VEES STAGE LATE COMEBACK IN OVERTIME WIN OVER MERRITT

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Penticton, BC: The Penticton Vees (7-0-0-1) were trailing 2-0 with under five minutes left in regulation against the Merritt Centennials (3-7-2-0) Friday night, but Jonny Tychonick got the game to overtime with two goals before Grant Cruikshank won it in overtime.

Merritt goalie Jacob Berger stood on his head right from puck drop, making 12 saves in the first period to keep it scoreless through 20 minutes.

The Vees ramped up the pressure in the second period. Right from the drop of the puck, the Vees were the hungrier team. They held Merritt inside their own zone for extended periods over the first 10 minutes of the period, racking up shots on goal.

Against the flow of play, it was Merritt who opened the scoring, After a failed clear by the Vees, Colten Gerlib stepped into a slap shot from the right circle and beat Nolan Hildebrand under the glove to make it 1-0 at 11;38 of the period.

The Vees continued to pepper Berger with shots in the third, but the Centennials goaltender was equal to every task. Eventually, his teammates rewarded him with another goal.

On a two-on-one rush, Rylan Van Unen fired the puck from the right circle over the Hildebrand’s glove to make it 2-0 9:01 into the third.

Perhaps as expected, it took a bit of luck to beat Berger for the first time. Jonny Tychonick’s slap shot from the left point hit a stick and fluttered into the top corner over Berger’s glove to cut it to 2-1 with 4:46 remaining.

Not long after, the Vees had a goal disallowed because of goalie interference, but Berger took a penalty for spraying Owen Sillinger with his water bottle, giving Penticton one last chance on the power play.

Tychonick made Berger pay for the penalty as he wired a wrist shot from the high slot into the top corner over Berger’s glove to tie the game with just 2:26 remaining.

In overtime, Cruikshank had the puck at the right faceoff circle with a lane to the net. He let the wrist shot go that beat Berger over the glove, completing the comeback for the 3-2 win.

The Vees don’t have long to celebrate their win as they welcome the Victoria Grizzlies (7-4-0-0) to the South Okanagan Events Centre tonight at 6:00. The Grizzlies will be looking for a rebound performance after a 5-4 loss in Trail Friday night.

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