PENTICTON - Dakota Conroy scored two-minutes into overtime in game six, as the Penticton Vees won the 2014-2015 Fred Page Cup championship Friday night, April 17, at Frank Crane Arena in Nanaimo.
The Vees won the BCHL Final four games to two, and now are off to Fort McMurray, Alberta, to represent the BCHL in the Western Canada Cup. Friday marked the 11th time the Vees as a franchise have won the BCHL title and it was the second time in the last four years they captured the league crown.
Early in the first overtime, Conroy found a loose puck in front of the Nanaimo net after a face-off and quickly put a backhand over Guillaume Decelles at 2:06 of the first overtime period; the goal was the first for Conroy in six games.
It was a tightly contested game six in Nanaimo, as the two teams were deadlocked in a scoreless tie for 49-minutes before things opened up in the third period.
Dante Fabbro broke the stalemate at 9:18 of the third on a great shot from the slot. Conroy dropped it to the trailing Fabbro and he put his wrist-shot from the slot off the post and in.
However, the lead was gone in a blink of an eye, as Nanaimo’s Spencer Hewson scored just 14-seconds later to tie it up. Hewson’s shot from the wing went off Hunter Miska and high up in the air, before tumbling back down the Vees’ goaltender’s backside and in.
Penticton shook off the bad bounce and regained the lead two-minutes later on a great solo rush by Riley Alferd. Alferd broke down the left-wing and moved to his backhand as he cut to the net, beating the Clippers’ goaltender on the blocker-side at 11:47; goals in back-to-back games for Alferd.
That lead was squander too and again on another untimely bounce in front of the Vees net. Brett Roulston tied the game at two with just three and a half minutes left in the third. The puck hopped out front from the corner and he smacked in through Miska’s five-hole.
However the Vees rebounded early in OT, as Conroy’s goal sent Vees gloves and sticks into the air, which later riddled the ice in the Clippers end.
The Vees worked some early overtime magic for the second time in this series to capture the BCHL championship. The Vees finished the BCHL portion of their playoffs with a 6-3 record in overtime and were 2-1 beyond regulation in the Fred Page Cup Final. Overtime was short lived in this series, as the two teams played a combined total of just three-minutes and 13-seconds in the three games that went to OT.
The Vees also won all three road games in this series, impressive considering the Clippers were 9-1-0 at home before the league Final started.
Penticton now travels to the Alberta north for the WCC, and are joined by the Portage Terriers (Manitoba), Melfort Mustangs (Saskatchewan), Fort McMurray Oil Barons (Host) and either Spruce Grove or Brooks (Alberta).
The five-team regional tournament determines which three teams move on to the RBC Cup in Portage, Manitoba, in May. The Vees open the tournament a week from today, Saturday, April 25, against the Alberta Junior Hockey League Champion.
Vees Western Canada Cup Schedule
Saturday, April 25th vs. AJHL Winner 1:30pm (PST)
Sunday, April 26th vs. Fort McMurray 6:30pm (PST)
Tuesday, April 28th vs. Portage 1:30pm (PST)
Wednesday, April 29th vs. Melfort 6:30pm (PST)
After the four-game round-robin, there are two play-in games to determine which teams move on to the National Junior ‘A’ Championship in Manitoba.
Fans can listen to every Vees game at the Western Canada Cup on EZ Rock AM 800 and www.penticton.myezrock.com. There will also be a webcast available online at www.fasthockey.com.
For scheduling information and more, log onto www.westerncanadacup.com.