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Preview: Vees look to complete sweep of Express

Coquitlam, BC: The Penticton Vees rallied from a 2-1 deficit through 20 minutes to pound the Express for the second straight game, 7-2 on the road. Penticton now has a chance to sweep their way into the second round, which would be their first four-game sweep since 2014.

Jack McNab opened the scoring after his dump in from centre ice bounced off the blocker of Adam Scheel and into the net 3:30 into the game. The Vees went to work, firing tons of shots on Brock Hamm before Jackson Keane was able to tie the game with 7:10 to play.

Coquitlam answered right back and regained their lead 36 seconds later after the puck deflected to the front of the goal from behind the net for Christian Sanda to slide through Scheel’s five hole.

In what was almost a carbon copy of game two, the Vees offence came to life in the second period. Five unanswered goals by Penticton gave them a 6-2 lead after 40.

First it was Wyatt Sloboshan on the power play, followed by Marcus Mitchell a few minutes later. Chris Klack then scored off the ensuing face-off following Mitchell’s goal, giving Penticton a 4-2 lead with goals just 10 seconds apart.

Sloboshan added his second of the game with three minutes to play in the third, before a frightening moment in the Vees end.

Nicky Leivermann was racing back for a puck after Coquitlam had cleared, and affiliate played Domenic Davis gave him a push at the bottom of the right circle. Leivermann, going full speed, fell to his hands and knees before slamming into the boards head first.

Leivermann had to be stretchered off the ice, delaying the game by about 50 minutes. Leivermann avoided series injury on the play and is expected to make a full recovery.

The result was the Vees receiving a five minute power play, which they scored twice on. First was Klack coming down the left wing with a wrist shot over Hamm’s glove, and then Jack Barnes finishing off a cross-crease feed from Jared Nash.

Barnes’ goal spelled the end of the night for Hamm, who appeared to pull himself from the game in favour of Clay Stevenson.

The Vees are now in a position to give themselves a long break before the second round begins. Should Penticton finish off the sweep tonight, they’ll have nine days off before the next round begins Friday, March 16 at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

The last time Penticton swept a playoff series was the opening round in 2014 against the Merritt Centennials. It would be the seventh sweep during Fred Harbinson’s time with the Vees.

Team Statistics

Leading Scorers

Penticton Vees

Taylor Ward – 3 G 3 A 3 GP

Chris Klack – 3 G 2 A 3 GP

Wyatt Sloboshan – 2 G 3 A 3 GP

Coquitlam Express

Eric Linell – 1 G 2 A 3 GP

Christian Sanda – 2 G 0 A 3 GP

Josh Wildauer – 0 G 2 A 3 GP

Special Teams

Penticton Vees

Power play –  6/16 – 37.5% (1st in BCHL)

Penalty kill – 9/9 – 100.0% (T-1st in BCHL)

Coquitlam Express

Power play – 0/9 – 0.0% (T-16th in BCHL)

Penalty kill – 10/16 – 62.5% (16th in BCHL)

Series Schedule

Game one – March 2, 2018 – Vees 2 vs Express 1 Boxscore

Game two – March 3, 2018 – Vees 9 vs Express 2 Boxscore

Game three – March 6, 2018 – Vees 7 @ Express 2 Boxscore

Game four – March 7, 2018 – Vees @ Express

Game five – March 9, 2018 – Vees vs Express*

Game six – March 11, 2018 – Vees @ Express*

Game seven – March 12, 2018 – Vees vs Express*

*If Necessary