Interior Final Recap


It’s been two days since the Vees exciting overtime win in game five of the of the Interior Conference Final. I’ve put together some numbers and thoughts about the five-game battle with the West Kelowna Warriors.



September 14th Penticton Vees West Kelowna Warriors 4-3 (OT) Vees Regular Season
September 22nd Penticton Vees West Kelowna Warriors 5-3 Vees Regular Season
October 23rd Penticton Vees West Kelowna Warriors 4-3 (OT) Vees Regular Season
October 26th West Kelowna Warriors Penticton Vees 4-1 Vees Regular Season
December 28th West Kelowna Warriors Penticton Vees 5-2 Warriors Regular Season
December 29th Penticton Vees West Kelowna Warriors 4-2 Vees Regular Season
January 26th West Kelowna Warriors Penticton Vees 2-1 Vees Regular Season
March 29th West Kelowna Warriors Penticton Vees

6-4 Vees

Interior Final
March 30th West Kelowna Warriors Penticton Vees

5-1 Vees

Interior Final
April 1st Penticton Vees West Kelowna Warriors

5-4 Vees (2 OT)

Interior Final
April 2nd Penticton Vees West Kelowna Warriors

5-4 Warriors (OT)

Interior Final
April 4th West Kelowna Warriors Penticton Vees

2-1 Vees (OT)

Interior Final


























1)      5

1)      5

2)      10

2)      4

3)      5

3)      5

Game-by-Game Recap

Game One 

Danny Gayle and Max French scored for the West Kelowna Warriors just two and a half minutes into the series. But Wade Murphy and Louie Nanne squared the game at two’s after one.

The Vees carried that late first period momentum into the second where they scored three unanswered goals to go up 5-2 after forty-minutes. The Warriors make a game of it in the third, scoring twice to come within one goal. However, Brad McClure iced the win for the Vees with an empty-net goal inside the final thirty-seconds.

Game Two 

Much more complete effort by the Vees, as they were strong from start to finish. An effort that made their opponent look like they weren’t really trying, even though the Warriors were. The Vees opened the scoring on a power-play goal by Ryan Gropp in the first and took a lead into the first intermission for the first time.

Another strong second period push was the difference, as the Vees scored three unanswered goals to go up 4-0 at one point. Two eye-popping goals in the second, as Brad McClure had a cheeky tip between his legs and Ryan Gropp danced through the Warriors defenders before setting up Jedd Soleway for a tap-in.

Reid Simmonds spoiled Chad Katunar’s shutout bid but James de Haas added some insurance in the third period with a power-play goal; three power-play goals in this one for the Vees.

Game Three

The swing game.

This was arguably the most entertaining game of the series from start to finish. Louie Nanne put the Vees up by two midway through the first period. But the great road start was erased by two Warrior goals late in the period. David Pope and Matt Anholt scored forty-four seconds apart knotting up this game at two’s after one; flashbacks to game one.

The Warriors surged ahead in the second, as the scored two more goals to go up 4-2 after two. Pope again and Ambrose Firkus tallied in the second, as the Warriors scored four unanswered at one point.

However the Vees rallied in the third with two goals of their own. Brock Balson kicked-started the comeback with a power-play goal and Brad McClure scored with fifty-seconds left to force overtime; the first time in the series.

Nothing was settled in the first overtime period but the Vees did get it done one period later. Brock Balson played hero when he finished-off a late breaking two-on-one rush with Travis Blanleil.

Chad Katunar’s second period performance was something no Vees player or fan will soon forget. He was simply sensational in the second period, especially late when the Warriors were all over the Vees net. His stopped on David Pope is STILL being talked about.

Game Four 

Eerily similar story to game three, just flip the two teams around. The Vees built up a 4-1 lead after two periods, courtesy of a four-goal second. But the Warriors were the team to rally in the third period with three goals of their own; saving their season.

No double-overtime on this night, as off a face-off, Reid Simmonds banged-in a rebound right on the door step to push the series to five games. A loss that stung no doubt for the Vees, especially after that great second period push.

The Vees weren’t going to cry over spilt milk, as they still had a 3-1 series lead through five games and a chance to clinch the series on home ice in game five.

Game Five 

For the third straight game the two teams would need overtime to decide a winner. The Vees score early into the fourth period, just 1:44 in as James De Haas had his shot tipped by Brock Balson; overtime hero yet again. The goal at the time was credited to De Haas but after reviewing the tape, it was clear that Balson got a piece of his blade on the shot.

This was the tightest and the lowest scoring game of the series, as both teams really clamped down in their own zone; no one wanting to give up an inch. The Vees trailed going into the third period after Reid Simmonds, him again, scored off a scramble in the second period.

The Vees caught a break early in the third, as Cody DePourcq’s pass out front went off Josh Blanchard’s skate and in to tie the game. The Vees were very good defensively in this one despite the pressure from West Kelowna. An effort where the Vees did not quit nor did they panic at any time.

Another game where the Warriors would be left scratching their head thinking how could they have played any better? That’s how hard this series was and how the two teams battled. The Vees saw the best effort from the Warriors for the third straight game but found a way to win; a character win.

Series Scoring

Vees Logo-2

Brad McClure 4-2-6 Wade Murphy 2-4-6

Louie Nanne 4-1-5 Ryan Gropp 2-3-5

Sam Mellor 2-3-5 Jedd Soleway 2-3-5

Brock Balson 3-1-4 Travis Blanleil 0-4-4

John Siemer 0-4-4 James de Haas 1-2-3

Cody DePourcq 1-1-2 Thomas Nitsche 0-2-2

Bryan Sinz 0-2-2 Josh Blanchard 1-0-1

Sean Flanagan 0-1-1 Rob Mann 0-1-1

Troy Stecher 0-1-1

Goaltending: Chad Katunar 4-1 2.50 GAA .918 SV% 0 SO


David Pope 4-1-5 Max French 3-1-4

Reid Simmonds 3-0-3 Ambrose Firkus 2-1-3

Shawn Hochhausen 0-3-3 Josh Monk 0-3-3

Matt Anholt 1-1-2 Marcus Basara 1-1-2

Danny Gayle 1-1-2 Matt Berry 0-2-2

Seb Lloyd 0-2-2 Braxton Bilous 0-1-1

Ben Tegtmeyer 0-1-1 Brett Zarazun 0-1-1

Goaltending: Tyler Briggs 1-4 3.63 GAA .878 SV% 0 SO

Scoring by Lines

Vees Logo-2

1) 8-8-16

2) 4-6-10

3) 7-7-14

4) 2-5-7

Defense: 1-10-11


1) 4-4-8

2) 7-3-10

3) 4-4-8


Defense: 0-8-8


 1) Brock Balson: The biggest surprise in the series? Balson stepped up in a big way for the Vees, as he scored three goals but more importantly two were in overtime. Balson is a player that seems to have ice water in his veins, as he never gets too high or low.

Balson was great in the middle between Sam Mellor and Ryan Gropp as that line was one of the Vees best with seven goals and 14 points. Balson wasn’t just scoring, as he had a noticeable physical presence leading the Vees in hits in the series with 16. An underrated and under-the-radar player for the Vees  in the post-season. He just keeps doing the little things right and his hockey smarts is second to none.

2) Chad Katunar: He’s been in a grove ever since game three of round one against the Silverbacks, and as I always say, the bigger the stage the better he plays. Katunar was terrific for the Vees in this series and was at his best in games three through five. He was the reason why the Vees won game three I would argue. Again pretty darn good in game four’s loss and air-tight in game five. He made some key saves for the Vees in game five during the second period when the Warriors were pressing. Bottom line, he made the saves he had to, didn’t cost his team a win and at times went above and beyond anyone’s expectations.

Katunar had his fair share of critics going into this series, and they mostly reside up highway 97. But like so many times before, he silenced his critics and made them look foolish by the way he played in this series and at the end of the day he’s still playing. Better go get those coupons looked at folks, look to be no good.

3) Thomas Nitsche: You can’t measure what Nitsche does for this team by checking the stats page. The 20 year-old is showing why the Vees picked him up in December, as he’s been a warrior on the back-end. Down right nasty to play against, Nitsche alongside Troy Stecher did a good job in keeping the Warriors top scorers relatively quiet in the series.

 I love the way he plays in his own zone, as he doesn’t let up for one second on anybody in opposition colours. At times he plays on the line but that’s what he needs to do and that’s what the Vees need. He was so good in front of his net and in the corners and blocked his fair share of shots. Look no further than game five, for an example of his toughness, as he sucked it up after blocking a shot in the second period. Let me just say I became an even bigger fan of Nitsche after game five and what he went through.

He, alongside Troy Stecher and the checking-line, were a big reason why the line of Max French, Marcus Basara and Seb Lloyd had just four goals in five games; two came in game one remember. So from games two through five, the top-line of West Kelowna only had two goals. Nitsche facing the Warriors top-line for much of the series, still led all Vees in plus-minus with an +4 rating.

Frozen Moments 

RD 2 GM 1

RD 2 GM 2

RD 2 GM 3

RD 2 GM 3-B

RD 2 GM 4-A

RD 2 GM 4

RD 2 GM 5


About CBeauchemin

Director of Broadcasting & Communication for the Penticton Vees
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