The Penticton Vees (29-12-1-2) lead 2-0 after two but held on to get the game to a shootout afterwards, eventually winning their fifth straight game with a 3-2 triumph over the Prince George Spruce Kings (26-11-1-5).
Jack Lagerstrom opened the scoring for the Vees with a one timer from the blue line that snuck through traffic and beat a screened Logan Neaton for his third of the year. Massimo Rizzo and Ty Pochipinski picked up assists on the goal.
Pochipinski then scored his first as a Vee when he deflected Carson Kosobud’s shot from the line with 4:15 remaining in the period. The Vees outshot Prince George 11-9 through 20 minutes.
That turned around in a hurry as the Spruce Kings came out with jump in the middle frame, turning momentum around. Prince George would get three power plays over the course of the period, and end up outshooting the Vees 18-7.
The 18th shot was the one that beat Jack LaFontaine as Patrick Cozzi flew down the right wing in the dying seconds of the period. He faked to his backhand before pulling it back to his forehand and lifting it over LaFonatine’s glove with one second remaining in the period.
The third started much the same way and resulted in Prince George tying the game. After a long, slow shot was stopped by LaFontaine, the puck was poked free to the crease where Chong Min Lee was able to beat LaFontaine on the glove side just 3:27 into the period.
The Vees were on their heels for long stretches of time over the course of the third, but LaFontaine held the fort to keep the game tied heading into overtime.
Lukas Sillinger had the best chance of the extra time, making a nice move around a defender to cut to the front of the net before getting a shot away while falling down, but was denied by the right pad of Neaton.
After the first two shooters of the shootout were stopped, Luke Loheit ripped a shot over Neaton’s blocker to give the Vees the lead. LaFontaine then stopped Ben Brar and Nick Poisson to preserve the win for the Vees.
Penticton now gets set to head to Merritt for the final time this season when they play at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena Sunday at 6:00. With Friday’s win, the Vees stretched their lead atop the division to five points.
Announced attendance was 3,256.