(ISN) – PENTICTON, BC-It was an unlikely hero who sealed it late, as the Penticton Vees edged the Vernon Vipers 2-0 in game seven of the Interior Division Final Sunday at the SOEC.
Patrick Sexton scored the game-winning goal late in the third period, as he sent over thirty-two hundred fans at the SOEC into a frenzy. Sexton’s point-shot deflected off a Viper before lopping up and over an unsuspecting Danny Todosychuk at 17:07 of the third period.
Sexton’s goal inside the final three-minutes was his first of the playoffs and first since December 19th against West Kelowna; a run of thirty-four games.
Matt Serratore put the game on ice with four-seconds remaining in regulation when he buried his fourth of the playoffs into an empty-net; the noise deafening as a capacity crowd rocked the SOEC.
Hunter Miska was excellent in the series clinching win, stopping all twenty-seven shots he faced, including all eleven in the third period, for his second post-season shutout. Going back to game six, Miska stopped 63 of the last 64 shots he faced to close out the series.
Vernon’s Danny Todosychuk stopped 27 of 28 shots in the loss, as he’s one of 10 graduating players from this year’s Vipers squad.
It was a tense game seven, as the Vees and Vipers battled for every inch of ice for almost sixty-minutes. The shots on net reflected that, as the margin of shots between the two teams in all three periods was three or less.
One of the best chances for the Vees in regulation came off the stick of Tyson Jost. In the third, the rookie darted down the right-wing and tried to wrap the puck around Todosychuk at the far-post but the Viper goaltender swatted the puck out of the crease with his stick.
Miska wasn’t to be upstaged, as he made a heck of a save on Liam Coughlin in the third. The Vipers leading playoff scorer deked down the middle and tried to put a backhand deke around Miska but the Vees MVP reached out with his stick and just got enough of the puck to push it wide.
Miska also made a pair excellent saves on a Vernon power-play in the third, as he stopped a point-shot and then lunged across and denied Anthony Latina on the rebound.
Final Score: 2-0 Vees
Shots: 29-27 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 0-3 Vernon 0-2
Three Stars: 1) Patrick Sexton 2) Hunter Miska 3) Danny Todosychuk
Sunday’s win marks the third time in four years the Vees capture the Ryan Hatfield Memorial Trophy as Interior Division Champions. The Vees now advance to the three-team BCHL Round Robin, where they face the Island Division Champion Nanaimo Clippers and Mainland Division Champion Chilliwack Chiefs. The three teams vying for a spot in the Fred Page Cup Final.
The Vees kick-off the Round Robin on Wednesday, when they host the Clippers at the SOEC; face-off is 7pm. It’s a battle of first versus second in the BCHL overall standings from the regular season; the Vees and Clippers split their two-game season series.