Trail, BC - It seems like sixty minutes is never enough for the Vees and Smoke Eaters at the Cominco Arena. They've needed overtime six of the past seven times Penticton has been in Trail.
After the Smokies won the previous five games that went to extra time, Tuesday night it was Penticton's turn.
Beau Bennett scored his second of the game early in the 3 on 3 overtime period to lift the Vees to a 6-5 victory. It was the culmination of a come from behind effort for Penticton and gave Bennett his 100th point of the season.
Beau's brother Wade actually got on the scoreboard before he could in this one. Nick Sandor, Wade Bennett and Justin Brown scored in the first five minutes of the game to give Trail a 3-0 lead on their first 3 shots of the game. Penticton goaltender Sean Bonar got the hook without ever stopping a puck.
Jake Johnson responded for the Vees on the power play before Scott Jacklin restored Trail's 3 goal lead. However, the momentum turned in Penticton's favour. The 3rd ranked team in Canada controlled the second half of the first period and cut the Smoke Eater lead to 4-3 by the time a very busy first twenty minutes was complete.
Penticton scored the only goal of the second period as Joey Laleggia extended his point streak to 15 games with a power play goal. Trail actually out shot the Vees 12-8 in the period but were unsuccessful on 3 power play opportunities.
The Smoke Eaters would get their lead back as Scott Jacklin scored his second of the game on a gritty effort early in the third period. However, special teams turned the tide again when Logan Johnston tied the game on a shorthanded goal.
Special teams were unquestionably the difference in the game as Trail went 0 for 4 on the man advantage while the Vees were 2 for 3. The Smokies continue to struggle at home with their man advantage as it operates at 15% at the Cominco Arena but over 23% on the road.
Trail got a strong effort from their top line as Jacklin, Sam Mellor and Nick Sandor combined for 9 points. Penticton leaned on Bennett as he had 3 points while Jake Johnson added a goal and an assist.
The tie gives Trail a 4 point lead in Prince George for the final playoff spot in the Interior. They're also only a single point behind Merritt for 6th. The next action for the Smokies is back to back home games against the Westside Warriors on Friday and Saturday night.
ON THE TRAIL: Justin Brown returned to the line-up but Trail was still without Travis St. Denis, Mitch Kaufmann and Thomas Abenante due to injury. Tommy Rizzardo was a healthy scratch ... Kiefer Smiley stopped 35 of 41 shots in the Smoke Eater net while Joel Rumpel was solid in relief for Penticton with 27 saves on 29 shots against ... The spreading was spread out throughout the line-ups of both teams. 10 different players had points for the Vees while 9 different players chipped in for Trail ... The Smokies are now 1-3-0-1 against Penticton this season and will visit the Vees on their final game of the regular season.
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