Game Recap: Stevenson the Game Seven hero; Vees stun Silverbacks to win Interior Conference

[Photo: Cherie Morgan]

PENTICTON, B.C. – Game Seven creates the most unlikely heroes. Defenceman Nolan Stevenson scored twice, including the game-winner with 14 seconds left, as the Penticton Vees came from behind to beat the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 4-3, in Game Seven of the Interior Conference Final Tuesday night.

Stevenson scored his first two goals of the playoffs, as the Vees came back from 3-1 down with five minutes left in regulation, to cap off an historic Game Seven comeback.

Game Seven’s have the calling card of producing unlikely heroes and Stevenson was just that for the Vees. The rookie defenceman not only scored his first two goals of the postseason, but it was his first time scoring since February 10th.

“It’s pretty special. It’s something you think about when you’re younger. Tonight, I didn’t really think it was going to be me,” began Stevenson. “This shows how resilient we are. We have done this throughout the season, the playoffs, coming back late in games.”

The Vees captured their third consecutive Ryan Hatfield Memorial Trophy as Interior Conference champions, and now face the Surrey Eagles in the BCHL’s Fred Page Cup Final beginning Friday.

Zack Stringer and Conyr Hellyer also scored for the Vees. Stringer finished with two points. Simon Meier also had two assists in the win.

Penticton’s comeback started with less than five minutes left in the third. Down 3-1, Stevenson scored his first of two in the game at 15:16 to make it 3-2. His point shot beat Salmon Arm’s Eli Pulver on the glove side.

The Vees then pulled the goalie for the extra skater and tied the game with just 27 seconds left on the clock. Francesco Dell’Elce threw the puck out front from the wall to Hellyer, who tipped in the pass from the blue paint that tied it 3-3. Then chaos happened.

Off the ensuing face-off at centre, James Fisher carried the puck into the zone and fed it to Stringer behind the net. Stringer wrapped the puck up the wall to Stevenson at the blue line, who hammered a one-timer that found the corner over Pulver’s blocker with just 14 seconds left. Stevenson’s second goal in four and a half minutes triggered bedlam inside the SOEC.

After a scoreless first period, Stringer opened the scoring in the second period. The veteran forward put the Vees ahead 1-0 less than two minutes into the middle frame. Meier made a nice play at the side of the net to dish the puck out front from behind the goal line. Stringer was there in the crease to jam it in. His fourth put Penticton up 1-0 at 1:52.

Salmon Arm tied it in the second on a power play goal by Cole Cooksey at 13:03. Cooksey took a drop pass from JJ Monteiro and fired glove side on the Vees’ Will Ingemann.

It was 1-1 up until the midway mark of the third period, when Silverbacks’ captain Nathan Mackie scored twice in 69 seconds to put Salmon Arm ahead 3-1. Mackie broke the 1-1 deadlock at 8:52, as he scored on a great set up by Monteiro off the rush. Then, Mackie hammered a one-timer from the slot past Ingemann at 10:01 to make 3-1. A lead that looked insurmountable given how this series has played out.

Salmon Arm was just 27 seconds away from their first Interior Conference title in 20 years, before the Vees two goals in the final 30 seconds of regulation of Game Seven.

The Fred Page Cup Final between Penticton and Surrey, a rematch of the 2013 championship series, begins Friday at the South Surrey Arena. The Vees host Games Three and Four on May 21st and May 22nd. A full schedule will be released Wednesday morning.


Shots: 49-25 Vees

Vees Scoring: N. Stevenson (1,2), Z. Stringer (4), Conyr Hellyer (4)

Vees Goaltending: Will Ingemann 57:52 22/25 (W)


Vees: 0/1

Silverbacks: 1/1

Three Stars:

1) Nolan Stevenson

2) Simon Meier

3) Zack Stringer

Attendance: 2,897

Next Game: Game One of the 2024 BCHL Fred Page Cup Final against the Surrey Eagles, begins on Friday, May 17th, in Surrey.



Fraser Rodgers

Vice President of Business Operations

Director of Broadcasting & Communications

Penticton Vees Hockey Club