November 9, 2013, NANAIMO, BC (ISN) –Nicholas Gushue gave himself the best birthday present possibly on Saturday night. The Clippers defenseman, who was celebrating his 19th birthday, scored twice, including in overtime, to lead the Nanaimo Clippers to a 3-2 come from behind win over the Penticton Vees at Frank Crane Arena.
The Vees have now split their first two games of their three game Island Division road trip; the finale set for Sunday after against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.
The Vees started off well on Saturday night, as Alex Coulombe scored his first career BCHL goal on the power-play near the nine-minute mark of the first period. Coulombe was the trailer on an odd-man rush and wired a drop pass from Cody DePourcq off the cross-bar and past Clippers starter Jayson Argue at 8:51. The Vees scored on a delayed penalty, as moments before Coulombe scored, Jack Ramsey was taken down in the neutral zone by a knee.
The Clippers got into penalty trouble early in the first and the Vees cashed-in on one of their three first period power-plays to take a one goal lead into the intermission; Nanaimo outshot Penticton 9-8 in the first.
The second followed a similar script to that of the first, as the Vees used the power-play again to bulge the twine, this time doubling their lead ninety seconds into the frame. The puck was worked back to the blue-line, where Brett Beauvais let go a wrist-shot from the deep slot. Anthony Conti parked out front and with his back to the Clippers goal, redirected the puck past a screened Argue at 1:32; Conti’s fourth and first in five games.
Like the first period, the Vees power-play marker in the second would be the only goal in the period, as they led by a pair of goals through forty minutes; shots were twenty apiece through two.
However, the Vees ran into penalty trouble of their own, early in the third period and the Clippers didn’t squander the opportunity. During a lengthy five-on-three man-advantage, Nicolas Gushue wired a wrist-shot from the top of the right-circle over Hunter Miska’s glove on the short-side at 4:09; the Clippers power-play cutting the deficit in half. To the Vees credit they killed-off the remaining forty-eight seconds of the Clippers five-on-four power-play to preserve a one-goal lead.
The Vees held that lead until the final minutes of the third period when the Clippers used their blue-line once again to manufacture a goal. After the Vees failed to clear the puck, Austin Dick let go a shot from the blue-line that found its way through a maze of bodies and past Hunter Miska’s blocker at 17:36; the game needing an extra period to determine a winner.
The Clippers completed the comeback in overtime, on a similar play to that of the game tying goal late in the third period. Once again the Vees failed to clear their zone and the puck came to Nicolas Gushue. Gushue worked his way into the middle of the zone from the left-wing and put a shot up high over Miska’s blocker at 2:25.
FINAL SCORE: 3-2 Nanaimo
Shots: 28-24 Nanaimo
Power-Plays: Vees 2-5 Clippers 1-4
Three Stars: 1) Nicolas Gushue 2) Brett Beauvais 3) Austin Dick
Saturday marks only the second time the Vees have lost when leading after two periods this season; now 8-0-0-2. Saturday was also the Vees first loss to an Island Division opponent, as their record now slips to 6-0-0-1. The Vees road record now sits at 4-4-1-1 and they remained in third place in the Interior Division, with a 12-4-1-2 record.
The Vees wrap-up their Island Division trip tomorrow afternoon in Port Alberni, when they tangle with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs at Weyerhaeuser Arena; face-off is 5:30pm. The Vees are 2-0-0 against the ‘Dogs this season and will look to finish their trip with five out of a possible six points. Fans can tune into EZ Rock AM 800 starting at 5:10pm with the Pre-Game show, or watch online at www.fasthockey.com