(ISN) – VERNON, BC-With their junior hockey careers in jeopardy of ending, the veteran players on the Penticton Vees rose to the occasion Saturday, in the Vees 5-1 win over the Vernon Vipers in game six of the Interior Division Final.
The win evens the best-of-seven series at three games apiece and forces a seventh and deciding game Sunday night in Penticton.
Cam Amantea scored twice and Connor Chartier, Dakota Conroy and Patrick Newell also filled the net. Hunter Miska was terrific, stopping 36 of 37 shots and was named the game’s third star.
Chartier scored his seventh goal in his last eight games to open the Vees scoring account late in the first. Halfway through a power-play, Cody DePourcq sent Chartier in on the left-wing, and the 21-year-old rippled the twine on the glove-side at 18:49.
Miska prevented the Vipers from taking the lead minutes earlier whilst they were short-handed. On the Vees opening power-play, Liam Coughlin picked off a pass at centre and broke in alone. Coughlin tried to outwait Miska but he got his toe on Coughlin’s fore-hand attempt.
Cam Amantea scored twice in four-minutes in the second to put the Vees up by three. Amantea doubled the lead at 4:05, as he buried a feed from DePourcq from behind the net. Amantea then made it 3-0 at 8:32 after he fired a shot from the left-circle over Danny Todosychuk’s glove; Tyson Jost spotting Amantea from across the ice.
Conroy made it 4-0 late in the second, when he tapped-in a backdoor feed from Steen Cooper at 14:06. Cooper had his shot blocked but slid the puck over to Conroy who bagged his fourth of the post-season.
Vernon’s TJ Dumonceaux gave the capacity crowd something to cheer about late in the middle stanza. Dumonceaux raced down the left-wing and his backhand snuck underneath Miska’s arm at 15:37.
Pat Newell threw water on any Viper comeback attempt early in the third period. Newell was sprung on a breakaway by Demico Hannoun and snapped a wrist-shot over Todosychuk at 6:29; his second of the playoffs.
Final Score: 5-1 Vees
Shots: 37-30 Vipers
Power-Plays: Vees 1-4 Vipers 0-3
Three Stars: 1) Cam Amantea 2) Connor Chartier 3) Hunter Miska
The Vees are now 6-0 in the playoffs when the lead after the first period. Tonight was one year ago to the day, the Vees won game six in Vernon to force a seventh and deciding game in the 2014 Interior Division Final. Chartier’s goal Saturday moves him into the team lead in goal-scoring.
For the second consecutive year, the Vees and Vipers will play in a seventh and deciding game to decide the Interior Division Final. Puck drop on Sunday, March 22nd, is 6pm. Tickets are available as of 10 am Sunday morning and can be purchased at the Valley First box office at the SOEC.