DUNCAN, BC –It may have taken longer than they wanted it to but the Penticton Vees won’t be complaining about the result. Chris Klack scored 80-seconds into double-overtime as the Vees knocked-off the Cowichan Valley Capitals 4-3, Sunday afternoon in a see-saw affair at the Island Savings Centre in Duncan.
The win was the Vees third of the season and they leave Vancouver Island with four out of a possible six points, from their three-game Island Division road trip.
Nic Jones (0-2-2), Chris Klack (1-1-2), Grant Cruikshank (3-0-3) and Owen Sillinger (0-2-2) all had multi-point games in the win.
Klack may have been the OT hero but it was all Grant Cruikshank in the first 60-minutes, as the rookie forward scored all three of the Vees’ goals in regulation. Speaking of rookies, Nolan Hildebrand kicked aside 20 of 23 shots for his first BCHL win, in his first career start.
It was a game riddled with penalties as the two teams combined for 15 power-plays in regulation, with both teams scoring a pair of power-play goals.
Despite special teams dominating the storyline, it was a much better start for the Vees than Saturday night. Case and point was their start, as they scored on their first shift on their first shot of the game. Cruikshank found the puck at the bottom of the circle and quickly snapped it over the Capitals goalie’s glove, just 24-seconds into the game; the ice still was wet. The Wisconsin native wasn’t done there either.
Three and a half minutes later Cruikshank doubled the Vees’ lead. On the Vees’ first power-play, Cruikshank took a cross-ice pass from Sillinger and wired a one-timer from the right-circle for his second goal in a matter of minutes. Penticton took a two-goal lead into the dressing room.
Cowichan Valley found their footing in the second and started to chisel away at the Vees’ lead. Josh Ownings cut the deficit in half at 3:56, after he wired a wrist-shot blocker-side on a rush down the right-wing.
Then their power-play clicked halfway midway through the second to knot the game up at two’s. During a puck battle in the Vees’ crease, the Cap’s Jared Domin managed to somehow shovel the puck across the line while lying in the Vees’ crease.
Cowichan Valley ran into penalty trouble again late in the second period and the Vees took advantage early in the third period. On an extended five-on-three, Cruikshank was at it again, when he fired a dart into the corner over the goalie’s glove 72-secocnds into the frame.
The one-goal lead only held for three-minutes before the Caps answered back with a power-play goal of their own but not in the manner you typically see.
At the tail-end of Vees’ penalty, Hildebrand went out to play a dump-in at the side of his net, but proceeded to fumble the puck when he was pressured by Ayden MacDonald. The Caps’ forward then took it away, before quickly banking it off the back of Hildebrand’s pants and in at 4:45. The goalie miscue levelling the game once more and setting the stage for OT.
Hildebrand quickly made up for that blunder with an eye-popping save in the first overtime period. Rhett Kingston forced a turnover right beside the Vees net and walked out front, thinking he had an open net and the goalie at his mercy. The Caps forward tried to outwait Hildebrand but the Vees’ goalie managed to reach up and get a piece of Kingston’s shot with his stick, pushing it out of play.
Hildebrand’s acrobatics set the stage for Chris Klack in double-OT, as he made no mistake after finding himself open at the top of the circles. Klack picked the corner on the blocker-side of Lane Michasiw for the game-winner and his first of the season at 1:22.
FINAL SCORE: 4-3 Vees (OT)
Shots: 37-23 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 2-8 Capitals 2-7
Three Stars (EZ Rock AM 800): 1) Grant Cruikshank 2) Chris Klack 3) Josh Owings
The Vees now head to Chilliwack next week for a pair of games against Langley and Prince George at the annual BCHL Showcase. The Vees face the Rivermen on Thursday at 10 am and then battle the Spruce Kings the following day at 4 o’clock.