(ISN) – NANAIMO, BC-What’s old is new again, as the Penticton Vees will face the Nanaimo Clippers in the Fred Page Cup Final, after the Clippers 2-0 win Thursday at Frank Crane Arena.
The Vees and Clippers last met in the 2008 BCHL Final, which the Vees swept in four-games under then first year head coach Fred Harbinson.
The Vees came into Thursday’s game with a spot in the league final already in their back pocket, and took the opportunity to rest a few players, as Dante Fabbro, Tyson Jost and Cam Amantea didn’t dress.
Brendan Barry started in place of Hunter Miska and was sharp in his first career playoff start, turning aside 33 of 35 shots thrown at his net.
Nanaimo needed a win to secure their first league championship appearance in eight years and they were helped by some home cooking. Sheldon Rempal scored late in the first for Nanaimo and Yanni Kaldis added an insurance marker midway through the third on the power-play. Guillaume Decelles stopped all 32 Vees shots for his first post-season shutout. Nanaimo improved their league-best playoff home record to 9-1 in the victory.
Despite the shutout, the Vees had a good push right from the puck drop, as Matt Serratore found himself on a breakaway in the opening moments of the game. Serratore took advantage of a fallen Clippers defender but was stuffed on a deke attempt by the pad of Decelles.
Pat Newell also had a chance to break a scoreless tie early but his wrist-shot from the slot clanged off the cross-bar.
Nanaimo broke the score-less deadlock with just over five-minutes left in the first and on a turnover in the Vees end. Devin Brosseau knocked down the puck and had his shot stopped by Barry but Rempal flipped the rebound in at 14:26.
The two teams traded chances in the second period and the Vees again were denied by the iron. Penticton’s best chance to hit the scoresheet in the middle stanza came off the stick of Dakota Conroy. The 20-year-old found himself alone in the slot but rifled a shot of the cross-bar above Decelles shoulder.
Nanaimo’s Nicolas Carrier had a breakaway but his deke was just wrestled away by Barry’s stick.
The score remained unchanged until midway through the third when the Clippers cashed in on a power-play. The puck came back to Yanni Kaldis at the blue-line and he picked the corner through traffic, as he put a wrist-shot over Barry’s shoulder at 11:52.
The Vees had a few quality looks at the net late in the game with the goalie out for the extra-attacker but couldn’t get the puck behind Decelles.
Final Score: 2-0 Nanaimo
Shots: 35-32 Nanaimo
Power-Plays: Vees 0-5 Nanaimo 1-5
Three Stars: 1) Sheldon Rempal 2) Brendan Barry 3) Guillaume Decelles
The two take an eight-day break before reconvening at the SOEC on Friday, April 10th, for game one of the Fred Page Cup Final; puck-drop is 7pm.