PENTICTON, BC –The late game magic finally ran out for the Penticton Vees Friday night, as there comeback attempt fell short, losing 4-3 in double-overtime to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks at the SOEC.
The loss was the Vees first in seven overtime games this season, as they dropped back-to-back games for the first time all season. The Vees were up to their old late-game tricks, as Duncan Campbell forced OT, with his game-tying goal with just 19-seconds left in regulation.
However, The Silverbacks’ Carter Cochrane spoiled the Vees’ comeback bid with his game-winner, two and a half minutes into three-on-three overtime.
Ty Amonte scored the other two goals in regulation for the Vees, as they came back to force OT after trailing 3-1 through two periods. Mat Robson was tagged with the loss, as he turned aside 25 of 29 shots in a losing cause.
Call-up Josh Arnold scored his first career BCHL goal in the first period, along with veteran Mitch Skapski, as the Silverbacks staked themselves out to an early 2-0 lead. Marcus Mitchell scored in early the second to put the visitors up by a pair through 40-minutes, but the real story was in goal, as Nic Tallarico stood on his head, making 51-saves in his first start for Salmon Arm.
Arnold, playing in his second BCHL game, scored on a wicked shot, just eight-minutes into the game to open the scoring. The 18-year-old, who plays next door at OHA, ripped a shot up and over the glove of Robson from the slot at 8:13 to stun the home side.
The Silverbacks added another some three-minutes later, when Skapski scored from right in front of the net. A miscue behind the Vees’ goal led to Carson Bolduc centering out front to Skapski for the one-timer at 11:48.
The Vees got a much need boost late in the first, as Amonte scored with less than five-minutes to go. The speedy forward curled out from behind the goal and near the top of the left-wing circle, he fired a wrist-shot inside the post on the glove-side at 15:44; his 10th and second in as many games.
Despite a season-high 21 first periods shots, the Vees went to the first intermission down 2-1. The hole got deeper early in the second too.
Two-minutes into the middle frame, Marcus Mitchell showed some great hand-eye coordination, as he choked up on his stick and batted a wobbling puck out of the air and through Robson at 2:01.
Despite what the scoreboard said, the Vees had a good half-dozen scoring chances in the second to claw back into the game.. Matt Gosiewski and Griffin Mendel rang shots off the cross-bar on the same shift, and Taylor Ward, Joe Leahy, Duncan Campbell and Turner Ripplinger all had great looks but they couldn’t solve Nic Tallarico.
The second wasn’t without controversy either, as Vees’ Captain Nicholas Jones was hit up high in a compromising position by Salmon Arm’s Mitchell. Jones not only losing his helmet as a result of the hit, but also was cut open on the play. A scrum ensued and shockingly only coincidental penalties were handed out.
Penticton refocused in the third period and got the comeback started early, as Amonte benefited from a lucky bounce. Owen Sillinger had his shot kicked-out but it went right off of Amonte’s skate and right back into the net just 62-seconds into the third period; Amonte’s second of the game and 11th of the season.
The Vees trailed 3-2 for the better part of the remaining 19-minutes, until they once again fostered some late game heroics. With their net empty for the extra skater, James Miller made a play at the blue-line to save the puck from going outside the zone. He then fired it over to Owen Sillinger, whose point-shot was redirected in from by Campbell as he was camped out at the top of the crease. Campbell scoring his sixth with just over 19-seconds left on the clock.
The officials conferenced after the goal but after a very brief deliberation, it stood.
Penticton had three great chances and nine shots in the two overtime periods and but couldn’t beat Tallarico. In the first overtime, both Grant Cruikshank and Amonte had great opportunities in front but the puck somewhat stayed out.
There was more controversy in double-overtime, as Cruikshank took a dangerous looking hit along the boards in his own end, but no penalty was called on the play.
Taylor Ward had the Vees best chance in three-on-three, as he showed off some terrific stick work to undress a defender before dancing in on net, but he was stuffed by Tallarico’s pad at the post.
Salmon Arm turned back the other way and on the counterattack, catching a tired Vees trio up ice. Carter Cochrane finished off the odd-man rush, putting a cross-ice pass over the glove of Robson at 2:25 of double OT.
FINAL SCORE: 4-3 Silverbacks (2 OT)
Shots: 54-29 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 0-3 Silverbacks 0-4
Three Stars: 1) Carter Cochrane 2) Nic Tallarico 3) Owen Sillinger
Friday was the Vees’ (23-5-0-1) first overtime loss in the regular season since January 31st, 2015, when they lost 3-2 in Trail; that ending a 17-game undefeated run in overtime (regular season). Friday also marked the first time the Vees’ have lost back-to-back games since February of 2015.
Penticton looks to snap their mini two-game slide against the Powell River Kings (20-10-0-1) tomorrow night at the SOEC; face-off is 6 PM. It’s the Vees’ annual Teddy Bear Toss, presented by Otter CO-OP. Fans are asked to bring a new, or gently used stuffed toy to the game and throw it on the ice when the Vees’ score their first goal. All the toys collected will be donated to the Salvation Army in Penticton. Tickets are available at the SOEC box office, or online at www.valleyfirsttix.com