The Penticton Vees are one win away from another Fred Page Cup championship, after an improbable 4-3 come from behind overtime win over the Chilliwack Chiefs Wednesday night.
Ryley Risling scored the winner, two-minutes into overtime, as the Vees came all the way back from 3-0 down to take a 3-1 series lead in the best-of-seven BCHL Final.
Cassidy Bowes, Grant Cruikshank and Taylor Ward scored in regulation for Penticton, who have now won five straight at home dating back to Game Two against Vernon. Mat Robson stopped 18 of 21 for his 11th post-season win.
Connor McCarthy, Kale Kane and Jordan Kawaguchi scored for Chilliwack, who have now lost three in a row for the first time since November 26th. Mark Sinclair suffered the loss after allowing four on 34 shots.
Penticton had plenty of chances early to open the scoring, including getting the game’s first three power-plays but they were held in check by the Chiefs penalty-kill.
Amonte also came close, as he flew down the wing but fired his wrist-shot off the cross-bar from the right-wing. The missed opportunities by Penticton came back to bite them late in the frame.
First, after taking two penalties, Kale Kane opened the scoring with five and a half minutes left in the opening period. Kane took a cross-crease pass and he quickly tapped it in from at the edge of the crease.
Connor McCarthy doubled the Chiefs’ lead on their first power-play. The hulking defenceman fired the puck past Robson’s blocker from the left-wing with just 76-seconds left in the first period.
Jordan Kawaguchi padded the Chiefs lead in the second, shoveling in a loose puck that sat prone in the Vees’ grease. Kawaguchi outmaneuvered the defender in the crease for the easy tap-in at 3:46.
However, Grant Cruikshank got the comeback started midway through the second, as he tucked the puck upstairs on the short-side of Mark Sinclair at 11:13. The momentum snowballed from there, as Penticton got another goal not even two-minutes later to make it 3-2.
On the power-play, Nicholas Jones threaded the needle across to Taylor Ward in the right-wing circle, and he went up and over the sliding Sinclair to make it 3-2 seven-minutes in. Cruikshank and Ward turning a three-goal deficit, into a one-goal game in just a minute and 47-seconds.
Bowes completed the rally six-minutes into the third period with a spectacular solo rush down the left-wing. Bowes picked up the puck on his side of the red-line, danced through a couple of defenders in the neutral zone, before wiring a wrist-shot post and in on Sinclair’s glove-side.
In OT, Taylor Ward grabbed the puck below the goal-line, waited for Risling to break to the net, and found him right in front for the quick one-timer, that beat the goalie on the blocker-side; Risling scoring his second of the playoffs and second in the last three games.
Final Score: 4-3 Vees (OT)
Shots: 34-21 Penticton
Power-Plays: Vees 1-4 Chiefs 1-2
Three Stars: 1) Ryley Risling 2) Jordan Kawaguchi 3) Grant Cruikshank
The Vees take a 3-1 series lead into Chilliwack for Game Five of the Fred Page Cup on Saturday, April 22nd, at 7 pm. Fans can listen to the game on EZ Rock AM 800, or they can watch the Vees chase another cup title on www.hockeytv.com, starting at 6:40 pm.