Blue-line spurs dramatic come from behind win over Merritt - InfoNews

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Blue-line spurs dramatic come from behind win over Merritt

Image Credit: Contributed/Penticton Vees Hockey
November 20, 2016 - 11:58 AM

PENTICTON, BC – The Penticton Vees’ defencemen did more than just defend tonight. All three of the Vees goals were scored from their blue-liners, including the overtime winner, in a dramatic 3-2 come from behind win over the Merritt Centennials, Saturday at the SOEC.

James Miller and Gabe Bast scored in regulation and Joe Leahy scored the game-winner, in four-on-four OT, as they Vees worked some late magic to win their third straight. Mat Robson picked up his 16th win, stopping 19 of 21 shots and was at his best in the first period, stopping two Merritt breakaways.

Stephan Seeger and Michael Regush scored for Merritt, who were seconds away from rattling off their second straight win. Colten Lancaster was tagged with the loss, despite a very good outing, as stopped 27 of 30 shots.

It wasn’t the start the Vees envisioned, as they were sluggish through the first 20-minutes but were bailed out by their goaltender.

Robson had to be on his game early, as he stopped both Rylan Van Unen and Zach Risteau on partial breakaways in the opening period. Then in the second, when the Vees were on a power-play, he turned back a Centennials three-on-one short-handed rush with a great arm save. Robson could only preserve the scoreless tie for so long, before Merritt broke through.

The Cents’ Stephan Seeger opened the scoring near the midway mark of the second, as he found a soft spot in coverage in front of the Vees’ net. Cade Gleekel fed the puck out to Seeger, who beat Robson up high with a quick shot to the corner at 8:34.

Penticton started to settle in the back half of the second and tied the game inside the final five-minutes on a wicked shot from James Miller. Chris Klack made a great play along the boards to chip the puck out to Miller in the slot, who fired a dart underneath the cross-bar at 15:10; his second goal in four games.

Penticton had a great opportunity to grab their first lead of the game when Merritt’s Aaron Murray was given a double-minor high-sticking penalty late in the second. Half of the four-minute power-play carried over into the third for the Vees, but despite the lengthy man-advantage, the y couldn’t manufacture a go-ahead goal.

Special teams were a factor in the third period, as Merritt went back ahead by a goal on a power-play. Just after a Vees power-play expired, the Cents’ were handed a man-advantage and they capitalized.

Seeger was in on the scoring again, but this time picking up an assist after Michael Regush buried his rebound at the top of the crease. Robson kicked-out Seeger’s shot from the slot, but Regush was there to flip the rebound just over the goalie’s pad at 4:42.

The Vees pressed for an equalizer late, including getting another power-play with two and a half minutes left in regulation. Penticton pulled Robson to make it a six-on-four man-advantage but they couldn’t solve Colten Lancaster. It wasn’t until the power-play expired, that the Vees orchestrated some late heroics.

Still with the goalie pulled for the six-on-five advantage, the puck came over to Gabe Bast and with 20-seconds left on the clock the veteran rear-guar fired a wrist-shot from the left-wing through a crowd and over the goalie’s shoulder. Bast scoring his first goal of the season in just his second game back after missing eight-weeks with an upper-body injury.

Bast’s goal setting the stage for Leahy’s OT heroics.

Three-minutes into four-on-four overtime, Joe Leahy decided to take matters into his own hands. The rear-guard carried the puck down the left-wing into the Centennials end, took it around the net, stopped, then fired it in on the short-side past Lancaster at 3:07; his fourth  and the game-winner sent over 2,900 fans into a frenzy.

Final Score: 3-2 Vees

Shots: 30-21 Vees

Power-Plays: Vees 0-5 Merritt 1-4

Three Stars (Radio): 1) Joe Leahy 2) Stephan Seeger 3) Gabe Bast

Attendance: 2,974

The Vees (21-4-0-0) have now won three straight and have won all four meetings against the Centennials this season. Bast’s third period goal was his first since September 24th, 2015, when he scored against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. With tonight’s win, the Vees are 5-0-0 in overtime, with five different Vees have scored OT goals.

Penticton is off until Tuesday, when the travel up Highway 97 to face the West Kelowna Warriors at Royal LePage Place. The Vees have won the first two meetings against the Tribe this season; face-off is 7 PM.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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