Nicholas Jones did the heavy lifting driving hard to the net leaving a rebound for teammate Chris Klack to tap in and give the Penticton Vees a 2-1 overtime win over the Battlesfords North Stars.
The crowd of 3,021 (mostly Vees fans) went crazy as teammates mobbed Klack for his heroics.
“It was good. I saw Jonesy going to the net hard and I was ready for a rebound if there was one and luckily it was laying there for me to tap in,” said Klack.
The Vees forced overtime when they scored the equalizer 29 seconds into the third period on the power play. Jones, who finished with two assists, fed Bast who unloaded a cannon from the point beating Joel Gryzbowski. Outshooting the North Stars 38-25 in total, the Vees limited the opposition to 15 shots in the final three periods, including overtime, which lasted just over five minutes. The North Stars generated chances including Kendall Fransoo blasting a shot off the post and another from a turnover, but Mathew Robson was solid. The North Stars were also able to pressure the Vees when Jamie Armstrong received two minutes for checking from behind and a game misconduct.
“The biggest thing I liked about our group is we found a way to win the third period,” said Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson. “Get the game tied up and win in overtime. Get two points right now which is huge. Whenever you can get points in a tournament like this it’s important.”
The North Stars opened the scoring with 1:03 remaining in the second period when Fransoo fed Reed Delainey, who broke out into the Vees zone. The defence was unable to stop Connor Logan from firing a shot high past Robson, who tried desperately to make a save. The Vees found themselves trailing 1-0 despite carrying the play and an 8-7 edge in shots.
“I thought we had a tough start and then after that we started coming alive a little bit,” said Harbinson. “For a lot of the game I thought we tried to do a little too much. We came off that big emotional Game 7 win and I don’t know if we thought maybe it was going to be a little easier tonight. Battlefords came out and really pressured us hard early. Kind of wore down a little bit.”
Harbinson added for stretches the players figured out that they needed to grind the North Stars down low below the dots. He said when they did that, they earned more zone time and created chances.
The Vees penalty kill was strong going six-for-six, while scoring once on four tries.
“PK was good. We knew what we were doing out there,” he said. “Made the right reads and competed real hard. And our goaltender was strong tonight.”
When it comes to facing the Brooks Bandits (Read: Bandits ride in as Canada’s best) Sunday at 7 p.m. Harbinson said they need to be better if they are going to be successful.