Penticton Vees double up on Vernon Vipers in BCHL playoff opener

Image Credit: Cherie Morgan Photography

PENTICTON - The Penticton Vees opened up their defense of the BCHL Fred Page Cup skating to a 6-3 win over the Vernon Vipers in game one of the Interior Division semi-final in Penticton, March 4.

The Vees lead the best-of-seven series 1-0, with game two scheduled for 6 p.m., Sunday, March 6 at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

BCHL MVP Tyson Jost carried over his standout regular season into the playoffs as the Vees’ captain scored and finished with a team best three points.

Liam Finlay led the Vipers with a pair of goals as Vernon now looks for a split on Sunday.

It was the Vipers who got a jump on the Vees, as Finlay opened the scoring just before the four-minute mark on Vernon’s first power-play. Off a face-off, the puck came to Bo Pellah and the defenceman swung a pass over to Finlay, who tapped it in at 3:48.

The Vees made the most of their first power-play as they tied the game on the man-advantage. From the left wing, Conway had his shot blocked but the puck hopped back to him, and he squeezed his second attempt through the goalie’s legs at 12:10.

The goal seemed to spark the home team, as the Vees went ahead a minute and a half later. Jost followed a blocked shot to the side of the net and from a sharp angle, he found room between the goalie and the post at 13:45.

Penticton kept coming and they added one more before the period was out. Luke Voltin forced a turnover down-low and Jones came in and fired a pass out to Ward in front of the net at 13:45; Ward hammering home his first career playoff goal.

The Vees added to their lead in the second and quickly, as Conway and Sillinger scored just 14-seconds apart. Conway made it 4-1 after he finished off a great passing play down low on the power-play. Jost, Jones and Conway concocted a nifty tick-tack-toe passing play, which resulted in Conway finishing-off a cross crease pass at 12:18. As they were announcing the Conway goal, Jost came back in off the face-off and centered for Sillinger who wired a shot over the goalie’s glove from the slot at 12:32.

Vernon cut into the deficit late in the middle stanza, as their power-play struck again. Tufto’s shot from the slot took a deflection off a stick in front and knuckled past Brodeur at 17:17.

The two teams traded goals in the third period, with Jones restoring the Vees four-goal lead midway through the frame. Jones followed up Mitch Brooks’ shot to the net and roofed the rebound at 9:18.

Finlay got one back for Vernon a couple minutes later, banking in a shot from below the goal-line, off a skate in the Vees’ crease at 11:41.

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