Brooks, AB: After stumbling out of the gate with a slow start, the Penticton Vees rebounded in a big way over the final two periods, downing the Brooks Bandits 4-2 Friday night.
It took the Vees over 10 minutes to record their first shot on goal, but thanks to strong goaltending from Nolan Hildebrand, the game remained scoreless after the opening 20 minutes.
The Bandits opened the scoring nearly five minutes into the second period when Nolan Thompson’s shot from the left face-off circle snuck through the five hole of Hildebrand.
The Vees answered back quickly as Taylor Ward found a loose puck right off a face-off and ripped a shot over the glove of Mitchell Benson just two and a half minutes later.
Penticton would take their first lead of the game on the man advantage. Owen Sillinger had the puck at the bottom of the right face-off circle and fed it across the crease for Ben Allen to tap home with 6:52 left in the frame.
It was Brooks’ time to respond quickly, as just 49 seconds later Colin McCaughey was able to get three chances in tight and capitalized on his final jam at the puck. The game was knotted at two with the shots 23 each after 40 minutes.
Less than six minutes into the third the Vees would take the lead for good. Ryan O’Connell had the puck at the right point and threw a pass to the far side of the net for Lukas Sillinger to shovel into the goal.
Ryan Sandelin would hit the empty netter with 15 seconds to go as the Vees took the game 4-2. Hildebrand finished with 30 saves on the night.
The Vees wrap up their exhibition schedule tomorrow afternoon against the Bandits. The two teams will clash at 3:00 p.m. Pacific time before the Vees return home and prepare for the regular season opener September 8 in Merritt.