Penticton’s Dixon Bowen scored the game winning goal in the first minute of overtime Friday night as his Penticton Vees topped the Chilliwack Chiefs 2-1.
The Chiefs went toe-to-toe with the defending BCHL champs at Prospera Centre, and often looked like the better team.
But puck luck went the Vees way as they improved to 5-1-0-0. Chilliwack fell to 1-3-1-0.
The Chiefs were definitely the better team in the first period of this one.
They looked faster and more physical than Penticton and owned the shot-clock by a 13-5 margin.
But the uber-skilled Vees came closest to a goal. When Chilliwack’s Ryan Roseboom bobbled the puck away on the right-wing wall and Penticton’s Ben Brar beat Chiefs stopper Aidan Pelino with a shot from the hashmarks, it looked like 1-0 Vees.
Referees Tyler Hawthorne and Mark Pearce said otherwise, waving it off due to ‘incidental contact with the goalie’ by a crease-crashing Pentictonite.
Roseboom atoned for his error later in the period, jolting Vees center Desi Burgart with a clean bone-crushing hit just inside the Penticton blueline.
Anthony ‘Son of Marty’ Brodeur produced two big stops late in the period, thwarting Jeremy Germain on a breakaway and blockering away a Jordan Kawaguchi try.
Predictably, the perennial powerhouses picked up their game in the middle frame, tilting the ice in their favour and opening the scoring at the 1:23 mark. With Roseboom banished to the box for a blow to the head and Penticton on the power play, point man Dante Fabbro one-timed a Dixon Bowen feed past Pelino for his first of the year.
But the Chiefs pushed back, drawing even at 9:12 on just their second shot of the period. Vimal Sukumaran was the playmaker, setting up behind the Penticton net. Brendan Riley camped in the blue paint and bang-banged a four-foot feed from Sukumaran past Brodeur for his first BCHL goal.
For the rest of the period the Chiefs out-shot Penticton 6-0 and held a 21-17 edge through 40.
An entertaining final frame featured no goals but plenty of scoring chances, and credit Pelino for getting his crew to overtime.
Chilliwack’s cage-keeper came up with a game-saving stop midway through period three, staring down Vees sniper Scott Conway on a breakaway. Conway blocked a Zach Giuttari shot at the Penticton blueliner, stepped past the Chiefs D-man and was off to the races.
The 20 year old winger went to his backhand, but Pelino sprawled post to post and got the puck with the lip of his glove.
But, for all the great saves he made, Pelino would want Penticton’s OT winner back.
Just 27 seconds into the extra session, Vees forward Dixon Bowen got away from Dennis Cholowski in the left corner and roofed a sharp-angle short-side shot over Pelino to give his team the W..
The three stars were Pelino (first), Brodeur (second) and Bowen (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Roseboom.
The Chiefs are back on home ice tomorrow night, hosting the Victoria Grizzlies in a 7:30 p.m. start at Prospera Centre.