The Penticton Vees handed Chilliwack a discouraging home ice loss in game two of their BCHL Fred Page Cup series, downing the Chiefs 5-1 Saturday night at Prospera Centre.
The Vees made it look easy as they tied the best-of-seven series at one game apiece.
When Jordan Kawaguchi, Kohen Olischefski and Kale Kane were on the ice, they made things happen. When the big line was on the bench, the Chiefs were dominated.
Among several worrying trends, the Vees opened the scoring for the second straight game, with Ryley Risling lighting the lamp just 2:45 into period one.
The Alberta native picked the pocket of a Chief skater at the Chilliwack blueline and was able to launch a shot from the high slot. It was a meh effort that netminder Mark Sinclair would normally handle, but this one fooled him, flopping over his glove and across the line.
The Vees got another one at 13:11 off the stick of Cassidy Bowes.
Slick-skating blueliner Gabe Bast started the play in Penticton’s end, gliding back to grab a loose puck and starting a quick transition attack with a pass up to Owen Sillinger. From the right-wing wall, Sillinger saucered a centering pass into the goal-mouth where Bowes was waiting to lift a backhand shot over Sinclair’s mitt.
Penticton pushed their lead to three late in the middle frame when Duncan Campbell buried the rebound of a Griffin Mendel point shot, but on the very next shift Chilliwack’s Carver Watson got his team on the board. Watson took a pass from Kale Kane and beat Vees keeper Mathew Robson through a screen, picking the top right corner with a rocket shot.
Any comeback hopes held by the Chiefs evaporated 3:46 into the final frame on a goal by Nicholas Jones.
Again it was Bast starting the play with a wrister from the right point. Grant Cruikshank nabbed the rebound and had a shot of his own, and as the rebound from his shot came out to the left faceoff circle Jones was able to snap it past Sinclair for his Vees-leading ninth of the postseason.
Shifting into desperation mode, Chilliwack head coach Jason Tatarnic pulled Sinclair with 9:01 remaining.
It didn’t pay off but it made the third period a lot more watchable. The Chiefs spent nearly eight minutes buzzing around the Penticton net before Vees forward Chris Klack was finally able get loose and pop the puck into the unguarded cage.
Final shots on goal favoured Chilliwack 34-28. The Chiefs now travel to the South Okanagan Events Centre for games three and four of this series, Tuesday and Wednesday.
The three stars were Robson (first), Bast (second) and Kale Kane (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Linden Hora.
Announced attendance was 2,133.