Hunter Miska and Aiden Pelino earn first and second stars as the Penticton Vees and Chilliwack Chiefs battle to a 1-1 final Sunday.
A crowd of 1,915 watched as Miska finished with 37 saves, includes a handful of key saves late in the third period to ensure the game went into extra time. In the extra frame both teams had chances, especially Vees forward Lewis Zerter-Gossage, who nearly solved Pelino, who finished with 33 saves, but couldn’t beat the keeper on two chances.
Vees coach Fred Harbinson said that both teams generated enough chances to win.
“The goalies made spectacular saves,” said Harbinson, adding that fans got their monies worth.
Harbinson was happy with his team’s performance, especially with them missing Demico Hannoun, Tyson Jost, Dante Fabbro and Gabe Bast at the World Junior A Challenge, and Matt Serratore being injured.
“We gutted it out,” said Harbinson.
The Vees opened the scoring on Teddy Bear Toss day as Steen Cooper found the back of the net at 7:32 on the power play cueing fans to shower the South Okanagan Events Centre ice with new or used teddy bears or toys.
Craig Puffer scored the equalizer for the Chiefs seven minutes later.
Vees co-captain Patrick Sexton liked their start.
“We all laid it out on the line,” said Sexton, who praised newcomer Shayne Gwinner, who stepped up and fought Eric Roberts in defence of a teammate.
The Chiefs nearly potted the winner in the dying minutes of the third, but the Vees defence along with Miska held on strong.
“It’s just reaction at that point,” said Sexton. “Miska made some big saves.”
The Vees announced Monday morning that Riley Alferd and Cody DePourcq have commited to the University of Nebraska-Omaha and Bentley University, respectively for next season.
“I am very proud of Cody and Riley,” said Harbinson in a team statement adding that both players will bring important intangibles to their schools. “Both will bring an energy and commitment to winning to their respective teams.”
The Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks are ranked 12th in both the USA Today and USCHO.com national polls, but are second in the Pairwise Rankings. The Pairwise is used to seed the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. The Mavs this season are 10-4-2 and 6-3-1 in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference under Head Coach Dean Blais. Recent Vees alum James Polk is in his senior season at UNO.
The Bentley Falcons are located just outside of Boston in Waltham, Massachusetts, and play in the Atlantic Hockey Association. The Falcons are 8-8-2 on the year and 6-4-2 in conference. The Falcons current roster includes six BCHL alumni, including two former West Kelowna Warriors and one Vernon Viper.