PORT ALBERNI, BC-Three minutes and twenty-two seconds. That’s all the Penticton Vees needed to clinch their second consecutive Ron Boileau Memorial Trophy as BCHL regular season champions.
The Vees scored three, third period goals, in just under three and a half minutes to come from behind and beat the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 3-2 Saturday at Weyerhaeuser Arena.
Shutout for the first 51-minutes of the game, the Vees’ Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro combined for three quick goals to stun the Bulldogs and their 1,18 fans, as they won their fifth in a row and 10th in their last 11 games.
Ryan Finnegan and Nathan Dingmann scored power-play goals in the first and second for the Bulldogs, who looked well on their way to their fourth consecutive win, until the Vees pulled the run from out underneath of them.
Zach Driscoll stopped 23 of 25 shots to pick up his 18th win and second of the weekend. Brody Claeys allowed three goals on 35 Vees shots to take the loss.
Playing their third game in three days, the Vees got behind the eight-ball midway through the first after the Bulldogs power-play broke a scoreless tie. After a scramble out front of the Vees net, Finnegan grabbed a rebound and managed to fire the puck through a crowd in the crease at 9:51 for the ice-breaker.
The score remained unchanged until late in the second when the Bulldogs power-play doubled their lead. Chris Schutz had his one-timer from the blue-line tipped out front by Dingmann and up and over Driscoll at 18:27. That goal sent the ‘Dogs into the intermission with a two-goal lead.
Time was running out on a comeback in the third period until the Captain took matters into his own hands. Jost took a pass up the middle, split the defense at the blue-line, and with a defender draped on his back, he managed to slide a backhand underneath the sprawled goalie at 11:24; Jost scoring his 34th goal of the season.
The Captain then turned playmaker on a power-play less than three-minutes after his goal. Jost, from the left-wing, spotted a pinching Fabbro on the far-side and fired a pass across to the open defenseman. Fabbro threw a dart over the goalie’s glove to tie the game at 13:35; the Vees scoring 20 seconds into the power-play.
Penticton and Fabbro weren’t done there, as they manufactured the game-winner just 71-seconds later and with some puck luck too. The puck was played back to Fabbro whose point-shot took a deflection off a defenders glove before changing direction and going in under the goalie at 14:46; Fabbro scoring his 12th and 13th goals in the third.
Final Score: 3-2 Vees
Shots: 35-25 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 1-6 Alberni Valley 2-6
Three Stars (Radio): 1) Dante Fabbro 2) Tyson Jost 3) Ryan Finnegan
The win was the Vees’ 44th, which matched their win total from one season ago. They also improve their record to 9-0-1-0 against the Island Division and finish 6-0 on the road against Island teams. Scott Conway extended his point streak to 16-games with his assist on Jost’s goal. Speaking of Jost, he finished the road trip with four goals and seven points in three games.
The Vees (44-6-1-0) are now off until next Friday, February 12th, when they host the red-hot West Kelowna Warriors at the SOEC; puck drop is 7 pm. The Warriors have won seven in a row and are the second-highest scoring team in the BCHL behind Penticton. Tickets are available at the Valley First Box Office (at the SOEC).