PENTICTON, B.C. – The AJHL Champion Brooks Bandits erased a two-goal deficit in the 3rd period to come away with a 4-3 victory over the host Penticton Vees on Sunday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Two late goals from Ty Mappin and Josh McKechney in the final 2:22 of regulation time to force overtime before Dennis Cesana scored the shootout winner, erasing a two-goal lead for the Vees and giving the hosts their first loss of the tournament.
The first period of play saw each team swap great scoring chances but either team unable to find the back of the net. Brooks netminder Mitchell Benson turned aside all 11 of the shots thrown his way from the BCHL Champion Vees, including a marvelous right pad save on Vees forward Ryley Risling later in the frame.
Penticton goaltender Mat Robson also posted a perfect opening frame as he made 7 saves on the seven shots he faced in the game’s opening period while thwarting off a couple of Bandits chances in the early going.
The scoring got going in the 2nd period of play just over the midway point of the frame put the host Vees ahead by a 1-0 score coming via the power play. Gabe Bast fired a shot from the right point that deflected off Massimo Rizzo and finished off by Nic Jones to give the Vees a 1-0 lead at the 10:03 mark of the period.
The Vees opened a two-goal lead just 1:44 after the Jones tally as Chris Klack notched his 2nd goal of the Western Canada Cup with a slick wrist shot from the goal line to push Penticton ahead by a 2-0 score at the 11:47 mark of the middle stanza.
The Bandits got on the scoreboard just before the 2nd period ended as Parker Foo raced down the left wing and from below the goal line slid the puck through the legs of Mat Robson at the 17:06 mark to make the score 2-1 in favour of Penticton after forty minutes.
The Vees regained their two-goal advantage at the 3:32 mark of the final regulation period off a deflection in front of the Bandits net from Owen Sillinger to push the Vees lead to 3-1.
Brooks made it a one-goal game at the 17:38 mark of the 3rd period as a nifty deflection off the stick of Ty Mappin stemming from a Kord Pankewicz point shot got through the legs of Robson and cut the Vees lead to 3-2.
The Bandits completed the comeback and tied the game with just 31 seconds left on the clock as a pass from Oliver Chau found its way in front for an open Josh McKechney who made no mistake and sent the game to overtime.
Both teams played a very conservative style of hockey in the extra frame as not many chances arose in a period that saw Brooks outshot Penticton by a 5-1 count and put the game into a shootout.
McKechney opened the scoring in the shootout for the Bandits with the Vees’ Nic Jones answering that call as Penticton’s 3rd shooter. Dennis Cesana ended the festivities in the fourth round of shooters with a forehand-backhand move, beating Robson to the blocker side and completing the comeback for Brooks with a 4-3 victory.
The win puts Brooks at the top of the Western Canada Cup standings with five points (one regulation win and one shootout win) heading into their off day on Monday before a Tuesday afternoon contest against the Battlefords North Stars at 2:00 PM PST.
The host Penticton Vees sit at three points in the tournament (one overtime win and one shootout loss) and have Monday off before a rematch of the BCHL Finals when the Vees take on the Chilliwack Chiefs for a 7:00 PM PST face-off.