on Tuesday night.
It’s just too bad that after pulling off his fancy move, No. 77 wasn’t able to finish off the Spruce Kings after cutting to the net in what could have been an incredible goal. Instead, Stecher was denied by Spruce Kings goalie Kirk Thompson. As good a save as Thompson made, he couldn’t deny the efforts of Vees assistant Logan Johnston, who buried the rebound and sent his teammates erupting onto the South Okanagan Events Centre ice with 1:50 remaining.
“I thought we did real well,” said Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson. “I think everybody expects blowouts and everything else but a win is a win. The only thing that made it stressful obviously is that we’re not finishing our chances. Our grade A opportunities were at least 3-1 to theirs.”
The Vees outshot the Spruce Kings 41 to 27, including 6-0 in the extra two periods.
Vees rookie Bradley Robbins opened the scoring by deflecting a point shot delivered by newly acquired defenceman Lane Werbowski. The Vees second goal, by captain Derik Johnson, was a snapshot from inside the blueline beating Ryan Benitez low stickside, which chased the goalie from the game. Spruce Kings coach Ed Dempsey decided he had enough. The Spruce Kings clawed their way back when Kyle Manlow redirected the puck past Billy Faust, who had no chance on the shot. RJay Berra then collected the equalizer with eight minutes remaining in the third period.
“We battled hard,” said Dempsey, who credited Stecher on making the play to set up the winner. “Get down 2-0 against that hockey club in this building and then be able to come back and be able to salvage a point out of it, definitely is a big boost to our confidence. We still have to give ourselves a kick in the pants because we didn’t look after the puck again. It cost us.”
In front of a crowd of 875, Vees defenceman Joey Laleggia said the Vees played OK.
“We can definitely play better,” he said. “It was good that we came out on top in overtime. We got a quick start, which was good. We just need to put 60 minutes together.”
The Vees next host the Salmon Arm SilverBacks on Thursday. Check the Penticton Western News for coverage.