The Penticton Vees used a late 3rd period marker and a Steve Holtz overtime winning goal to help them to a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Saturday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
The Bulldogs took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play around the midway point of the opening period and were first to find the back of the net and take a 1-0 lead. Matthew Grouchy set up Mitch Deelstra from the midpoint as he slid a pass to the right face-off circle as Deelstra one-timed a puck over the glove side of Vees goaltender Yaniv Perets to give the visiting Bulldogs a one-goal lead at the 10:26 mark of the 1st period.
The Vees came back with their best chance to score moments after the goal as Jackson Niedermayer was set up from the right wing with Lukas Sillinger sending a pass his way. Niedermayer took the puck and got a quick shot away with Bulldogs goaltender Scott Bird coming across and getting a piece of his blocker on the puck to keep the game in Alberni Valley’s favour at 1-0.
Making his first BCHL start, Bird pushed aside each of the 9 shots he faced in the opening frame while Perets, just as he was on Friday night, remained solid in the Vees crease, stopping 11 of the 12 shots he faced after the opening 20 minutes of play.
Perets continued his strong play into the 2nd period as the Vees killed off a penalty to begin the frame and were able to find the back of the net to tie the game at the 5:16 mark of the middle stanza as Jackson Niedermayer evened the contest.
David Silye started the play as he took the puck behind the net on a rush and came out on the blocker side of Bird before he centered a pass to the slot. Darwin Lakoduk took a quick shot that redirected off of Niedermayer’s skate on the glove side for his 21st goal of the season and evened the score at 1-1.
The Vees were close to earning their first lead of the game moments after the goal as Niedermayer came down the right-wing side and got a step on a Bulldogs defender to get to the net before having the puck slide off his backhand on a narrowly missed opportunity.
On a rush at the other end of the ice, Ryan Doolin set up the Bulldogs second goal of the game and gave the visitors a 2-1 advantage just 24 seconds after the Vees tied the game. Doolin threw a puck to the slot off the rush as Grouchy was driving to the goal and deflected the puck past the blocker side of Perets to give Alberni Valley a 2-1 lead at the 5:40 mark of the 2nd period.
The held up as the only scoring in the 2nd period as the Vees forced 11 shots to the goal in the middle stanza as Bird turned aside 17 of the 18 shots he saw in the opening 40 minutes while Perets stopped 18 of the 20 shots thrown his way in the first two periods.
Penticton brought some pressure in the 3rd period including a big chance from Drew Elser, who stepped off the bench and made a toe-drag move around an Alberni Valley defender and put a wrist shot on net before Bird came across and made a blocker side save to keep the Bulldogs ahead late into the 3rd period.
With the goaltender pulled, the Vees used some late heroics to tie the game as Niedermayer collected his second goal of the game to even the score with just 8 seconds remaining on the clock. The puck was put to the net from Danny Weight with Niedermayer in front of the goal at the top of the crease as he pushed the puck through the legs of Bird for his 22nd marker of the season and sending the game into overtime.
A missed shot off the opening hop allowed the Vees to bring the puck down ice and took just 16 seconds for Steve Holtz to end the game. Jay O’Brien send a backhand pass across the slot to the right wing as Holtz gathered and snapped a shot past the glove side of Bird for his 8th goal of the season and a 3-2 come-from-behind victory in overtime.
Yaniv Perets turned aside 29 of the 31 shots he faced in his 25th win of the season while emergency goaltender Scott Bird stopped 30 of the 33 shots thrown his way in his 1st loss of the season.