Jay O’Brien played the overtime hero as the Penticton Vees earned a 4-3 victory in extra time over the Prince George Spruce Kings on Saturday night at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.
It was a first period that was a bit of a feeling out process between the two teams as the Vees and Spruce Kings clashed for the first time. Vees netminder Derek Krall was on his toes early on, making strong saves in the opening period including denying Nick Poisson on a chance in front of the net on the blocker side as he slid across to keep the game tied about halfway through the 1st period.
The Spruce Kings were the team to find the scoresheet first and came courtesy of a power play as Poisson found the back of the net. Nick Bochen had his midpoint shot stopped by Krall with the rebound bouncing out to the right face-off circle as Poisson put it past a scramble in front of the net to give Prince George a 1-0 lead at the 15:40 mark of the 1st frame.
A pair of shorthanded goals helped the Vees to their first lead of the game with Colton Kalezic tying the score 2:58 into the middle stanza on the penalty kill. After a turnover in the neutral zone, Kalezic carried a puck over the blue line and snapped a shot over the blocker side of Spruce Kings goaltender Jack McGovern from the right face-off circle for his 1st goal of the season and a 1-1 tie.
Just under two minutes later, on the same penalty kill, Jack Barnes gave the Vees their first lead of the hockey game at the 4:26 mark. Barnes took the puck from the defensive zone and worked his way into the offensive end, protecting the puck on his backhand before lifting it up and over the glove side of McGovern on the glove hand for his first goal of the season and a Vees lead of 2-1.
The Spruce Kings tied the game later in the frame as Preston Brodziak brought the score to even terms at the 17:22 mark of the 2nd period. A shot from the left point by Colton Cameron was stopped by Krall with the rebound laying in the crease as Brodziak bounced in the loose puck to even the score at 2-2 heading into the 3rd period.
Penticton jumped ahead to begin the 3rd period on a nifty play from Liam Malmquist as he spotted Danny Weight in the slot. Malmquist spun a pass from the midpoint into the high slot as Weight gathered and beat McGovern over the blocker for his 4th goal of the season and a 3-2 Vees lead at the 2:22 mark of the final regulation period.
Prince George pulled their goaltender with over two minutes and got the game on even terms at the 18:16 mark of the 3rd period. Chong Min Lee took a Poisson pass from the right face-off circle and beat Krall on the blocker side to tie the game at 3-3 and force overtime for the first time in the Vees season.
After Krall made a pair of big saves in the overtime period. Jay O’Brien gathered the puck in the neutral zone and carried down the left wing, protecting the puck on his backhand while driving the net before moving to his forehand to tuck past the glove side of McGovern for his 3rd goal of the season and netted the Vees their fourth straight win of the season in a 4-3 victory in overtime.