by Fraser Rodgers
January 12, 2014, TRAIL, BC (ISN) – Patrick Sexton doesn’t mind the long trips to Trail. The Penticton Vees defenseman scored the game-winner, late in the second, in the Vees 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Trail Smoke Eaters Saturday at Cominco Arena.
Sexton’s slap-shot from the top of the left-circle found its way through traffic and over Adam Todd’s glove, breaking a 2-2 tie with just forty-seven seconds left in the middle frame. That goal snapped a thirty-seven game drought for Sexton, who scored his only other goal against Trail, at Cominco Arena, back on September 14th.
With the win, Penticton remains eight points clear of the second place Vernon Vipers, who moved past the idle West Kelowna Warriors Saturday.
Despite persistent pressure off the hop, the Vees found themselves down a goal late in the first period. Off a face-off in the Trail zone, Brett Beauvais caught an edge and took a spill at the blue-line, creating an odd-man rush the other way. Braeden Cross centered for a streaking Riley Brandt, who tucked the puck underneath the cross-bar at the seventeen-minute mark.
Trail doubled their lead seven-minutes into the second, when Mascarin found a soft spot in coverage near the net. Zane Schartz from the boars on the right-wing picked out Mascarin at the back-post for a tap-in at 6:56.
Captain Brad McClure got the Vees on the comeback trail seconds later, when he scored his team-leading thirty-second. McClure may have scored but the heavy lifting was done by Jarod Hilderman. The 16-year-old broke down the right-wing and at the goal-line he centered for McClure, who tipped the puck through Adam Todd’s arm at 7:54.
Ben Dalpe brought the Vees back level when he buried a short-handed marker at 14:24. Todd stopped a point-shot but Jack Ramsey grabbed the rebound at the side of the net and found Dalpe at the far-post for his 15th.
Patrick Sexton capped off the comeback with his blast from the top of the left-circle in the dying moments of the second. Sexton called for the puck and Steen Cooper, from the bottom of the right-circle, swung a pass across the zone to Sexton who did the rest.
For the second straight night the Vees had to fend-off some late pressure from the home side. Trail pressed in the final moments with the extra skater but nothing materialized.
Final Score: 3-2 Vees
Shots: 43-32 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 0-5 Smoke Eaters 0-6
Three Stars: 1) Patrick Sexton 2) Adam Todd 3) Brad McClure
Record: 27-9-2-3 / Road: 13-6-2-1
The Vees have won three in a row and are now 14-5-1-1 against their own division and 4-0-0-0 against the Smoke Eaters. With his goal Saturday, Brad McClure is the first Vee to the sixty point plateau; he’s four back of Salmon Arm’s Landon Smith for the BCHL Scoring lead. Olivier Mantha made 30 saves for his 14th win and second against Trail this season. The Vees remain undefeated in January, sporting a 3-0-1 record.
Penticton is back at home Wednesday, January 15th when they host the West Kelowna Warriors at the SOEC. Its “Wicked Wednesday” at the SOEC, as game tickets are just $5 dollars, beer is $2.50 and Penticton Kia is giving away a mystery car; tickets for the car raffle are just $2. Tickets for the game can be purchased at the Valley First Box Office (at the SOEC).