Smoke Eaters down Vees in double overtime
Valik Chichkin kept the Trail Smoke Eaters playoff hopes alive at the expense of the Penticton Vees.
Not long after Louie Nanne missed what looked to be a golden chance to break a 2-2 tie in double overtime, the Smoke Eaters defenceman found a loose puck in the Vees zone, carried it briefly before firing it past Chad Katunar's glove hand.
Vees captain Troy Stecher exited a quiet dressing room and said everyone has to buy in to what they want to accomplish and their roles.
"There were too many passengers," said Stecher, who took responsibility for not being able to get his teammates going.
Stecher agreed that they lacked drive compared to the Smoke Eaters.
"They were desperate," he said. "We have to be just as desperate."
While it took the Vees nearly five minutes in the first period to get their first shot on Adam Todd, who finished with 31 saves, their second shot beat the Smoke Eaters goalie as Wade Murphy wasted little time in snapping a shot from the slot at 7:20. Five minutes later, Penticton product Tyler Berkholtz even things up on his backhand in front of the crease. In the third period, the Smoke Eaters scored on the power play again, this time Garrett McMullen pounced on a puck in the slot. With less than seven minutes remaining, Michael Rebry's 18th goal of the season tied the game at two.
While the Smoke Eaters went 2-for-3 on the power play, the Vees were 0-for-4, including a two-man advantage for over a minute.
The Vees will get another crack at the Smoke Eaters Saturday, but they will have to do it at Cominco Arena where the Smoke Eaters defeated the Vees 4-3 in overtime.
Vees notes: With a crowd of 2,527 on hand for the final regular season home game at the South Okanagan Events Centre, the BCHL website shows the Vees had 47,893 fans attend their 27 home games. That's an average of 1774. Last season, the league website shows 80,103 fans attended 38 home games for an average of 2,108.