|Penticton Vees F Brock Balson establishes position in front of Trail Smoke Eaters G Adam Todd as Trail D Braden Pears looks on during BCHL action Wednesday at the SOEC.|
Louie Nanne and Wade Murphy each scored twice during a 19-shot barrage during the middle frame, but the Vees had to hang on for a 7-6 victory over the Trail Smoke Eaters in BCHL action in front of 1,190 fans Wednesday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Sam Mellor, Cam Amantea and Ryan Gropp also scored for the Vees, who gave up three goals in a three-minute span midway through the third period to turn a 7-2 laugher into a nailbiter.
Jesse Knowler, Shane Poulsen, Ryan Edwards, Austin Adduono, Valik Chichkin and Penticton product Tyler Berkholtz replied for the Smoke Eaters, who were outshot 35-30.
Both teams had their starting goaltenders chased from the contest. Adam Todd exited after Nanne's second of the night with 3:13 to go in the second period made it 6-2 for the Vees.
Chad Katunar got the hook after the Smoke Eaters scored the three quick goals in the third period. Nic Renyard came on and gave up a soft goal to Berkholtz that made it a 7-6 game with 2:24 to play.
Fortunately for the Vees, Trail's Brent Baltus took a high-sticking penalty with 40 seconds to go to halt the rally. Trail outshot Penticton 15-5 in the third period.
With the win, the Vees improved to 16-6-0-2 and opened up an eight-point lead over idle Merritt and West Kelowna atop the Interior Division. The Smoke Eaters, who beat the Vees 5-2 Saturday in Trail, stayed in fourth place at 11-14-0-1.
Like they did on Saturday, the Smokies pounced early as Knowler connected just 81 seconds into the contest.
The Vees finally got going late in the period as Mellor tied it at 17:32 and Amantea connected at 18:58 to put Penticton ahead for good.
Penticton completely dominated the second period, scoring a series of highlight reel goals.
Murphy got it going at 2:19 as he extended his league-best points streak to 20 games, then Nanne got his first of the night at 5:59 to make it 4-1.
Murphy and Mellor set up Gropp at 14:43 before the Smokies stemmed the tide with Poulsen's power play goal just 43 seconds later.
But Nanne's blast from about 55 feet out somehow eluded Todd, who was promptly pulled in favour of Lynden Stanwood.
Murphy greeted Stanwood with an unassisted shorthanded tally at 18:04 to make it 7-2 for the Vees.
The Vees looked like they'd cruise from there but some poor defensive work and soft goals let the Smoke Eaters back into the game.
Edwards made it 7-3 with 9:42 to go, then Adduono and Chichkin scored in a 46-second span to make it 7-5.
After Katunar was pulled, Berkholtz Ð who had an assist earlier in the period Ð made it 7-6 with plenty of time still remaining. But with Stanwood on the bench in favour of an extra skater, Baltus clipped Vees captain Troy Stecher and Penticton was able to hold on from there.
The Vees take on the Vernon Vipers in the first of a home-and-home series Friday at the SOEC.