The Penticton Vees used a three-goal 2nd period and two goals from Jay O’Brien to help them to their eighth consecutive win in a 4-3 victory over the Surrey Eagles on Wednesday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Penticton opened the period with some solid opportunities to find the back of the net, including a great chance in front of the net on a giveaway as Liam Malmquist took over a loose puck and dropped a pass in the slot for Jay O’Brien, who snapped a shot to the net before Eagles goaltender Reece Klassen got across to his glove side and made a big stop to keep the game scoreless.
The Vees pressure eventually led to opening the scoring in the game, coming at the 11:59 mark of the opening period on a burst of speed from a Vees defender. Steve Holtz took a pass from Nico Somerville on the right wing and raced past the defense on the right wing before getting to the face-off circle and wristing a shot past the blocker of Klassen for his 7th goal of the season and a 1-0 Vees lead.
Over two minutes later at the 14:12 mark, the Eagles had a response and evened the score on a fortunate play to the slot. Cade Alami had his shot redirected off a Vees stick that caromed off the end glass and played to the slot where Carter King put a shot over the glove shoulder of Vees netminder Carl Stankowski to tie the game at 1-1.
Klassen played a big part in the opening period for the Eagles, turning aside 12 of the 13 shots he faced through 20 minutes while Stankowski stood tall in the Vees net as well, making saves on 7 of the 8 shots thrown his way through one period.
The offence came from the back end once again as the Vees jumped ahead to take a 2-1 lead at the 11:52 mark of the 2nd period as Carson Kosobud put the Vees ahead by one. Malmquist collected the puck at the right point and sent a pass to the left side as Kosobud moved to the left face-off circle and beat Klassen through the blocker side for his 4th goal of the season and a 2-1 Vees advantage.
The Eagles had a response, courtesy of a power play, as King’s second goal of the hockey game tied the score. A slick passing play from the left half boards went below the goal line before Kenny Riddett spotted King in front, who shot past the glove side of Stankowski at the 14:08 mark to even the score at 2-2.
Jay O’Brien gave the Vees their third lead of the game with a power play goal of their own at the 15:30 mark, coming just 1:22 after Surrey tied the game. O’Brien got the puck in the left face-off circle and ripped a wrist shot over the blocker side for his 21st goal of the season to give Penticton a 3-2 lead.
Once again, the Eagles had an answer at the tail end of the 2nd frame and it was another power play goal that tied the game at 3-3. Brendan Kim played a pass from the midpoint to the slot as Hudson Schandor beat Stankowski through the blocker side as the Eagles captain levelled the score at 3-3.
Moments after that, with 20 seconds remaining in the frame, O’Brien scored the eventual game winning marker to give the Vees their fourth lead of the game and push Penticton ahead by a 4-3 score. Weight moved to the slot from the right side and put a shot to the net that was blocked by a maze of bodies in front before O’Brien battled off a pair of defenders and banged the puck past Klassen for his second of the night and a 4-3 advantage.
Tyler Ho had a chance to give the Vees a two-goal lead against new goaltender Thomas Scarfone as he raced down the left side and put a backhand shot off the post on the blocker side before Stankowski came up with some big stops down the stretch.
A late penalty kill helped the Vees solidify their eighth straight win and a 4-3 victory over the Eagles. Carl Stankowski stopped 22 of the 25 shots he faced in the game for his 12th win of the season in the Vees crease while Reece Klassen turned aside 24 of the 28 shots he faced in his 3rd loss of the season before Thomas Scarfone stopped all 6 shots he faced in the 3rd period.