POWELL RIVER - The only thing Saturday’s game was missing was a winner. The Penticton Vees and Powell River Kings played to an entertaining, dramatic and somewhat controversial 3-3 tie at Hap Parker Arena.
The Vees (38-7-3-2) picked up their third point out of a possible four and are one point away from clinching the regular season Interior Division pennant for the fourth consecutive season.
Miles Gendron, Dante Fabbro and Dakota Conroy scored for the Vees and Hunter Miska was named the game’s third star in his 31-save effort.
Jacob Pritchard was a one-man show for Powell River, as he was the Kings offense, bagging his second consecutive hat-trick. The Kings (26-16-1-9) had their four-game win streak snapped but extended their home undefeated run to nine games.
Despite a great push early by the Vees, it was the Kings opening the scoring on their very first shot of the game six-minutes in. Pritchard darted down the left-wing and beat Miska over the glove at 5:52
The Vees defense drew the visitors level late in the first when Gendron buried his fifth of the season. Gendron raced down from the point and smacked in a centering feed from Lewis Zerter-Gossage at 14:45; Gendron’s first in 14 games.
Pritchard got the Kings back ahead late in the first on a Powell River power-play. Miska stopped the original shot but the rebound somehow hit Pritchard then it raddled in and through Miska’s pads at 18:21.
Dante Fabbro was the only player to hit the scoresheet in the second as the Vees drew level a second time. Just after a Vees power-play expired, Fabbro moved to the slot and hammered a slap-shot underneath the cross-bar at 15:31; his first in 22 games.
Before Fabbro’s equalizer, the Vees thought the tied the game earlier when Tyson Jost looked to have jammed the puck in at the post. The ruling on the ice was Brett Magnus managed to keep the puck from crossing the line.
The Vees were the recipients of a fortunate bounce early in the third and it gave them their first lead on the night. A dump -in went right out front of the Kings net and Dakota Conroy tapped in his eleventh just 10-seconds into the period; Magnus was out of his net trying to play the Vees shoot-in.
Then controversy arose midway through the third period when the Kings tied the game. Pritchard cut across the crease and tried to stuff a back-hand past Miska who looked to have held the puck out of the net. The goal-light was slow to come on and there was no signal from the referee if the puck went it.
After a long deliberation amongst the three officials, they deemed the puck did indeed find its way past Miska and in the net. Adding fuel to the fire was the fact the net was off its moorings before the puck ever came near the goal-line; Pritchard officially tying the game at 12:14.
Saturday’s game needed overtime as well and the Vees best chance was on Patrick Newell’s stick. Newell was alone in the slot but had his wrist-shot missed the top of the net and rattled off the glass.
Powell River’s best chance for a game-winner was from Kurt Keats but he was stymied on a breakaway in double-overtime by Miska.
Final Score: 3-3
Shots: 39-35 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 0-2 Chilliwack 1-2
Three Stars: 1) Jacob Pritchard 2) Brett Magnus 3) Hunter Miska
Saturday was the Vees first tie since December 14th when they tied Chilliwack 1-1. The Vees improve their record to 5-1-1-1 against the Island Division. They also took three out of a possible four points in the two-game season series against Powell River.
The Vees finish their three-game weekend tomorrow afternoon in Port Alberni, when they face the Alberni Valley Bulldogs at Weyerhaeuser Arena; puck drop is 2pm. The Vees beat the Bulldogs 4-3 back on September 21st in the second game of the BCHL regular season. Fans can listen to the game on EZ Rock AM 800 or watch online at www.fasthockey.com.