CHILLIWACK, BC –Another game, another hat-trick and another win for the Penticton Vees. After Grant Cruikshank registered a hat-trick Sunday, it was Owen Sillinger’s turn Thursday morning, as the Vees rallied to beat the Langley Rivermen 6-4 at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack.
The come-from-behind win was the Vees second in a row and moves them to 4-1 and in top spot in the Interior Division, ahead of this afternoon’s slate of games at the Showcase.
Taylor Ward also scored his first two goals of the season and Nic Jones scored short-handed in the third, as the Vees came back from two separate two-goal deficits.
It was unusually 10 am start time and maybe the morning coffee didn’t kick-in for the Vees right away, as they were down 2-0 after the first 20-minutes.
Zac Masson opened the scoring seven and a half minutes in, on a power-play goal for the Rivermen after Kenny Johnson was dealt a double-minor for high-sticking. Then Ryan Barrow doubled the Riv’s lead late in the first on a pass from out of the corner. Barrow, from the top of the crease, tapped in a pass from Max Kaufman to put Langley up 2-0 with 2:18 left. That marked the first time this season, the Vees were down after the opening period.
Ward provided a spark early in the second period just as a Vees’ power-play was expiring. The Vees’ forward muscled his way to the side of the net and forced a puck past a sprawled out Bo Didur at 4:42 to cut the deficit in half. However, the jubilation was short lived and due to some rotten luck.
Langley went back ahead by two less than two-minutes later after an unfortunate hop. Cooper Leitch’s pass out of the corner actually went off of Jones’ stick and underneath Mat Robson at 6:29 to make it 3-1 Langley.
The Vees didn’t wilt and got a key goal late in the middle stanza to help spur the comeback. Sillinger took the puck down the right-wing and had numbers with him, but elected to shoot and it was a wise move, as he scored five-hole on Didur to make it a one-goal game again at 16:28.
That goal seemed to get the ball rolling for the Vees, as they went on to score four more in a whirlwind third period.
In the third, Sillinger picked up where he left off in the second, tying the game early and with some help from the glass. Grant Cruikshank’s shot from the right-wing rattled off the glass behind the net, sprung back out front and bounced at the feet of Sillinger. The veteran forward quickly smacked it through Didur’s legs to tie it at 4:37.
Jones than got his redemption and short-handed no less to put Penticton ahead for the first time in the game. The Captain found himself behind the Rivermen on a breakaway, and he forced a rebound past a stretched Didur on the blocker-side at 8:23; Jones scoring the go-ahead goal after scoring on his own net.
Ward added, at the time, an insurance marker just over two-minutes later. After Ben Brar was stopped from the left-wing, Ward followed the rebound and quickly spun and fired a shot five-hole for his second at 10:56; the two-goal cushion turned out to be critical.
Langley did make things interesting late with the goalie pulled. Max Kaufman scored right off a face-off in the Vees end, going post-and-in at 18:05 to make it 5-4 but the Vees quickly recovered a minute later. With the Rivermen net empty, Chris Klack dropped for Sillinger on the left-wing and he slid the puck into the open six-by-four to complete the hat-trick.
FINAL SCORE: 6-4 Vees
Shots: 35-30 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 0-3 Langley 1-3
Three Stars: 1) Owen Sillinger 2) Max Kaufman 3) Taylor Ward
With his three goals Thursday, Sillinger took over the team’s scoring lead with four goals and eight points. The win was the Vees ninth straight at the Showcase tournament, dating back to September, 2012.
Penticton wraps-up their BCHL Showcase tournament tomorrow afternoon against the Prince George Spruce Kings; puck drop is 4 pm. Fans can listen to the game on www.mixLR.com./penticton-vees, or they can watch on www.fasthockey.com