March 09, 2014 - 10:22 AM
MERRITT - The Penticton Vees busted out the brooms on Saturday night, as they swept the Merritt Centennials in their Interior Division Semi-Final series, with a 4-3 come from behind victory at Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.
The Vees now advance to the Interior Division Final and await the winner of the Vernon, West Kelowna series.
Brett Beauvais scored the game-winner with just over two-minutes left in the third period, when both he and the puck ended up in the Merritt net. Brad McClure broke down the right-wing and from the boards, threaded the needle to a streaking Beauvais on the far-side. Beauvais lunged forward and tipped the puck through Devin Kero and inside the post before crashing into the goal at 17:59.
Jack Ramsey set the table for the dramatic conclusion when he tied the game with just over five-minutes left. Ramsey tracked down a rolling puck on the left-wing, forced his way wide around a Merritt defender, and from the bottom of the left-circle whacked a rolling puck over Kero’s glove at 14:40; his first goal and fifth point of the series.
Tyler Martin put the Cents’ ahead 3-2 early in the third period, when his seeing-eye shot from the blue-line found the corner of the Vees net. After a scramble at the side of the Vees goal, the puck came back to Martin, whose shot sailed over Hunter Miska’s shoulder at 6:33.
The two teams traded goals in the first forty-minutes, starting with Merritt opening the scoring nine-minutes into the first. James Neil found a soft spot in the Vees zone and from the right-circle, snapped a shot up high on the short-side of Hunter Miska at 8:58.
Steen Cooper couldn’t have picked a better time to snap a lengthy goalless drought, as the Vees forward brought his team back level late in the frame. Cooper busted down the left-wing and forced a shot underneath Kero at 17:15; Cooper’s first in 15 games dating back to the regular season.
Neil put the Cents’ back ahead early in the second, when he picked up his second of the night at 2:33. Neil stepped over the Vees blue-line and from the high slot beat Miska with a wrist-shot over the glove.
It didn’t take the Vees as long to respond in the second, as it did in the first. McClure put the Vees on even footing on a power-play just over a minute after the Cents’ goal. The Vees Captain wheeled into the slot and hammered a slap-shot past Kero’s blocker at 3:52 for his team-best sixth of the playoffs.
Miska helped preserve the tie late in the second, when he robbed Merritt’s Gavin Gould with an excellent glove save on a breakaway.
Final Score: 4-3 Vees
Shots: 35-27 Cents’
Power-Plays: Vees 1-4 Cents’ 0-3
Three Stars: 1) Brad McClure 2) Payton Schaefer 3) Brett Beauvais.
For the second straight season, the Vees have swept the first round of the Interior Division playoffs. McClure led all Vees in scoring in the series, with six goals and eight points. He also pushes his point streak to 10 games, dating back to the regular season.
The Vees are now off until Friday, March 14th when they host game one of the Interior Division Final. The Vees will face the winner of the other Interior Division Semi-Final between Vernon and West Kelowna. Tickets will go on sale Monday at the Valley First box office at the SOEC, or online at www.valleyfirsttix.com.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014