Conway gives Vees comeback win over Vipers

The Penticton Vees needed two clutch goals from Scott Conway to rally past the Vernon Viper 4-3 in overtime Wednesday night.

Black Press Sports

Undefeated at home, ranked No. 1 in the 126-team Canadian Junior Hockey League, loaded with projected first-round NHL draft picks and NCAA refugees, and losers of just two games.

The Penticton Vees are a B.C. Hockey League powerhouse and on pace to break the New Westminster Royals’ record 108-point season in 1989-90 should they run the table.

The Vernon Vipers, struggling around the .500 digit, appeared unimpressed with the Vees’ numbers, earning a point in a 4-3 overtime loss before 2,521 fans Wednesday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

The new and improved Vipers, who have tweaked their roster with four new additions in the last few weeks, actually held a 3-2 lead until defenceman Griffin Mendel’s point shot was deflected by Scott Conway past Viper goalie Andrew Shortridge with 1:36 to play.

Conway, who played for the Nittany Lions at Penn State last year, scored his 20th of the season at 3:17 of overtime, stretching his point streak to 24 games.

“It was just one of those things,” said Viper head coach Mark Ferner, of the 3-3 equalizer. “It goes back to the point and maybe we could have blocked it. The defenceman just throws it at the net and it finds a way to go in.

“When teams are playing well and they’re on a roll, that’s what happens; they find a way to tie it and they find a way to win it. They’re an older group and they’re a good, talented group. They didn’t panic; they stuck with it and they got a seeing-eye goal to tie it.”

Said Vees’ coach Fred Harbinson of Conway: “He played in the Big 10 last year. He was on the all-rookie team. We knew he was going to be able to contribute offensively. He’s gotten some big goals, a lot of game -inning goals for us. It’s exciting. It was a game we had to grind out with that many guys (five) out of the lineup.”

Vernon, fourth in the Interior Division at 13-13-0-2, led 2-0 early in the second period. D-man Griffin James potted his third of the year at 4:17 of the first on a point shot top cheddar by goalie Anthony Brodeur (son of ex-NHLer Martin Brodeur). Odeen Tufto and Charley Michalowski drew assists.

Red-hot Christian Cakebread made it 2-0 on the powerplay at 5:49 in the middle frame, knocking in a rebound from the slot after Tufto’s attempt. Liam Finlay earned the secondary assist.

Nic Jones, a former AJHL all-star who left the Ohio State Buckeyes three games into his sophomore season, converted on a Penticton powerplay 59 seconds later, tipping Dante Fabbro’s slapper from the point.

Shortridge dove to deny Conway’s one-timer on a later powerplay.

Cakebread put the Snakes up by a deuce 6:41 into the third, tapping in a backdoor feed from Jagger Williamson after a bizarre puck bounce off the boards. Finlay earned the other helper. Chris Gerrie’s ninth of the year, 1:14 later, pulled Penticton within a goal. Gerrie buried a loose puck after Shortridge recorded two fabulous stops in tight.

League points leader Tyson Jost – a first-round NHL draft prospect – dropped a pass for Conway down the sidewall and Conway beat Shortridge with a wrister for the winner.

“I thought we played real well against a real good hockey team,” said Ferner. “We came out and did a lot of things that we wanted to. It was a back and forth game and unfortunately, they ended up scoring with about a minute, 30 left and won in overtime, but that’s what good teams do; they find ways.

“We’re disappointed we didn’t come out of here with two points, but certainly happy we got one, and more importantly, our kids played real hard against a good hockey team and even more so on the road, where you don’t have the last change. I know our guys don’t understand it, but at the same time, they should be proud of their effort because we did a lot of good things out there and played our butts off.”

Ferner hopes the Vipers will sustain Wednesday’s effort as they open a home-and-home series tonight in Salmon Arm against the second-place Silverbacks (16-6-2-1). The Silverbacks just lost high-scoring forward Nick Hutchison with a serious shoulder injury in practice.

Finlay says the Snakes simply have to turn in a carbon-copy of Wednesday to keep moving forward.

“It was a fun game until the end, obviously,” said Finlay. “We did a real good job of playing against the best team in the league. We were on them really hard and created some opportunities and kept them on their heels.”

Finlay is one of 18 BCHLers invited to the Team Canada West camp, Dec. 5-8, in Leduc, Alta. The World Junior A Hockey Challenge will be co-hosted by Whitby and Cobourg, Ont. from Dec. 13-19.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Building to begin on Okanagan Rail Trail washroom

Project starts Monday, July 13, in Coldstream between Westkal Road and Kickwillie Loop

Campfires pop up at North Okanagan alternative summer camp

MacKenzie Camp near Mabel Lake in Enderby still trying fun things for summer despite COVID-19

Ex-Vernon Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Lake Country trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

Innovation Centre prepares to open doors to Vernon co-workers

Former restaurant re-imagined to host ideas from Vernon’s ‘hidden’ home-based workforce

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Security guard assaulted in Kamloops park thanks police, public for quick arrest

Glen Warner, 71, was attacked on July 2 by a man who was asked by Warner to not smoke

Portraits celebrating Syilx culture now on display at Kelowna International Airport

Sheldon Pierre Louis’ art will be on display at YLW from now until July 2021

After slow start, Summerland sees more tourism activity

Majority of visitors come from within British Columbia

EDITORIAL: Accommodating Okanagan fruit pickers

Campsite for agricultural workers to open in Summerland

Deer and moose die after being chased by dogs in South Okanagan

BC conservation officers are asking the public to control their pets

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Trail RCMP officer accused of criminal harassment, forcible entry

BCPS: The charges against Murchie date between 2017 and 2020

Most Read