Vees fall to Wenatchee - tied for first heading into final weekend of BCHL regular season

Penticton, BC: The Penticton Vees (35-16-3-2) had plenty of chances on the Wenatchee Wild (32-20-2-4) Wednesday night, but they couldn’t solve Austin Park more than once, dropping a 3-1 game.

A scoreless first period saw great chances for both teams, including odd-man rushes both ways and a breakaway for Jonathan Smart. The shots ended 10-6 in favour of the Vees.

Penticton had two power plays in the early going of the second, but couldn’t find the opening goal. Shortly after the second one expired Wenatchee opened the scoring.

Brian Adams was the trailer on a slow-developing 3-on-2 rush for the Wild and took the drop feed before firing a shot off the post and in over the blocker of Jack LaFontaine.

Three minutes later Wenatchee extended their lead on a similar play. Chad Sasaki took a drop feed off the rush and beat LaFontaine on the glove side to give Wenatchee a 2-0 lead with 8:08 to play in the period.

The Vees continued to pressure in the Wenatchee end and came close late in the period. Ryan Sandelin took a quick one timer from the slot that Park got a toe on, and the rebound slid up the slot for Evan McIntyre.

The Vees defender wound up for a heavy slap shot, but Park stretched out with the glove and made the save to keep the Vees off the scoreboard.

Trailing 2-0 after two, the Vees got an early power-play goal. David Silye took a shot from the right circle that was deflected by Sandelin just 1:07 into the third to cut the lead to 2-1.

Pressing to find the tying goal, the Vees gave up plenty of chances over the remainder of the period, but LaFontaine stood on his head.

His best save came with 7:00 to play, stopping Matt Gosiewski off a 2-on-1 rush. After stopping the Wild forward on the initial pass across, LaFontaine got his left leg up while moving to his right to rob Gosiewski on the rebound to keep the game 2-1.

The Wild outshot the Vees 15-5 over the final period despite plenty of zone time for Penticton, before Josh Arnold hit the empty net with 55 seconds to play.

The loss put the Vees tied with the Merritt Centennials atop the Interior Division with two games to play. The Vees finish their season with a home-and-home with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks beginning Friday on the road, while the Centennials are in Langley Friday and home to Vernon Saturday.

Announced attendance was 3,235.