Penticton, BC: The Penticton Vees faced a must-win situation Saturday night in Trail and came out with a fantastic road game, shutting down Trail’s offence en route to a 6-1 win to force game seven Monday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
It took Trail until the eight minute mark to get their first shot on goal while the Vees had already racked up five. Trail’s best scoring chance came on an odd-man rush, as Kale Howarth slid the puck to the slot but it was tapped just wide of the goal by Braeden Tuck.
Penticton opened the scoring with just over two minutes to play in the period. James Miller let a heavy slap shot go from the left point that was deflected in front. Adam Marcoux made the save, but the rebound popped out to his right and Marcus Mitchell was able shovel in the rebound.
Early in the second Mitchell scored again to extend the lead. Jared Nash raced down the left wing at centre, stepping through a hit from Seth Barton. Nash the reached for the puck in the Trail zone before centring for Mitchell, who pulled the puck to his backhand and slid it past Marcoux four minutes into the period.
Massimo Rizzo pushed the Vees lead to three, but not before the goal had to be reviewed. Taylor Ward was trying to break in behind the defence, but didn’t have room to take the shot. He dropped the puck off for Rizzo on left wing who fired the puck into an open cage.
The officials waved the goal off, saying it didn’t hit the back of the net. After play was stopped 20 seconds later, the officials gathered in front of the penalty boxes and eventually called it a good goal.
Mitchell completed his hat trick four minutes later by deflecting in a Jordan Henderson wrist shot from the blue line with four minutes to play in the period.
Trail got on the scoreboard early in the third as Tyler Ghirardosi finished off a two-on-one rush with Andre Ghantous just 1:19 into the third.
The Vees wasted no time getting their four-goal lead back, as Wyatt Sloboshan skated into the Trail zone and ripped a wrist shot past Marcoux’s glove four minutes later.
Rizzo capped off the scoring in the game by digging a puck out of skates in front of the Trail goal before roofing it over Marcoux’s glove with five and half minutes to play.
With the win, Penticton forces a deciding game seven at the SOEC Monday night at 7:00. The Vees played in two game sevens at home last season, winning 6-2 over Merritt and 3-1 over Vernon.
The SOEC has seen four game sevens since it opened in 2008, with the Vees winning three and losing one in overtime.