PENTICTON - The Penticton Vees will be looking back on an eleven-minute stretch in the second period as their ultimate undoing, in a 5-2 loss to the Nanaimo Clippers in game one of the Fred Page Cup Final at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Nanaimo scored four goals in eleven-minutes in the second, to quickly turn the game on its ear. Anthony Rinaldi, Yanni Kaldis, Sheldon Rempal and Ryan Forbes all scored in the middle stanza for the visitors. Rinaldi scored two to pace the Clippers attack and Guillaume Decelles stopped 36 of 38 shots and was named the game’s first star.
Demico Hannoun and Jack Ramsey hit the scoresheet for the Vees in the losing effort. Hunter Miska was tagged with the loss after being stung for five goals on 20 shots in 36-minutes of work.
Hannoun opened the scoring five-minutes into the first, when he snuck a backhand between the post and Decelles after rushing down the left-wing; Hannoun bagging his sixth at 5:03.
Nanaimo tied it late in the first after Rinaldi pounced on a bounce off the end-boards. Edwin Hookenson shot went wide but bounce back in front to Rinaldi for the equalizer at 13:26.
Controversy arose late in the opening frame, after the Vees had a go-ahead goal called back. On a delayed Nanaimo penalty, Mike Lee picked the short-side from the right-wing but the goal was waved-off, after the referee deemed the play had already been blown dead.
Kaldis broke a 1-1 tie early in the second when he finished off an odd-man rush in the Vees end. After a Penticton foray into the Nanaimo zone, the Clippers brought it back down ice and Kaldis roofed the puck up high over Miska at 5:08.
Rinaldi padded the Clippers lead seven-minutes later on a similar odd-man rush in the Vees end. Rinaldi tipped a Jake Jackson feed through Miska at 12:13.
Sheldon Rempal then padded the lead after a Vees turnover out front. Rempal found himself alone at the top of the crease and maneuvered the puck around a helpless Miska at 15:39.
Ryan Forbes closed out the second period scoring surge for the visitors late in the frame. His line-mate Corey Renwick hit the post but Forbes was in the crease and buried the loose puck at 16:06.
The Vees swapped out Miska for Brendan Barry after the Clippers fifth goal.
Jack Ramsey got a goal back for the Vees late in the middle stanza on a power-play. From the circle, Ramsey picked the far-corner to widdle down the deficit to three.
Despite outshooting the Clippers 13-4 in the third, the Vees couldn’t muster a comeback to erase the three-goal deficit.
Final Score: 5-2 Nanaimo
Shots: 38-24 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 1-3 Nanaimo 0-1
Three Stars: 1) Guillaume Decelles 2) Anthony Rinaldi 3) Sheldon Rempal
Friday was just the Clippers second win at the SOEC since the building opened in 2008; now 2-6 all-time. The Clippers also snapped a six-game road losing streak in the playoffs with tonight’s victory.
The Vees will look for the series split tomorrow at the SOEC, in game two of the Fred Page Cup Final; puck drop is 6pm. There will be a tailgate BBQ out front of the SOEC starting at 4:30pm. Fans can enjoy burgers and live music and there will be street hockey for kids.