Steve Holtz played the overtime hero as the Penticton Vees earned a 4-3 victory in extra time over the Chilliwack Chiefs on Saturday night at the Chilliwack Coliseum.
Shorthanded opportunities highlighted the best chances for either side early in the hockey game as Steve Holtz made a strong play inside of his own zone for the Vees, sliding to block a 2-on-1 chance for the Chiefs before David Silye gathered a turnover just outside of the Chilliwack zone to work in on a partial break, going to his backhand before being denied by the left pad of Chiefs goaltender Mathieu Caron to keep the game knotted at 0-0.
Penticton broke through to open the scoring later in the period at the 14:38 mark of the 1st frame as strong pressure from Jay O’Brien, Alex DiPaolo and Colton Kalezic resulted in the game’s opening goal. O’Brien forced the puck free on the left half boards before playing down to the goal line as DiPaolo spotted an open Kalezic in front of the goal, who chipping the puck over the glove side of Caron for his 7th goal of the season and a 1-0 Vees in the later part of the opening frame.
Carl Stankowski stood tall in net in the opening 20 minutes of his first start as a member of the Vees, turning aside all 10 of the shots he faced, including making a stop off of his mask on a Joey Larson shot from the right face-off circle to keep the Vees lead at 1-0 into the 2nd period.
Penticton wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in the middle stanza as just 30 seconds into the period, Lukas Sillinger doubled the Vees advantage. Sillinger sent a pass for a streaking Silye down the right wing before the captain sent the puck back to Sillinger, who went to the net and beat Caron through his legs for his 6th goal of the season and a 2-0 Vees lead early into the 2nd period.
After their second power play of the game had expired, the Chiefs found a way to get on the scoreboard at the 3:45 mark of the middle stanza as Nathan Kelly found the back of the goal. Kelly threw a puck on from the left-wing boards that eluded the glove of Stankowski to cut the Penticton advantage to 2-1.
It didn’t take long for the Vees to restore that two-goal lead as at the 6:00 mark of the second frame, Evan McIntyre pushed the Vees to a 3-1 advantage. McIntyre gathered the puck in the left-wing face-off circle and fired a wrist shot on goal that beat the glove of Caron for his 3rd goal of the season and pushed the Vees ahead by a 3-1 score.
The Chiefs came back with a big effort in the 3rd period, getting within a goal 1:37 into the final regulation period as Kyle Penney gave Chilliwack an early period marker. Penney got the puck from Ethan Bowen on the left side as he slid a pass to Penney on the right-wing and snapped a shot over the glove side shoulder of Stankowski that made it a 3-2 game.
Chilliwack tied the game later in the period at the 8:05 mark with a scramble in front of the Vees net. A shot came from the blue line that was stopped by Stankowski with the rebound trickling off of Stankowski and past the goal line with Joey Larson credited with the marker and tying the game at 3-3, which forced overtime.
On a power play in overtime, the Vees kept the puck in the Chilliwack zone and threw everything at the net as the Chiefs blocked a pair of shots and got a huge save from Mathieu Caron, sprawling to his left to rob Sillinger in the right face-off circle before the puck made its way back to the point.
Steve Holtz blasted the puck up and over the blocker side of Caron for his 2nd goal of the season and lifted the Vees to a 4-3 victory in extra time and their second consecutive win.
Carl Stankowski made his first start as a member of the Vees, turning aside 26 of the 29 shots he faced in his first win of the season while Mathieu Caron stopped 28 of the 32 shots thrown his way in his 4th loss of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 4-3 Vees (OT)