Vees win, now atop BCHL

The Penticton Vees continue to roll to begin 2018, and their current streak now has them on top of the B.C. Hockey League standings for the first time this year.

In front of a sellout crowd of 4,342 on 'Pink in the Rink' night, the largest crowd by far at the South Okanagan Events Centre this season, the Vees downed the Trail Smoke Eaters 3-2 in overtime.

Defenseman Jonny Tychonick was the hero for the home team, scoring in the extra frame for his third goal in as many games. 

And after playing a strong game against the Smoke Eaters eight nights ago but ending with a tie, the Vees didn't let Saturday night slip as a repeat.

Penticton jumped out to a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes with goals from Cassidy Bowes and Massimo Rizzo. They led 13-7 in shots in the opening frame as well.

Trail got on the scoreboard in the last minute of the second period with a powerplay goal from Jeremy Lucchini.

The score stayed 2-1 until the final four minutes before Ross Armour knotted the game at two — a mirror of the Vees' goal to tie the game 2-2 in the final five minutes when the two teams last played.

But just over a minute into the extra frame, Owen Sillinger teed up Tychonick for a one-timer on the powerplay to lock up two points for the Vees.

Final shots were 31-19 for the Vees. Goalie Adam Scheel needed only 17 saves for the win.

The crowd of 4300-plus in Penticton was not only a season-high for the Vees, but a season-high for the league as well. 

The win, which was the third in three days for the Vees, also came with six regulars out of the lineup. 

Dakota Boutin was added to the injured list after taking a hit in the third period of a win over Merritt on Friday

But short-manned, the Vees continue to fight the odds.

Penticton now has won four straight games and seven of eight to start the new year. They sit tied with the Vernon Vipers as the BCHL's best teams with 63 points, but the Vees have played two fewer games which gives them the edge in the standings at this point.

Next for the Vees is a trip to the coast for three games against Island division opponents next weekend, which will begin a stretch of six-straight road games.

Penticton visits Powell River on Friday before seeing Cowichan Valley on Jan. 27 and Victoria on Jan. 28.

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