February 24, 2013, Trail, BC (ISN) -The first of four meetings did not disappoint, as Trail captain Garrett McMullen played hero in double-overtime, as the Smoke Eaters downed the Penticton Vees 4-3 Saturday.
The two teams combined for an entertaining third period, combining for five goals and two lead changes.
The single point earned, combined with Merritt’s loss in regulation, and pushes the Vees lead to five points atop of the Interior Division with four games remaining; the Centennials still having a game in-hand on the Vees.
Garrett McMullen caught up to a loose puck in the Vees zone and let go a wrist-shot from the bottom of the circle, that rolled through the legs of Nice Renyard seventy-two seconds into the fifth period. Renyard got a piece of the McMullen shot with his leg but not enough, as the Smoke Eaters won their third game in a row.
Louie Nanne forced overtime when he buried his 18th of the season with just under three minutes left in the third. Nanne took a cross-ice feed and put a wrist-shot past Adam Todd at 17:04.
The third period was a see-saw affair to say the least, as both teams held separate one-goal leads and both teams scored back-to-back goals at different points.
Trail erased a 2-1 Vees lead with goals three and a half minutes apart. Braeden Jones scored from center-ice tie the game at two’s. Jones had his dump-in ricochet off a stanchion along the glass and into an open-net at 12:03; Renyard fooled by the pucks trajectory as he vacated his net to play the shoot-in.
Marley Keca put the Smoke Eaters a head minutes later when he finished off a nifty passing play on a Trail power-play. Connor Collett spun a pass across the Vees goal-mouth to the back-post for a pinching Keca, who potted his first at 15:28; not only Keca’s first of the season but first goal since January of 2012.
The Smokies rally came after the Vees scored two quick goals of their own early in the third period. Brock Balson tied the game at one’s just before the six-minute mark when he cleaned up a rebound at the side of the Trail net; Balson’s first goal in 15 games coming at 5:58. Jordan McCallum grabbed the Vees first lead less than three-minutes later.
Ryan Gropp danced down the right-wing before cutting the middle of the ice. Gropp’s wrist-shot was stopped by Adam Todd, but the puck dropped down and deflected off McCallum’s skate in the crease. The goal would count as it was deemed there was no distinct kicking motion from the Vees forward; McCallum giving the Vees their first lead at 9:41.
Trail held the lead through forty-minutes, as Jake Lucchini staked the Smokies out to a 1-0 advantage midway through the first. Lucchini was stopped on a partial break, but followed his rebound and scored from behind the goal-line. Lucchini threw the puck off the back of Nic Renyard’s leg and in at 8:13.
FINAL SCORE 4-3 SMOKE EATERS
Shots: 37-29 Vees
Power-Play: Vees 1-5 Trail 1-6
Three Stars: 1) Garrett McMullen 2) Jake Lucchini 3) Marley Keca
The Vees overtime record drops to 5-4 with the setback in Trail; the Smokies moved to 9-2. The Vees finish with one out of a possible four points on the weekend but see their lead grow to five points over Merritt for first in the Interior Division. Jedd Soleway did not play as he was serving a suspension for his check-from-behind penalty from Friday; an automatic suspension for his third check-from-behind penalty this season.
The two teams kick-off a home-and-home series Friday, March 1st at the SOEC; puck drop is 7pm. The latter half of the two-game set goes Saturday back in Trail once again. Tickets for Friday’s contest can be picked up at the Valley First box office at the SOEC, or online at www.valleyfirst.com