PENTICTON - The Penticton Vees are now one win away from a Fred Page Cup championship, after a come from behind 3-2 win over the Nanaimo Clippers in game five at the South Okanagan Events Centre last night, April 16.
Cam Amantea and Riley Alferd scored four-minutes apart in the third, as the Vees erased a 2-1 deficit and are the first team to win at home in the series. Demico Hannoun also rippled the twine for the Vees and Matt Serratore picked up two assists in the win.
Corey Renwick, short-handed, and Ryan Forbes both scored for the Clippers in the second period.
The two teams held each other off the scoresheet in the first period but both sides had chances to break the deadlock. Demico Hannoun had clear-cut breakaway on a great pass from Mike Lee but Guillaume Decelles turned him aside with the blocker; that the Vees first shot on goal.
Lee had a great chance of his own on the Vees first power-play but his bid was snatched by Decelles’ glove after a great cross-ice pass from Dakota Conroy.
Clippers Captain Brendan Taylor had the best chance for the visitors in the opening frame but Hunter Miska kicked-out the right-pad, on Taylor’s deke on the blocker-side.
Nanaimo did break the scoreless tie eight and half minutes into the second and whilst down a man. The Vees couldn’t keep the puck in at the blue-line and Renwick skated the other way on a two-on-one rush. Renwick kept and the decision paid off, as he picked the corner on the near side from the circle at 8:39.
Hannoun tied the game late in the second after he ripped a one-timer over Decelles at 14:56. Pat Newell dug the puck out of the corner and found Hannoun in the far circle, and he hammered the one-timer for his eighth of the post-season.
The Clippers grabbed the lead back just under two-minutes later on a puck-playing error by Miska behind the net. The Vees goaltender was going to play the puck behind the net but was stripped and Ryan Forbes wrapped it inside the far-post at 16:46
The Vees didn’t let that strange go-ahead goal get them off keel, as they came back in the third period. Amantea tied it at two, on a great individual rush down the right-wing. Amantea took a pass from Serratore and burst into the zone wide on the right-side. He moved around a fallen defenseman, before cutting across the goal-line and tucking the puck past the far pad of Decelles’ at 11:44; his fifth of the playoffs.
The game looked like it was going past regulation but Riley Alferd had some late heroics in him. Jack Ramsey from the corner found Alferd open out front and his one-timer got by Decelles on the glove side at 15:32; his first in six games and his fifth of the spring.
Nanaimo did pull the goalie in favour of the extra-skater inside the final two-minutes but couldn’t manufacture an equalizer.
Final Score: 3-2 Vees
Shots: Vees 37-26 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 0-5 Clippers 0-3
Three Stars: 1) Riley Alferd 2) Pat Newell 3) Guillaume Decelles
The Vees picked up their eighth home win of the playoffs and are now 8-1-0-3 at the SOEC. Alferd’s third period goal was his first since March 25th, against Nanaimo.
The Vees look to capture their second Fred Page Cup in four years with a win in game six in Nanaimo Friday night; face-off is 7pm. Fans can listen to the game on EZ Rock AM 800, or they can watch on www.fasthockey.com
In case of a game seven, the Valley First box office will be open Saturday, from 10 am to 5pm and again open Sunday morning. Fans can also buy tickets online at www.valleyfirsttix.com.