Wenatchee, WA: The Penticton Vees (9-2-0-1) held a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes Saturday night, but the Wenatchee Wild (9-5-1-0) scored three unanswered goals en route to the 4-2 win.
Adam Scheel made is best save of the night in the opening few minutes of the first period. After a shot by AJ Vanderbeck squeezed through Scheel’s blocker arm, the puck was loose in the crease for Stratton Murphy to tap it in. Scheel reached back with the paddle of his stick and redirected Murphy’s shot into the corner to keep the game scoreless.
That wouldn’t last long, however, as Josh Arnold opened the scoring for the Wild with a shot from the left face-off circle at 8:24.
Penticton was able to answer quickly. Jackson Keane carried the puck into the attacking zone and stopped at the right half wall. He wanted to send the puck to the point, but saw his defensemen were changing so he had to hold onto the puck.
He did just that, then spotted Nicky Leivermann pinching in from the left point and fed him the puck. Leivermann let a hard wrist shot go that Austin Park kicked to the slot, and Jack Barnes was able to slide the puck into the open net to tie the game with 7:59 left.
Before the period was up, the Vees would take the lead. While on the power play, Luke Reid let a one timer go from the mid point that got through all the traffic in front and beat Park on the glove side for Reid’s first career BCHL goal.
Just 3:35 into the second the Wild tied the game again. A long wrist shot from Drake Usher at the blue line was deflected into the net by Vanderbeck for his fifth goal in just his sixth game of the season. A few minutes later, tensions boiled over.
Kenny Johnson threw a huge open-ice hit on Sam Hessler as he skated into the Vees zone. Murphy took exception and immediately went after Johnson, signalling a heavyweight tilt between two players over 6’3’’ and 200 pounds.
Despite having officials between them, punches kept coming from both players before they were forcefully separated and escorted to their respective dressing rooms. The end result was a five minute blow to the head major for Johnson and two minutes for instigating to Murphy, setting the stage for two minutes of four on four before a Wild power play.
Late in that man advantage the Wild took their final lead of the game. Off a face-off in the Vees zone, the puck rolled in on Scheel and he tried to reach out and cover it. He wasn’t able to get control, and Sam Morton swooped in, went behind the net and tucked the wraparound in to give the Wild a 3-2 lead halfway through the period.
Jasper Weatherby capped off the scoring just 34 seconds into the third, also on a power play, with a wrist shot from the left circle off the rush. Despite a power play in the final two minutes, the Vees couldn’t score again as the game came to an end.
The two teams will see each other again Wednesday night as the Wild come to the South Okanagan Events centre at 7:00 p.m