NANAIMO, B.C. – The Penticton Vees are one win away from the Fred Page Cup following a Stefano Bottini overtime winner in a 3-2 triumph over the Nanaimo Clippers in Game #3 on Tuesday night at Frank Crane Arena.
No scoring was had between the two teams in the opening period of the game but Penticton did throw 21 shots on goal through the course of the opening 20 minutes and put plenty of pressure on the Nanaimo goal with Cooper Black standing tall making every save.
The Vees also hit a cross bar in the opening frame with Ryan Hopkins finding iron on a shot from the blue line with the Vees defender walking the line from the right point to the middle but the game remained scoreless heading into the 2nd period.
A last second power play helped Nanaimo to the man advantage early in the 2nd period and the Clippers were able to get ahead for the first time in the series. Sean Donaldson had his left circle shot blockered away from Kaeden Lane in the Vees net before the puck was cantered to the front of the net with Jeremie Payant pushing the puck through the crease and in at the 1:41 mark of the middle frame for a 1-0 Clippers lead.
The Vees had a great shift following the marker and tied the game at the 4:20 mark with Frank Djurasevic scoring his 1st career playoff goal to even the score. The puck was rimmed around the boards on the right wing side as Djurasevic threw a shot to the net that squeaked through the glove side of Black to get the score to 1-1 in the 2nd period.
A late 2nd period power play for the Vees engineered the second goal of the game for Penticton and their first lead of Game #3 with Josh Nadeau tallying his team-leading 11th goal of the playoffs. Josh stole the puck from a Nanaimo defender in the right wing corner as he eluded a check and walked behind the goal to the left face-off circle and whipped a shot past the glove side of Black to give the Vees a 2-1 lead heading into the 3rd period.
Both teams came out with chances in the final regulation period but it was the Clippers who tied the game with just under 13 minutes remaining. Nanaimo took a puck from inside the blue line and moved in on an odd-man rush as Keighan Gerrie sent a pass to the left wing where Charles Tardif relayed the puck back to Gerrie on the right side as he sent a shot past the glove side of Lane to even the score at 2-2 heading into the final stages of regulation.
The game remained tied following 60 minutes and for the first time in the playoffs, the Vees were heading to overtime with the game set at 2-2.
Lane fought off a chance just 10 seconds into the extra frame from Brody Waters before the Vees turned the puck the other way and just 2:55 into the overtime period, Stefano Bottini ended the game and helped the Vees to a 3-0 series lead.
Ryan Hopkins head manned the puck through the neutral zone and spotted Luc Wilson, who dropped the puck off at the top of the right face-off circle where Bottini collected and sent a shot over the glove shoulder of Black for his 3rd goal of the playoffs and helped the Vees earn their 15th consecutive victory.
Kaeden Lane turned aside 19 of the 21 shots he faced in his 15th win of the postseason while Cooper Black made 36 saves on the 39 shots thrown his way in his 3rd loss of the playoffs.
FINAL SCORE: 3-2 Vees (OT)
SHOTS ON GOAL: 39-21 Vees
VEES PP: 1/3
VEES PK: 0/1
1) Stefano Bottini (1-0-1)
2) Keighan Gerrie (1-0-1)
3) Cooper Black (36 saves on 39 shots)
The Vees are one win away from the Fred Page Cup championship and will look to claim the trophy in Game #4 on Wednesday night against the Nanaimo Clippers at Frank Crane Arena. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM with the game available on broadcast on Bounce Radio 800 as well as streamed online on BCHLTV.ca beginning with the pre-game show at 6:40 PM.