CHILLIWACK, BC- The Penticton Vees looked to be on their way to a Fred Page Cup win but the Chilliwack Chiefs had other ideas, rallying from an early two-goal deficit for a 4-2 come from behind victory at Prospers Centre Saturday night.
Despite the loss, the Vees still lead the best-of-seven series 3-2, with Game Six Monday back in Penticton at the SOEC.
Nicholas Jones and Taylor Sanheim scored in the first four-minutes of the game to stake the visitors out to a 2-0 lead but Chilliwack stormed back, scoring four unanswered for their first win since Game One.
Jones got the Vees out to an early lead, scoring a minute and a half in on an odd-man rush. James Miller swung a pass across to Jones, who came in down the right-wing and fired a wrist-shot underneath the cross-bar at 1:32; Jones picking up his 10th of the playoffs.
The Vees’ Captain then turned playmaker, setting up Sanheim for a tap-in from the crease after a great no-look pass from down-low in the Chiefs’ end at 4:07. Sanheim putting the puck into an open net after the cross-ice pass for his sixth of the post-season.
Chilliwack called a timeout after the Vees’ second goal and it seemed to get them back on track. Anthony Vincent cut into the Vees lead after he took a pass from out of the corner and fired a bullet from the slot, beating beat Mat Robson over the blocker at 10:25.
Jordan Kawaguchi, who sent up the Chiefs’ first goal, brought them back level less than three-minutes later, putting a backhand over Robson’s glove after walking out from the goal-line at 13:19; the Chiefs’ Captain scoring his first of two on the night.
The Chiefs carried that momentum over to the second period and got their first lead just over five-minutes into the frame. After one of the Vees defenders had his stick break, the Chiefs took advantage, firing the puck back to the point to Colin Bernard, who forced his shot through a maze of bodies and past a screened Robson at 5:52.
Penticton had a great chance to tie it late in the second and when they were short-handed no less. With just seconds left in the stanza, Duncan Campbell raised down a loose puck and barreled his way down to the Chiefs net. He tried to jam the puck in but was kicked-out by Sinclair’s pad and he couldn’t get his own rebound attempt past the goalie’s arm, who was on his stomach belly down in the crease.
Early in the third period Robson made a handful of key stops, including a lunging pad save on Chilliwack’s Will Calverley. The Chiefs had a power-play carry over to the third and on that man-advantage, the puck hopped in front to Calverley but he couldn’t stuff it in past Robson’s pad before the net came up overtop the goalie.
One of Penticton’s best chances in the third came when Grant Cruikshank stole the puck on the wall and dragged it towards the middle but as fired, he was hit from his blind side after Olivier Arseneau came across to throw a shoulder in on Cruikshank but got his head instead; Cruikshank’s shot missed wide on the glove side.
The Vees pulled the goalie late for the extra-attacker but it was Kawaguchi sealing the Game Five win for the Chiefs, with an empty-net goal in the final seconds.
Final Score: 4-2 Chilliwack
Shots: 31-26 Chilliwack
Power-Plays: Vees 0-3 Chilliwack 0-3
Three Stars: 1) Anthony Vincent 2) Jordan Kawaguchi 3) Nicholas Jones
Game Notes: Chilliwack’s Kawaguchi finished with a game-high four points and now has six goals and 12 points in the Fred Page Cup Final. With his two points Saturday, Nicholas Jones extended his point streak to six games and his nine in five games against Chilliwack. The loss drops the Vees road record in the playoffs to 3-6.
Penticton will look to win the Fred Page Cup on home ice in Game Six on Monday, April 24th.