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Vees Take Fred Page Cup in Game 7 Overtime Thriller

By Marshall Mackinder on April 27, 2017

(Damon James photo)     

The Penticton Vees went the seven-game maximum in each of their playoff series on route to the Fred Page Cup Championship by defeating the Chilliwack Chiefs in Game 7 Tuesday night by a score of 1-0. The game needed overtime which was a common theme in this series. Vees forward Duncan Campbell jumped on a rebound in front of Chiefs goaltender Mark Sinclair and then skated into the corner celebrating as he was mobbed by his teammates. 

The series was a seesaw battle from the drop of the puck in Game 1, with Chilliwack taking an early series lead 1-0 in a 4-2 final. After these high powered offences got going, there appeared to be a battle between the pipes of who would be the better goaltender. Chilliwack goalie Mark Sinclair stopped 36 of 38 shots and earned first star honours while Penticton goalie Mat Robson saved 35 of 39 shots. Jordan Kawaguchi led the Chiefs with a goal and two assists. 

Game 2 showcased the Penticton offence coming out and silencing the Prospera Centre crowd in Chilliwack with a 5-1 win. Mat Robson was solid between the pipes, stopping 33, and Penticton had five different goal scorers while defencemen Gabe Bast and Griffin Mendel each recorded two assists while forward Grant Cruikshank also had two helpers. Cassidy Bowe’s first BCHL goal proved to be the winner. 

As the series shifted to the Okanagan Valley with a 1-1 series tie, it was some of the younger players who led Penticton to a convincing 5-2 win and a 2-1 series lead. Fifteen-year-old Massimo Rizzo opened the scoring with his first BCHL goal and earned third star accolades. Jordan Kawaguchi led Chilliwack with two goals.

It took overtime in Game 4 and it was the Vees’ Ryley Risling who ended the game just 2:06 into the extra period, giving the Vees a commanding 3-1 series lead heading back to Chilliwack. Kawaguchi and Kale Kane again led Chilliwack on the scoresheet with a goal and two assists each. 

Back in Chilliwack for game 5 and the hometown Chiefs facing elimination, they got in an early 2-0 hole but stormed back to score four unanswered goals and took Game 5 4-2, sending the series back to Penticton for Game 6. Kawaguchi was in on all four Chief goals with two goals and two assists. 

The capacity crowd at the South Okanagan Events Centre was ready to celebrate in Game 6 after again getting an early 2-0 lead only to see the Chiefs storm back yet again and force overtime. This time it was Carver Watson who scored 9:19 into OT on the power play forcing a decisive Game 7 back in Chilliwack. 

Tuesday night’s game marked the first Game 7 in the Fred Page Cup Finals since 2010 when the Vernon Vipers defeated the Powell River Kings 3-1 on home ice. Chilliwack and Penticton were both getting the saves from Sinclair and Robson as they went to extra time tied at 0-0. At nearly the halfway point of OT, Campbell was parked in front and collected a rebound from a Gabe Bast shot and left the Chiefs heartbroken on the ice and the Vees celebrating their Fred Page Cup Championship.

For Chilliwack, their season continues as they will be the BCHL representative in the Western Canada Cup which is being hosted by the Penticton Vees and the South Okanagan Events Centre beginning Saturday, April 29th. As hosts of the tournament, Penticton received an automatic bid and by making it to the Fred Page Finals, both Penticton and Chilliwack knew their season would continue barring the outcome of the series. Joining them will be the AJHL Champion Brooks Bandits, SJHL Champion Battlefords North Stars and MJHL champion Portage Terriers.  The winner of the Western Canada Cup will then move on to the RBC Cup. 

The RBC Cup, Canada’s National Junior A Championship, kicks off May 13 in Cobourg, Ontario. The 2017 RBC Cup will bring together four regional representatives (Central, East, West #1, West #2), along with the host Cougars, to face off for the national championship. 

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By Marshall Mackinder| April 27, 2017
Categories:  Junior

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