Penticton Vees win border battle shootout against Wild

Penticton Vees defeat Wenatchee Wild in BCHL action

Massimo Rizzo scored netted the winner for the Penticton Vees in a shootout against the Wenatchee Wild on Wednesday. (File photo)

Massimo Rizzo scored netted the winner for the Penticton Vees in a shootout against the Wenatchee Wild on Wednesday. (File photo)

It took seven tries, but the Penticton Vees (28-12-1-2) got the Wenatchee Wild (25-15-2-1) monkey off their back.

A Massimo Rizzo shootout goal gave the Vees a 3-2 win and snapped seven game losing skid against the Wild, dating back almost three years, on Wednesday night at the Town Toyota Center.

The first four shooters were turned aside, then both sides managed to get one past the goalies. Vees netminder LaFontaine stopped Christohe Tellier, giving way for Rizzo to win the game. He fooled the Wild’s goalie with a backhand-forehand move. LaFontaine faced former Vees player Matt Gosiewski, turning his shot aside with his blocker to secure the win.

After a scoreless first period, the Wild’s AJ Hodges accepted a backdoor feed from Lucas Sowder that he steered into the open net at 4:43.

Just over two minutes later, the Wild took a 2-0 lead when a point shot went off a Vees defender’s leg and then was re-directed between the legs of LaFontaine.

Lukas Sillinger cut into Wenatchee’s lead shortly after the Vees killed off a penalty. Luke Loheit fired a wrist shot from the left circle that the Wild’s goalie thought he caught, but it popped loose into the crease for Sillinger who banged home his ninth of the year.

The Vees penalty kill unit was called upon again late in the second period with Rizzo and Brendan Harrogate in the box for slashing just 1:23 apart. They managed to keep the Wild off the scoreboard, including staving off a five on three situation for 37 seconds, leaving the score at 2-1 at the end of the middle frame.

Eric Linell evened things up for the Vees after Cole Shepard led the rush into the Wild zone down the left wing. Stumbling, and falling to his knees, he managed to drop the puck for Linell who came down the left wing on his backhand before beating Park from a sharp angle to even the game at two apiece.

The Vees had an excellent chance to win the game in regulation, getting their first power play of the night with a minute to go, but couldn’t find the back of the net. The power play carried over into the overtime, and the Vees had plenty more chances to end it, but the Wild goalie, Austin Park, came up with the saves he needed to.

The win pushes Penticton’s lead at the top of the Interior Division to four points over the Merritt Centennials, who host the Chilliwack Chiefs Thursday night. The Vees are back on home ice Friday when they welcome the Prince George Spruce Kings (26-11-1-4) who have lost four of their last five games.

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