PENTICTON – What looked promising early, turned into disappointment late, as the Salmon Arm Silverbacks came from behind to upended the Penticton Vees 3-2 in overtime Saturday at the SOEC.
Landon Smith wore the hero’s cape in the final moments of the extra period for Salmon Arm. As a Vees five-minute major penalty expired, Smith, in the midst of a scramble at the side of the net, managed to tuck the puck into an open corner with forty-four seconds left in the four-on-four period. The Silverbacks (21-17-1-5) coming back from a two-goal first period deficit to hand the Vees (27-11-2-3) their third straight loss.
With the game tied at two’s inside the final minute of the third, Salmon Arm was given a five-minute power-play, when Cam Amantea was assessed a major Blow to the Head penalty and a game misconduct for his hit on the ‘Backs Evan Anderson.
The Vees actually killed-off the major penalty, including Matt Serratore almost nearly scoring short-handed in OT, but as the penalized player was stepping out of the box for Penticton, Smith tucked the puck up high in the corner of the Vees net.
Penticton got off to a great start, as Erik Benoit opened the scoring eight-minutes into the first period. Shane McColgan was first to a dump-in in the corner and hit Benoit with a pass in the bottom of the right-circle. Benoit then squeezed a shot between the ‘Backs goalie Adam Clark and the post.
Riley Alferd doubled the Vees lead five-minutes later, as he finished off a nice passing play on a delayed penalty call. With a penalty coming to Salmon Arm, Matt Serratore rushed broke down the left-wing, before spotted a streaking Alferd at the back-post. Alferd lunged out and tipped in his first goal in 15 games at 13:14.
Salmon Arm turned the tables in the middle frame, scoring twice in less than three minutes to wipe away a two-goal deficit. First, Cole McCaskill made it a one-goal game, when his wrist-shot from the point sailed through traffic and over Hunter Miska’s arm at 6:47. Then Salmon Arm are found an equalizer 2:40 later, when Jack Berezan cleaned up his own rebound in the Vees crease. Berezan, who charged in from centre ice on the left-wing, had his initial shot stopped by Miska but the puck managed to trickle through Miska; Berezan jammed in the rebound at 9:27.
The Vees were down to 10 skaters going into overtime, as Travis Blanleil was also shown an early exit in the third period, after he picked up a checking from behind penalty and a game misconduct.
Final Score: 3-2 Silverbacks
Power-Plays: Vees 0-0 Silverbacks 0-4
Three Stars: 1) Landon Smith 2) Erik Benoit 3) Cole McCaskill
Saturday marks the first time all season the Vees have lost three consecutive games. With the single point, the Vees are six points ahead of second place West Kelowna atop of the Interior Division standings. However, the Warriors were idle Saturday and now have three games in hand on the Vees. The Vees are now 14-8-1-1 against their own division and their home record drops to 14-5-0-2; their overtime record slips to 2-4-2.
Penticton is off until next Friday, January 24th, when they travel back to Vernon to face the 2014 RBC Cup host Vipers at Kal-Tire Place; face-off is 7pm. The Vees next home game is Saturday, January 25th, when they entertain the Trail Smoke Eaters at the SOEC; puck drop is 6pm.