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Hills overtime winner upsets Vees

Trevor Hills and the Chilliwack Chiefs shocked the crowd of 2,194 in the South Okanagan Events Centre by upsetting the Penticton Vees 3-2 in overtime.

Hills one-timeda Michael Spring pass into an empty net as Vees goalie Chad Katunar, who made 24 saves on the night, had no chance. Following his Game 2 winner, Hill was swarmed by teammates at the corner where there were several Chief supporters.

The Chiefs had a 1-0 after one and extended it to 2-0 midway through the second period on a goal by Spencer Graboski. The Vees did claw back on goals by Ryan Reilly and Logan Johnston, but never gained momentum.

“I thought we played well defensively,” said Chiefs coach Harvey Smyl. “We did a great job on the penalty kill.”

Describing the Vees as a dynamic offensive team, Smyl said killing off all four Vees power plays in the first period was the difference. He also said the only adjustment they made from the 6-1 loss in Game 1 was keeping things simple.

“We had less turnovers,” said Smyl, whose team forced the Vees to dump the puck in by protecting the blueline. “We were smarter on the forecheck.”

Smyl also felt the Vees didn’t have the same jump and said it was a different team from Friday.

“They are a very good team, extremely talented,” he said.

Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson said the Chiefs competed harder. Something he didn’t like seeing what his players standing around on the power play.

However,  Harbinson liked that they fought back to tie the score and their play in overtime.

“We had chances,” said Harbinson, “We made one mistake and it ended up in the net.”

Following the 2-0 goal, the Vees went with three lines. Harbinson didn’t use the fourth line for the rest of the game as they were on for those goals.

Harbinson gave the Chiefs credit for the way they played, especially because they got what they wanted, a split. What he wants to see now are his players not giving away periods.

Johnston said the Vees worked hard but the Chiefs did well in clogging up the middle.

“They waited for a bounce and they got it,” said Johnston, whose own goal was the result of the puck hitting a broken stick behind the net then going to the post where he was able to jab it in.

Games 3 and 4 will be in Chilliwack, while Game 5 will return to the South Okanagan Events Centre. For more Vees coverage, check Wednesday’s issue of the Penticton Western News.

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