Vees stumble in Trail

The Penticton Vees blew a late-game lead on the road against the Trail Smoke Eaters Wednesday night, falling 3-2 in overtime in advance of the biggest game of the year Friday night at the SOEC.

The Vees came out of the gate with a jump, outshooting Trail 10-1 early in the game, eventually opening scoring during  four-on-four late in the first period.

James Miller fired the puck intentionally wide from the right point, and it came off the end wall to the front of the net where David Silye was alone at the top of the crease and batted the puck out of mid air and into the net past Smokies goalie  Donovan Buskey.

The score remained 1-0 until Trail equalized just 20 second into the third with a rebound goal from Owen Ozar.

Nearly six minutes into the third Luke Loheit and Tyler Ghirardosi dropped the gloves in the neutral zone after pushing each other all the way up the ice. The fight was over before it started as Loheit fell backwards just as the gloves dropped and the linesman jumped between the players by the time Loheit got back to his feet. They were both sent to their respective locker rooms.

During the cleanup, Mason Snell was given a 10-minute misconduct after some choice words to the official.

The Vees would take the lead with just 2:46 left to play with a goal from Lukas Sillinger, but Penticton blinked off the next face-off and the lead was gone.

With the puck near the left-wing boards, Jonathan Smart pinched up to try and clear it. The puck got poked past him sending Trail on a 2-on-1 rush. Carter Jones centred for Ozar who tied the game just seven seconds after Penticton took the lead.

Overtime saw a similar scenario. Off the opening faceoff, Massimo Rizzo fell to the ice and tried to dive out to get the puck. He missed it, and then Silye ran into Rizzo and the two got tied up and fell on top of each other in the face-off circle.

That sent Trail on a 3-on-1 rush into the zone and they ended the game with a three-way passing play, finished off by Carter Jones just nine seconds into extra time.

With the single point the Vees lead atop the Interior Division was pushed to four over the idle Merritt Centennials. That sets up the biggest game of the year at the South OKanagan Events Centre Friday night when the Vees host the Centennials at 7:00.

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