- The Penticton Vees are going back to the BCHL Fred Page Cup after a 5-2 win over the Chilliwack Chiefs. It’s the Vees third trip to the league championship in the last four years going back to 2012. The Vees can finish no worse than second in the three-team round-robin, regardless how the last two/three games play out.
- The game turned around for the Vees in the second and specifically after the one-minute media timeout. In the first eight and a half minutes of the second, the Chiefs went up 1-0 and were outshooting the Vees 8-2. Then the break comes along, a chance for the Vees to regroup, and they took full advantage of the breather. They finish out the final 11 and a half minutes strong, outshooting Chilliwack 10-3 and outscoring them 2-0. Connor Chartier tied it off the rush a great play that started back in the Vees end, and Jarod Hilderman (he who had not scored all year) grabs the Vees their first lead. The Vees turned up the heat on the Chiefs in their own end, pressing and eating up zone time and that led to the two goals. A really good response from the Vees after a so-so start to the period; they rebounded.
- How about the play by Dante Fabbro on the Vees first goal that tied the game? The Chiefs were in on an odd-man break but Fabbro laid down in front of his net to block the shot, than, while still on his stomach, he slings the puck out to center with one-hand on his stick. Dakota Conroy skates onto that puck, finds Chartier trailing in the slot and he finishes it off. What a swing that was, it was that close of being 2-0 for the Chiefs but Fabs’ comes up with a huge defensive zone play and they Vees go down in transition and make it 1-1. Critical.
- Alright, Jarod Hilderman. Scores what nearly stood up as the game-winning goal. His first in 65 games going all the way back to game six against Vernon in the 2014 Interior Division Final. He scored that game-winner in that one too, as the Vees won 2-0. Last night he slides into a soft spot in the slot, between the circles, gets a pass from the boards and muscles a shot along the ice that caroms off a Chief player and in. There is no style points handed out for goals in the playoffs. Not only did the Vees go ahead for the first time in the game but when guys like Hilderman score, it’s a huge boost for the bench; the Vees were rolling after that.
- How crucial was that go ahead goal late in the second? Well the Vees are now 7-2 when leading after two in the post-season; 3-5 in the regular season when trailing after two. They were 39-2-1-1 in the regular season when leading after two. Every team plays better with the lead but the Vees have been nearly automatic when going into the third ahead. Who knows how the game would have played out if it was just 1-1 going into the third. Vees found a way to seize the momentum and parlay it into a lead and then pulled away in the final period.
- Again, the Vees getting scoring from everywhere. First line, second line and the fourth line all found the scoresheet. Five goals from five different players and how many times have I said that in the post-season? Tyson Jost snaps a seven-game drought, Connor Chartier scores his team-leading ninth, Jarod Hilderman his first in forever, Cam Amantea scores a crucial insurance marker and Steen Cooper was justly rewarded with an empty-netter. With Amantea’s goal, the Vees have seven players who’ve scored four or more goals in the playoffs. Spreading it around like peanut butter.
- Feel good for Jost, as he finally got that monkey off his back. His hard-working goal in the third was his first since game two against Vernon. Showed not only skill but strength on the play, to shake off the defenseman behind the net, wheel-out from behind the goal-line and spin and fire from the left-circle. He’s a super competitive kid and despite still playing well, you can tell the lack of scoring was bugging him. Just look at his celebration, as he mimed throwing the monkey off his back after he scored. Maybe that goal opens the floodgates.
- Good piece of skill from the Vees “fourth line” on their fourth goal. Cody DePourcq makes a nice pivot behind the net to get away from a defender, then patiently waits until Amantea gets himself open in front. What a pass too by DePourcq who throws a floater from behind the net, over the defenseman’s stick and right on the tape of Amantea. That line of DePourcq, Amantea and Mitch Newsome continue to contribute and that’s partially why the Vees are where they are.
- Tuesday was a lot like Sunday, the Vees getting behind but not panicking and coming from behind against the Chiefs. I’ve said it numerous times before but this team has this ability to “flip the switch” and that’s when they can give teams trouble. Oh, that’s a five-game winning streak now for the Vees, going back to their series against Vernon. Put it this way, the Vees went from facing elimination in Vernon in game six, to now being the first team to clinch a spot in the BCHL Final.