Vees captain Troy Stecher scored twice, including the game-winner in double-overtime, as the Penticton Vees downed the Surrey Eagles 3-2 on Saturday night. Stecher scored on a breakaway in the three-on-three overtime period, as the Vees grabbed their 24th win of the season in one of the more entertaining games at the SOEC this season.
The win was almost for not, as the Surrey Eagles erased a two-goal deficit in the final ten minutes, including Brady Shaw forcing overtime with 13 seconds left in the third period.
The two teams skated to a scoreless first period, but traded chances in the opening frame. The Vees had two goal-mouth scrambles in the Surrey crease but were unable to cash in.
Michael Santaguida was the story in the first period for the Eagles, as he turned back the Vees time and again, including a couple eye-popping saves; the Vees outshooting the Eagles 13-6.
Brad McClure broke the deadlock late in the second period, as it took a puck playing gaffe by Santaguida to get the game’s first goal. The Surrey puck-stopper went out to play the puck behind his goal, but was stripped by McClure. Santaguida tried in vain to scramble back between the pipes, but McClure found daylight at the far-post and tucked in his 20th at 18:42.
The third period resembled the first two -- as both teams weren’t giving up a whole heck of a lot in the way of chances -- and was highlighted by a handful of outstanding defensive plays, including Sean Flanagan making a diving poke-check against Demico Hannoun on a partial breakaway.
The Vees forged ahead by two at the tail-end of their third power-play of the night, as the Surrey penalized player was stepping back on the ice. Troy Stecher fired a shot from the wall towards the goal. The puck took a deflection off an Eagles defender’s skate in the slot, and jetted past Santaguida’s pad at 11:29. Stecher credited with his fourth goal of the season.
The Eagles didn’t go away quietly, as they found a lifeline midway through the third. Michael Stenerson won a face-off in the Vees zone to his left, and Brady Shaw quickly put a wrist-shot past Nic Renyard’s blocker at 14:02; Shaw’s 21st cutting the Vees lead down to one. The Surrey sniper flexed his muscle again in the dying moments.
With the extra-attacker, the Eagles leveled the game at two’s after a blast off the stick of Shaw from the right-circle. The Vees failed to put the puck out, and Craig Wyszomirski fed Shaw a cross-ice pass that he rocketed to the top of the near-side corner at 19:47.
Skip to the fifth and final period when the game finally was decided off the stick of the Vees captain. The Eagles Michael Stenerson was stripped of the puck at the Vees line by Troy Stecher, who then raced onto a loose puck in the neutral zone. Stecher busted down the left-wing, before moving to his right and tucking a wrist-shot up underneath the cross-bar at the 55 second mark. Stecher’s second of the game, sixth of the season and more importantly the game-winner.
-- Fraser Rodgers